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Degenerative myelopathy is the general medical term that refers to the disease of the dog's spinal cord or bone marrow. The condition does not have specific cause and may remain unidentified. While the disease can affect any breed and any age of dog, older animals are most often afflicted with the disease. Prognosis of this disease is not positive, as it is the degeneration of the animal's spinal cord, leading to loss of numerous bodily functions.
This disease affects the central nervous system of the dog and can progress to affect the cervical and lumbar portions of the spinal cord in later stages. Lesions are often present on the spinal cord. Neurons in the brain stem may also be affected by the disease. Here are some common signs of this disease:
The cause for degenerative myelopathy is unknown. Although there does appear to be a genetic link, there is no clear evidence to support the presence of a genetic mutation and the probability of the disease affecting a dog. In some genetic studies that are underway, German Shepherds, Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgi's, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Irish Setters, Boxers, Collies, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Poodles have shown an increased prevalence for the disease.
Initial lab tests are commonly used to rule out a variety of underlying diseases, including a culture and thyroid function test. Imaging is often performed to view potential spinal cord damage. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) can be used to look at various compressions and diseases that are possible within the spinal cord, such as a herniated disk, which can be treated. Also, spinal cord fluid can be examined for an inflammatory disease in the spinal cord. There are several different diagnoses that are possible, including:
A disease of the bone marrow or of the spine
The prediction of a disease’s outcome in advance
The act of making an opening narrower.
The connection or relationship between the lumbar and the sacral vertebrae
A condition in which growth and development are not up to normal standards
The part of the brain that contains the medulla oblongata and other vital portions of the brain.
The exiting of excrement from the body; bowel movements.
The wasting away of certain tissues; a medical condition that occurs when tissues fail to grow.
The part of the back between the pelvis and the thorax