german shepherd dm - Page 3

Pedigree Database


by dogbyte on 18 February 2020 - 21:02

Watched my dad die of ALS and when my GSD was confirmed by blood work sent to Dr Clemons I can completely accept they are, if not the same, extremely similar. I know ALS suffers that were affected in either they arms or legs. And like my first GSD diagnosed by elimination decades before the blood work, with extensive communication with Dr Clemons, it appears very similar to the progression style to ALS. Dogs older when symptoms first appear seem to progress more rapidly than a younger dog. Chance was 4 years old when he was to 13. Xara was 7 1/2 years and was set free at 9 when it had progress to affecting her swallowing, just like my dad. I have often agreed with Dr Clemons original findings that the German Shepherd Dog DM was breed specific. Wish he had been given the funding to further his research. But 20 years ago, when Chance and I competed in Schutzhund we tried to educate breeders we encountered. Most just wanted to hide their heads in the sand.


by TIG on 19 February 2020 - 00:02

Db thank you for contributing to this thead . Many of us know how tough it is having been in that place.

Actually both of your dogs would be considered early onset and your girl's fast progression is more typical of early onset than your boy's. You were very lucky with him.Is it possible he had another neuro condition such as caudal equina? Were there spine xrays done or when his hips were done did it show anything in the spine such as transitional vertebra? Did you also work with Clemmons for him? Late onset is generally considered 9 or later. Were your dogs german bred or american? Back in the 70s & 80s I saw a lot of am show breeder ignoring the presence of dm or ce in their lines and as they doubled down again and again on the lines it seemed frequency & early onset increased.

Just curious did you have the Jack Flash test or a necropsy done on either or both?. I have only heard of 1 dog w breathing issues and of course the question then is it the dm or has inactivity brought on a pneumonia or something similiar. Your girl is the first time I have heard of a dm with difficulty swallowing.I wish we still had access to Dr Clemmons. I'd love to know if his team considered the possibility that early onset was a variant or a separate disease.

Something I'd like to point out which may have not been clear from previous posts. I personally don't care if dm is like als or Ms or xyz disease. Tho I think it is unlikely als in that in humans 90 to 95% of als is considered NON genetic and I do think there is a genetic component to dm in gsds tho there may also be other factors. What I care about and am trying to point out is if one applies the scientific method to the results we have scientifically it is highly unlikely if not impossible that the sod1 test offers a good model for gsd dm.

We are running around eliminating dogs from an already closed & narrow gene pool when we can't  answer the question of NNs with proven disease and AAs without both strongly pointing to sod1 NOT  being a contributing factor in gsd dm.

by jillmissal on 21 February 2020 - 11:02

Jill, from looking at your profile you appear to own Malinois (and suffered from a very uneducated buying exoerience) and Rottwielers. Have you owned GSDs, have you owned GSDs with DM? 


I've never owned a purebred GSD but I have seen plenty of them on my SAR team suffering from that condition. One of the many reasons I'm not a GSD person. Far too many genetic problems. 

I'm really skeptical of what a breeder wants to gain from denying the reality of this disease. 

You snidley comment you have journal access presuming others don't. Is that supposed to inform us that you are either a scientist or academic?

I don't know why you find it "snide" for me to mention that I have access to information that a lot of people don't have, but okay.


by TIG on 21 February 2020 - 20:02

Not denying the reality of it - as noted I have had dogs with it - speaking to the reality:

DM necropsied NNs

no disease AAs

"carriers" showing evidence of disease

8% conundrum

I notice you did not address these FACTS as requested

BTW all the more recent research I've read by Coates et al is specifically about Pembrokes not any other breed tho they try to reference to other s and continue to make mis-statements re ALS.

Perhaps like you she doesn"t want to address the problems in applying their model to GSDs.

Also noted in one article they referenced AAs in Pembrokes who showed no disease......

by dogbyte on 22 February 2020 - 20:02

To reply to TIG, Xara had blood work done with Dr Clemons. He was still testing at the time. My other two, including her 3/4 brother were down with cheek swabs and outside lab as Dr Clemons was no longer doing them. When Chance was diagnosed Dr Clemons really wanted to get him in to do a work up and study. But we lived in Kansas so was not a possibility. Xara had been mobile in her Eddies Wheels, even tracking, until her front legs got too weak. She started having difficulties drinking water and I made her thick mushy food to eat. The saddest to me was missing her "happy butt". She was my snuggler.

by jillmissal on 23 February 2020 - 09:02

I notice you did not address these FACTS as requested


To understand those issues and how and why things like that can happen in medicine (if they did - you've provided no evidence, just your declaration), you need to do a lot more learning on your own. You are cherry picking what you perceive to be instances convenient to your argument whilst ignoring an enormous body of evidence that indicates otherwise.

I'm not going to bother to try to educate you further because you clearly do not have a mindset conducive to understanding how research works and why you should probably accept that researchers and veterinarians know more than you do. 

Should we believe an enormous body of evidence and the collective, peer reviewed opinions of hundreds of thousands of veterinarians and scientific researchers, or a couple dog breeders for whom "proving" the research "wrong" would greatly benefit their business? I know what I prefer. 

As you have pointed out, I have recently dealt with a breeder who determined for herself that, regardless of the veterinary diagnosis made, epileptic seizures are just "low blood sugar events" and thus decided she could still claim to never have produced epileptic dogs. This issue, and the "it's not degenerative myelopathy" claim seem very very similar to me and likely have similar motivations. 


by jettasmom on 23 February 2020 - 09:02

My boy tested high risk for DM. Lost my old girl to DM. No necropsy done but she had all the symptoms.

I know a breeder that one parent carrier one neg and produced a high risk do go figure.

Now will my boy get DM for sure or is this testing all a hype????


by Hundmutter on 27 February 2020 - 17:02

Just a lay person's observations, but there are a whole lot of 'early onset DM'-"diagnosed" GSDs out there running on wheels. Using carts because their back legs no longer work properly, but NOT euthanised, and leading happy lives, without developing further ALS-type symptoms of reduced power to front legs, inability to swallow, etc.


Also, ref  Koots asking, back on page 1, if TIG could supply some published scientific references, think readers might find this interesting in re the accuracy of what she wrote:

Today my copy of this month's GSD National Magazine (UK Breed Council) arrived. It includes a piece about the take-up of DM testing (for our UK Kennel Club purposes). I quote from Drs Kuhnlein and Langbein-Detsch of LABOKLIN, a laboratory offering DM tests by swab, in Bad Kissingen, Germany:

"LABOKLIN analyzed a total of 780 dogs of different breeds * regarding the mutation in the SOD1 gene as high-risk factor for the development of DM.

51.1% of these dogs did not have the mutation, 34% of the dogs were carriers (N/DM) and 14.5% were genetically positive.  Cave:  The frequencies of the genotypes varied between different dog breeds."

[* That's just over half of (only) 780 dogs from their list apparently Clear (N/N) ]: "A high-risk factor correlating with the disease was first identified in  Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Rhodesian Ridgeback, German Shepherd, Boxer and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.  Additionally many other dog breeds are affected. A causative correlation of the disease with the mutation has to be identified for every single dog breed. This is done by histopathalogical investigation of the spinal cord of dogs carrying the mutation. As a result of these investigations at University of Missouri / OFA a causative correlation between DM and the mutation of the SOD1 gene, a high-risk factor, could be identified in  American Eskimo Dogs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, Kerry Blue Terrier, Poodle, Pug, Shetland Sheepdog, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, and Wire Fox Terrier."

"The mutated gene can also be found in Saarloos, Czech Wolfhound, Borzoi, Hovawart, 'Collie' and 'several Mountain and Shepherd Dogs'  (my quote marks - wot, no actual GSDs ?). " In these dog breeds, the causative association of DM and the mutation in the SOD1 gene still needs to be shown."


LABOKLIN also say:  "Usually genetically unaffected dogs and carrier dogs (heterozygous for the mutation) will not get DM. However, genetically positive dogs are at great risk of developing DM as they get older. Every dog that is affected by DM has the genotype DM/DM, but not every dog with this genotype will show signs of DM. The reason for this is the age of the dog and differences in their genomic background. Onset of the disease in most dogs is at an age of 8 years or older. In rare cases dogs that are positive for the mutation (DM/DM) are still healthy at age 15 years.  There is no reliable data available concerning the number of genetically positive dogs that will develop DM. Currently there is research ongoing investigating this issue and additional risk factors responsible for development of DM. The association of the disease and the mutation has to be investigated in every single dog breed, too."


Now this reads to me like peer reviewers trying to be honest, but still trying to turn a profit from testing.What do others think ?


by Koots on 28 February 2020 - 09:02

Hund - any published scientific research that comes from a lab which has a commercially-available DM test kit is to be reviewed with consideration of their vested interest.   I would be more willing to accept findings from a source not connected to a marketed DM test kit.   Thanks for the info though, it's good to see your breed club putting it out there.


by Hundmutter on 28 February 2020 - 15:02

Of course, Koots; we always need to consider the £$£$£$; but this, when you read it carefully, does sound, to me, as though there are 'real' scientists struggling to get out, and to admit how much is just not known yet about (varying forms of ?) DM.


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