Degenerative myelopathy in Czech working lines?? - Page 1

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by Juno11 on 02 January 2021 - 19:01

I have a Czech Shepherd from working lines. He will be 9 years old in March and is intact. In the last month or two I’ve have noticed foot dragging on right hind but not with each step. There is occasional knuckling over on this foot maybe once a day or less that I’ve seen. There have been times when I think he’s improving, I’m very very worried he has degenerative myelopathy. I took him to a vet and she couldn’t make a definitive diagnosis but thought he wasn’t quick to right either hind foot when it was turned under. She will book an appointment with a specialist and possibly get him an MRI. Due to covid it could take 2 months. I read posts on this topic from years ago unless there is another thread I missed. Does anyone have any advice while we wait for this appointment? Is DM showing up in the Czech working lines?

by astrovan2487 on 03 January 2021 - 09:01

Its possible for them to get DM, but there are other conditions that have similar symptoms. Cauda Equina Syndrome is very common in older German Shepherds, it is basically a pinched nerve root caused by arthritis/bone changes. Can cause pain, weakness, behavioral changes, or the dog being uncoordinated in the rear end like you are describing. The only way to really diagnose this is through MRI so you are doing the right thing, make sure the specialist is a neurologist.

by dogbyte on 03 January 2021 - 19:01

You could do a blood draw and send it to the University of Missouri. I don't think they do cheek swap testing . Or some of the labs that test with a cheek swab have fairly reliable DM testing. I would do this before anything more invasive. Having had 3 GSDs over the years with Neuro issues, I have learned that stressing a DM dog physically, like putting under for an MRI can quicken their decline. I think you can still find info from Dr Clemmons for the University of Florida whom as doing research in GSDs with DM over 20 years ago. He had a great protocol to help in managing and living with a DM dog.

by hexe on 04 January 2021 - 00:01

Could also be something orthopedic--issue with a disc in the spine, cauda equina nerve bundle impingement, spondylitis development, for example. Those problems can result in toe dragging as well--DM is typically diagnosed by ruling things out until you're left with nothing else it could be.

Yes, a contrast MRI can be diagnostic, but it's also very pricey [last time I checked, it was $3500.00, and that was about 15 years ago], requires general anesthesia, and it's quite invasive, with some dogs having adverse responses to the contrast media.

Consider having your dog checked out by a board-certified veterinary orthopedist--if you've got access to a veterinary teaching hospital who has an ortho vet on staff, that's probably going to get you the most bang for your buck, as the films will get looked at by multiple sets of eyes which improves the chances of even the most minute changes being noticed. There are treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, for some of the things that can cause toe-dragging, and generally the sooner you have the problem diagnosed for those things, the better the chances are that the treatment will be successful.

But as to your question of whether DM is seen in the Czech working line dogs, the answer is yes, it's in the genetics of the breed, and the Czech dogs stem from the German lines, as do the DDR lines, the Slovakian lines, the Belgian lines, the UK lines, and so forth. The disorder is in the breed, regardless of which bloodlines you select.


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