Canine degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a slowly progressive, spontaneously occurring, adult-onset spinal cord disorder. Clinical signs appear at 8 years of age or later and start with asymmetric general proprioceptive ataxia and spastic paresis in the hind limbs. One year after onset of clinical signs, dogs usually become paraplegic therefore many owners elect euthanasia. If owners decide to postpone euthanasia, progression of the disease is observed including weakness of thoracic limbs, flaccid tetraplegia, widespread muscle atrophy and dysphagia. The disease occurs with equal frequency in male and female dogs.
Recently a mutation in exon 2 of SOD1 gene was associated with the development of the disease in many dog breeds. Homozygous mutation is observed in most dogs with clinically and histopathologically confirmed cases of degenerative myelopathy. Some heterozygous dogs developed DM later in life which is in concordance with the mode of inheritance of human homologue Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Inheritance: autosomal recessive - read more
Mutation: SOD1 gene (exon 2)
Genetic test: The method used for testing is extremely accurate and allows complete differentiation between affected animals, carriers and healthy dogs. Testing can be done at any age.
Disease control: read more
Sample: EDTA whole blood (1.0 ml) or buccal swabs. Detailed information about sampling can be found here.