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What are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs?

What are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs?

Degenerative Myelopathy is a cruel disease, and it has some common early signs and symptoms to look out for in your dog.

Initially, your dog might show signs of their rear paws curling. They might start showing signs of rear leg weakness, wobbling or incoordination. There might be gradual muscle wastage down the back legs. Your dog may find it hard to balance, drag their back paws, or stand.

The Early Signs of Degenerative Myelopathy are:

  • Paw Knuckling - The back paws will “knuckle” - curl under - so when your dog walks they will find it hard to balance or steady themselves. Knuckling can make your dog's paw skin bleed or get damaged and the nails often get shorter. Read more about Paw Knuckling here:
  • Swaying - It will look like your dog’s hindquarters are swaying, even if your dog is standing still
  • Falling - Your dog will fall easily if pushed from the side
  • Paw Scraping - The back paws are ‘scraping’, or dragging on, the ground when walking. The tops of the paws can become hairless from this, or have bleeding and open wounds from this dragging
  • Difficulty Standing - You’ll notice your dog struggling to get up from a lying position

As the spinal cord continues to deteriorate these symptoms in your dog will become more noticeable, and worsen over time. Sadly, as Degenerative Myelopathy progresses, incontinence of the bladder and bowel along with hind end paralysis, will follow. 

Read more about Degenerative Myelopathy here

Read more about Degenerative Myelopathy - Causes, Prevention and How To Help

Read more about dog wheelchairs here

Read how a dog wheelchair can help your dog live an active life with Degenerative Myelopathy

Previous article Reasons Your Dog May Lose Hind Leg Mobility

Raser, my German Shepherd, has Degenerative Myelopathy

Raser has had issues with his rear legs since he was 5 years old, he now uses anti-knuckling boots to help him walk more easily

Read about Raser

Degenerative Myelopathy: Causes, Prevention and How to Help

Read more

Daisy uses a dog wheelchair

These wheels are a great way for your dog to stay active and fit when they have Degenerative Myelopathy, they will give your dog a joyous full life

Read about dog wheelchairs

Barley uses Biko Bands

The Biko brace helps your dog with Degenerative Myelopathy move their legs straight, making walking and turning easier

Biko Bands
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