What we can do with a dog with degenerative myelopathy?


Degenerative myelopathy, progressive and degenerative disease of the spinal cord from the dog's advanced age, is home from 8 years of age. In early stages, the dog shows incoordination in movements, falls out of their hind legs or makes rare movements; It wobbles and drag one or both feet either, go with the knuckles.  

Disease can start with a posterior end and affect the other until you reach the thoracic member. Weakness gets gradually worse, the dog has trouble standing and has trouble walking. Disease can go to evolve for a year until the dog is finally left paraplegic or tetraplegico and must be eutanasiado. It is a little painful and disease in the majority of cases affect urination and defecation, become incontinent.

There are no treatments which reduce this degeneration or stop it but if measures to help these dogs who suffer it to maintain their quality of life. It is necessary that animal do rehabilitation exercises and keep your home life habits to prevent thepressure sores, urine infections and loss of mobility.

With the physiotherapy and rehabilitation can help to slow down the process. They can control the symptoms of pain side (tensions), created by the animal when trying to move. Trying to restrain the emergence of atrophy (loss of muscle mass), and preserve function of former members, as well as preserve the integrity of subsequent, to prevent ulcers and keep them active as long as possible, stimulate their sensitivity and work coordination and balance of the animal to give a better quality of life.

For this purpose they are employed passive exercises of mobilization, massage, stretching, combined with heat, hot packs, and with any device that combat the atrophy Transcutaneous electrical nerve and pain TENS

There is another part of the therapy that tries to maintain active mobility by the animal. They are used to that balls, dishes, hydrotherapy, rods and cones, walks, etc. to keep an active mobility with good coordination without loss of balance. This stage is shown more altered with the course of the disease and therefore when the animal starts to deteriorate, to not keep their own weight, needed to maintain them mobility with the use of harnesses for rear, in the case of difficulty only in later, or comprehensive harness, to also support the former members.

The latest novelty in the market is the Biko Bracea device that allows the dog to walk when the disease now affects the hind limbs in an important way. In advanced disease stages, it is necessary to use ofwheelchair made-to-measure.

During the stay in his house the animal has to be somewhere comfortable, soft but firm so that it can be incorporated with ease mattress especially for dogs. If disease is at the beginning and the animal go shuffling, or knuckles, it is important to protect the area to prevent ulcers with ankle boots o socks for dogs

During the course of the disease is and very important nutrition and weight of the animal control to avoid complications.


In the next video we see TEX a pastor affected degenerative myelopathy German before and after using the device Biko-Brace

Marta Subirats

 Canine physical therapist

 Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner by the University of Tennessee



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