There is currently no effective treatment for a cure for dogs with degenerative myelopathy. A veterinary neurologist in Gainesville, FL, Dr. Roger Clemmons, performed studies on the effects of acetylcysteine and aminocaproic acid in dogs with DM, and the studies suggested that these compounds can help slow the progression of the disease. Steroids and vitamin supplements may also be effective.
For all dogs with DM, it is important to focus on weight management and exercise. Overweightdogs will have more difficulty with their mobility, and rehabilitation therapies such as deep tissue massage and passive range-of-motion exercises can help some dogs as their hind limb mobility worsens. If a dog with DM develops skin lesions on his paws or bed sores on his limbs, your vet will prescribe treatments.
Dogs with DM will also require assistance when going to the bathroom. Special harnesses are available to support dogs from their bellies so that owners can pick up their dog’s hind end easier. Some dogs may also benefit from the use of a special cart or wheelchair for mobility.
Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive and incurable disease in dogs. Over time, dogs with DM are unable to walk on their hind limbs without help from their owners. It can be tricky to diagnose, but once it is suspected, it usually progresses in the same manner for all dogs, making it very predictable. It is important to focus on keeping your pup as comfortable as possible. If you suspect that your dog has neurologic signs of any kind, be sure to talk to your veterinarian right away.