If you have noticed that your dog is having a hard time walking on its back legs, this can be caused by a disease known as degenerative myelopathy. Below is information about what this is so you can understand about it when you take your dog to the veterinarian.
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a disease of the spinal cord. The disease will progress over time. DM starts showing symptoms in dogs later life in most cases. In the beginning, your dog will lose their coordination in their back legs. One of the main things you will first notice is their feet will drag the floor when they walk.
Your dog will also start wobbling while walking and they may knuckle over while walking. Your dog will have a hard time getting up from a seating or laying position and will also have a hard time sitting down.
Over time, the disease will cause your dog to become completely paralyzed in their back legs. At this point you my want to consider euthanasia as the dog will not be able to urinate or defecate on its own. To help prolong your dog's life you can purchase a dog wheelchair to support their back legs while they walk. Your vet can tell you where to buy this wheelchair if you decide to do this.
When you take your dog to the vet, they will give them a thorough examination. They will also do a urine and blood test and take a sample of their spinal fluid.
The vet may perform a CT or MRI scan on your dog's spinal cord. This allows them to better see what is going on. This type of test will likely take a few days to get the results. Still, your vet may diagnose your dog with DM from how they walk and by the other tests.
There is no treatment for this disease, but your vet may be able to tell you things you can do to help your dog. For example, getting regular exercise can help keep their back legs stronger for a little while longer. How long this is depends on how progressed your dog is with DM. Fortunately, this disease generally causes no pain at all
DM is a very sad disease and cannot be prevented in any way. It generally attacks certain breeds, such as the German Shepherd and Corgi, but any dog can get it.