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The Stages of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

Symptoms of Canine Paralysis from DM

Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs is among the biggest diseases impacting pet mobility. However, an awareness of the disease and its progression can help prepare you and your pet for what’s to come.

It’s important to note that Degenerative Myelopathy is not painful, and at the onset, a dog’s mobility will be affected slowly by DM. If your dog is experiencing pain, contact your Vet immediately. When a dog is diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy, its spinal cord is affected, which quickly impacts the rear leg strength. As the degeneration progresses later, this leg weakness will worsen. Understanding the progression of Degenerative Myelopathy is crucial to getting your dog the care and support they need.

What is Degenerative Myelopathy?

German Shepherd dog with DM runs in wheelchair

Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy will experience progressive mobility loss over many months. DM is a spinal condition that impacts a dog’s ability to walk and stand independently. As the disease progresses, dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy will lose strength in their back legs which will progress to their front legs later on. In most cases of DM, a dog usually begins to show signs between the ages of 8 and 9, although onset can start at any age.

Understanding the impact degenerative myelopathy will have on your dog is critical to giving your dog the care they need. By nature, DM is a progressive condition, which means symptoms will worsen over time. In addition, each stage of DM will affect your dog’s mobility differently. For example, in its earliest stages, dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy may experience only minor changes in their gait. However, in later stages, dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy are entirely reliant on their wheelchair to continue to walk.

Early Stages of Degenerative Myelopathy

It’s difficult to diagnose Degenerative Myelopathy in its earliest stages and one of the many reasons a dog may not be diagnosed with degenerative Myelopathy until the disease progresses further. The first stage is an almost invisible weakness in a dog’s rear legs. The change in a dog’s gait at this point is so minute and incredibly difficult to see—a more reliable to check your dog’s back feet once a month. Next, look for uneven wear on your dog’s rear toenails. Uneven wear on the innermost nails of the rear paws is an early tip-off of DM.

Early degenerative myelopathy symptoms can be easily confused for natural signs of aging or arthritis. DM’s physical symptoms include some loss of muscle mass and slight clumsiness when walking.

Early to Mid-Stage of Degenerative Myelopathy

Hind leg support for dogs with mobility issues from DM

As DM progresses, your pet’s symptoms become much more apparent and easier to see.

Mobility changes to be aware of in early to mid-stage degenerative myelopathy:

  • Beginning to have difficulty standing up.
  • Maintaining their balance is a struggle, but they can recover on their own.
  • Scrapping nails: On walks, listen to your dog for sounds of scraping nails. At this stage, scraping will occur periodically and will not be constant.
  • Dog begins to lose muscle mass in the hind end.

Your dog’s response time may be delayed as well. If you turn your dog’s rear paws under in this stage, they should be able to right their foot to place their paw directly under them, although there may be a longer response time. Paw pain is common in dogs with DM, and you may notice your dog begin to walk on their toes and upper paw to compensate.

Late Mid-Stage DM

A German Shepherd lakeside with degenerative myelopathy uses a dog wheelchair to live longer life

As your dog’s condition worsens, it will become harder to stand up from a lying down position. The dog’s awareness of paw placement or proprioception worsens. They are beginning to lose feeling in their rear paws.

Late mid-stage mobility change in dogs:

  • Their nails will begin to scrape more often as they walk until it becomes constant.
  • Stumbling or tripping due to faulty foot placement.
  • Significant muscle atrophy, especially in the hind end and thighs.
  • Exaggerated movements, such as high stepping onto curbs.
  • Tail movement becomes less active.
  • Rear legs may begin to cross as they weaken and lose sensation.
  •  May start to have ‘accidents’ in the house.

Paw placement will worsen as your dog’s DM progresses. At this stage, the dog’s paws may ‘knuckle under,’ causing them to walk on the tops of their feet, with their toe’s underneath. As a result, your dog may not be able to right its paw or have a delayed response time.

In the later stages of Degenerative Myelopathy, there will be a significant and noticeable change in a dog’s coordination. Their strength and agility will experience a steep decline, and dogs commonly struggle with balance. At this point in their degenerative myelopathy progression, most dogs will require full-time use of a dog wheelchair.

Early Late-Stage of Degenerative Myelopathy

In the ending stages of DM, your dog will require your support and assistance to get around. Once a DM dog’s back legs are paralyzed, they will not be able to get up, stand, or walk on their own. As a dog begins to advance into Late-Stage Degenerative Myelopathy, you will begin noticing drastic changes in its mobility.

Changes in a dog’s mobility during early late-stage degenerative myelopathy:

  • Erratic or jerky movements in the back legs and tail
  • Dog can no longer control their leg movements which can result in kicks for no apparent reason
  • Dog can not stand or walk on its own and requires your support to avoid injury
  • Cross Extensor Response: touching one paw and the other paw reacts
  • Maintaining balance is impossible (especially when squatting)

Late Stages of Degenerative Myelopathy

Full support wheelchair for late stage Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs

Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs can progress quickly, especially when it reaches its final stages. Signs of late-stage DM appear to happen overnight or within a few days.

Changes to be aware of during the final stages of DM:

  • The dog is unable to bear any weight on its rear legs for any length of time
  • Even once lifted, the dog is unable to stay standing without support and will collapse
  • Urinary and bowel incontinence
  • Weakness begins in the shoulders, causing front end weakness.
  • Complete paralysis throughout the body is inevitable in late-stage DM.

Degenerative Myelopathy can progress quickly from stage to stage. Significant mobility loss occurs within the first year of diagnosis, in most cases of DM, within six months to 1 year of diagnosis before dogs become paraplegic. Complete organ failure is possible in the end stages of Degenerative Myelopathy.

Pet parents dealing with end-stage Degenerative Myelopathy need to closely consider their dog’s quality of life. Seek guidance from your regular veterinarian and closely monitor your dog’s symptom progression. By understanding the end stages of DM, you will better be able to prepare for the future and get a better sense of what your dog is experiencing.

Products to help with a Dog’s Mobility Loss Due to DM

Harness to help dog up stairs
Buddy Up Harness
german shepherd wheelchair
Walkin’ Wheels Dog Wheelchair
drag bag for paralyzed dog
Walkin’ Drag Bag


  1. […] Stages of Degenerative Myelopathy | DM Mobility Solutions […]

  2. Mick is about 89 lbs and I live alone with him and another doggie. I’m not terrifically strong. Mick has a K9Cart that he doesn’t much like. I struggle to get him into it because he is heavy. He has CDM and can now only sometimes stand without me supporting his hindquarters. Mick is 10-1/2 years old, a black Lab Retriever and a very good boy. … When we reach the stage where he can’t get up, what can I do? When do I have to have him put down? When does his quality of life become not good? I don’t want Mick living in despair. I don’t know what to do. For now thank God he can still come outside to poo and pee, with me struggling to pull him on a body-sling. And on the weekends I get him into his K9Cart. There are no places around here where he can swim, which is awful. I love him so! I want only the best for him. Thank you.

    • Hi Sue,

      Caring for a pet with mobility issues comes with its own set of challenges, the most important thing you can do is be there for your dog. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job and you’re asking all the right questions. Every dog will have a different experience, and they’re condition will degenerate at different speeds. Mick is definitely going to need his wheelchair, if he doesn’t seem to like it, it may not be adjusted correctly or may be uncomfortable for him. If the fit of the wheelchair looks good, I’d focus on making the wheelchair a positive experience for Mick. Use positive reinforcement, lots of praise and treats so he can begin associate getting in his wheelchair with a positive experience. As the disease progresses, there will come a time when he struggles to stand and luckily lifting harnesses are available that can help you give him the boost he needs, and we have many harnesses that are compatible with the Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair to making get him in and out of the wheelchair easier. If he enjoys the water, I would check in your area to see if there are any pet rehab facilities nearby that offer hydrotherapy.

      Many dog’s with DM can continue to have a great life with their wheelchair. His diagnosis doesn’t mean the end and he can go on with a great quality of life. If you have any further questions, please give us a call at 888-253-0777 we’re happy to answer any of your questions regarding DM or discuss the options available for Mick.

    • My female, 16 year old, 55 pound, shepherd hound mix was confirmed with DM. I just put her down. Sherah and I were extremely active her entire life, for years and years we hiked or walked trails for at least 3-7 miles each and every day so she was in pristine physical condition even at 16 years old. She literally never had a single medical illness or issue aside from a broken leg at 7 years old and then the DM at 16. Exercise is crucial to maintaining a DM dog’s mobility as long as possible so we still walked at least 2 miles a day throughout the first few months after her DM diagnosis. It did progressively take her longer on each walk but we broke it into chunks, took lots of breaks and only did what she was happy and eager to do.
      The first sign that I noticed was when Sherah started scuffing her middle 2 toenails on both rear feet in September of 2022, I took her for a nail trim because I thought they were maybe just a little too long. Looking back, the toenails on the rear feet were not wearing evenly at all so that was a subtle sign. I also noticed that she had quit “hiking” to pee when on walks (she’s an alpha girl so she had always pee’d like a boy) and she started squatting to pee instead.
      Then all of the sudden one day, about 1 month later in November 2022, she could no longer walk across hardwood/laminate/tile floors without her feet slipping out from under her (many times falling into a side split), I thought she was just showing some arthritis or other senior dog signs. She did not have any pain. She could walk pretty normally outside on the grass but I started avoiding pavement or any other rough surface with her because I didn’t want her to hurt her back feet. I covered every inch of the floors in the house with utility rugs to help her with traction and she seemed to be able to walk ok for a bit after that, again at that point I just thought it was just her getting older – after all she was 16 years old at this point.
      Then in mid December 2022 she started standing with her hind legs crossed and didn’t seem to realize it at all. That was obviously a more serious sign so I took her to the vet. She was also walking with a slightly wobbly gait at that point and stumbling some on her walks. We were still walking about 2 miles a day total, spread over multiple walks throughout the day. At the vet we took a battery of tests and had an MRI. The MRI and every other test showed no issues with her at all, perfect condition physically (not even the arthritis that I had mistakenly assumed she was starting to experience), so we then did genetic testing and she tested positive for the genetic predisposition (and let me remind you she is not a purebred, she is a shepherd hound mix). That’s how she received an actual true DM diagnosis.
      By the end of December 2022 I had to install a ramp over the 3 steps to get outside so that she could still walk in and out by herself without falling. She also started knuckling her rear feet.
      By mid to late February 2023 she was having real trouble getting up from a lying or sitting position but once up she could still get around decently enough, just wobbly and stumbling. She still never had any pain and was a very happy girl. However, when she squatted to poop or pee she would fall on her butt about every other time she when to the bathroom because she could no longer hold herself up and that absolutely mortified her. I was able to help hold her up by the hips to steady her while she did her business but she was definitely unhappy about that situation. I purchased a special harness that had pelvic straps and a handle above her hips to try to help her move around but she was a pretty rural country dog and while she did love her cuddle time with me, she definitely wasnt used to being “manhandled” and so she refused to wear the harness (a wheelchair was definitely out of the question because of that).
      By mid March 2023 her rear end would sink immediately to the floor when she stopped to drink or eat from her elevated water and food bowls, kind of like pressing the foot lever of a barber chair to make it go down in height – a pretty quick sink down but not a ”thunk” or a slam. She was extremely uncoordinated walking and tripped a lot (and fell over sometimes) but never stopped being alert, happy and had a great appetite.
      By mid April 2023 she really starting to slow down, walks became shorter and shorter and we took lots of long breaks, and she was very rarely able to get up off the ground without assistance. She also experienced random rear leg jerking and kicking when just laying down. To give a specific timeline to how fast things start to progress: one weekend she was able to walk 1 mile round trip (half mile out and half mile back) on a sandy beach over about 3 hours – LOTS of stumbling and even more stops to rest for about 10-30 minutes at a time, but she was not in any pain and was really enjoying herself. Exactly 2 weeks later to the day, she only made it about 300 yards at the same location. So it starts to snowball very quickly towards the moderate stages. Because of this rapid progression I decided to have her euthanized by a mobile vet at home about 2 weeks after that, which was just a couple days ago.
      Towards the end she because upset and frustrated with her lack of coordination and limited mobility. She was too large to carry around everywhere (not that she would have let anyone carry her anyways) and was not the kind of dog whose quality of life would be improved by harnesses, slings and wheelchairs. She had also started not sleeping through the night, whining, uncomfortable and also quit lying in her beds instead choosing to just lay on the rugs on the floor. To keep her with me any longer would have selfishly been for me, not for her, and that is 100% the wrong thing to do. It was so devastatingly hard to put her down, words cannot express it. And not just because of how incredibly much I loved her (she was literally my entire world, no husband or kids) but so so difficult because DM dogs stay alert and engaged up to the end. It’s awful to say but it is so much easier to put a dog down who is sick and in pain. DM dogs do not have any pain but they also do not understand what is happening to them and at some point it WILL become frustrating and depressing and scary to every DM dog, no matter what their disposition is. The time to euthanize a DM dog is different for everyone because all dogs are different, a dog who will accept a wheelchair will obviously be happier longer and can wait for euthanasia longer than a dog who refuses that kind of assistance. Also a dog who is in great physical condition and maintains their exercise throughout the DM (to the best of their comfort and ability) will be able to stay happy longer than a dog who just enjoys laying around and doesn’t exercise as much.
      I hope that timeline helps someone else whose baby is experiencing this awful condition, I was not able to find many specific timeline examples online so I wanted to post my experience for others to read. I will also add that I went back and watched old videos of her to look for any subtle signs that I must have missed and a one thing was that in about April-May of 2022 the videos show she was not putting her tail upwards anymore. The highest she was lifting it when walking or barking at things was straight out horizontal. I never noticed it at the time because she was so active. So if you count the lack of tail movement in May 2022 as the first sign, everything I described happened from May 2022 to May 2023. I am too heartbroken to describe but I would rather have put my baby down a little too early than even one day too late. The time to euthanize is not when it becomes a sudden crisis situation or they have been suffering or become depressed. This is the one thing we can do for them, to make sure they pass away happy, peaceful and without fear and anxiety. I would gladly do it all over again for my precious loving wild little cuddle bug.
      RIP my sweet Sherah, you will always be my scrumptious dumpling and my life is forever better because you were in it.

      • LeAnn, I truly appreciate your story. Your timeline was super helpful – painful, but helpful. So glad that you and Sherah had each other for so many wonderful years. Hope I can stay as brave and determined as my little lady’s condition worsens. Best to you.

      • Thank you for sharing the story of your dear Sherah. For the past 6 years I have been the lucky companion of 13 year old border collie, Molly, who now has DM. Her first 7 years were spent on the farm when my brother bought her as a “gift” for our mom and dad. In truth, he wanted a dog of his choosing. Molly had always been very active running, chasing frisbees, squirrels or pretty much anything that moved. She would dance for joy when riding the back platform of the ATV or in the truck bed. With the passing of my brother and parents, I was determined to give her a good home with someone she had known all her life. She came to town to live with me. Having lost 3 of her 4 people, she has always been reluctant to leave my side. She became my sidekick, ready for rides and long walks or just watching tv. Always within eyesight of me wherever I am. Always at the door when I leave and come home. It has been heartbreaking for both of us to have such a rapid decline in her activity. I told the vet at her last visit in June, I would not add to her depression by using a sling harness or wheeled cart. So tomorrow, my Mollydog will go for her final ride and I will give her the peaceful end she so deserves. There will be joy in heaven when she hears my brother whistle for her to come.

      • Your post was beyond helpful. We put our boy down 7/25/23. American bully 14 yr 2 months. He was still very alert but having #2 issues in the night and getting more uncomfortable at night. His walks were more hard to watch as well with his rear feet and legs not moving properly.
        For those that find this post, I had my dog on a 4 walk a day schedule just so he could go to the bathroom. He didn’t like using the yard. He seemed like he really had to work at getting ready to go poo. I would have to watch him and hold his hips as he went. That was for about 19 months. His walks were 1/4 mile or a bit more at most. He would have better days than others. Sometimes could get up on his own, sometimes needed help. He also could stand better on some days than on others. We did put grippy socks on his rear feet and that helped the slipping on tile and protect his rear nails as the middle ones were ground down considerably. I recorded much of his walking for my own looking back on to remember him but also for others to see. Search D North Sammy and you will find plenty of examples of what I believe was DM.

  3. I can recommend hydrotherapy, it’s not a cure but in my opinion is a good way to delay impairment to an extent. It will strengthen your dogs hind legs which can only be a benefit, We have a 13 year old golden retriever (Emma) who has been visiting the hydrotherapist twice weekly to start with and now once weekly and has helped I believe. it’ll set you back £30-£35 per session

  4. My dachshund who was only 5 yrs old was playing one day as usual, woke up from a nap with his hind legs paralyzed, within a week we took him to vet where he was diagnosed with IVDD. Just a few hours later his front legs became paralyzed. Then his breathing became labored and he was constantly crying. Took him to emergency hospital where he was diagnosed with Myelopathy as well as IVDD. We had to euthanize him that evening. So in 8 days this progressed so fast. $1400 in costs and we lost our Stormy:”( This was just this last week. So painful for us. Poor baby. This only happens in 10% of dogs Im told.

  5. I have read your page, and pleased to know what my labrador has. But my dog is 15 years old, has dementia, and is sometimes incontinent. Is the wheels worth the age, as her front legs is getting weaker. Should I wait until back end completely goes then say goodbye. She can still do a few steps up garden, but that is because its grass. If she tries to turn her back end goes, and she does loose balance.

    • I would always recommend getting a wheelchair sooner rather than waiting. Too often people wait until the very end and it can make such a big difference in a dog’s life. Wheelchairs let them run, play, and act like any other dog. I would highly recommend getting a cart – it can make a huge difference in a dog’s life (and yours).

  6. My 15 year old beagle just got her ‘wheels’ today. She couldn’t stand up for long periods and was wobbly. She now is doing circles in our kitchen and won’t stop. I think she’s loving being able to walk again. I don’t know how much time we have left with her but I think she’s more happier now with her ‘wheels’.

  7. I had to have my Zuzu euthanized in February, 2020. He had been diagnosed with CDM in April of 2018 and was in the late stage. He was a very active and bouncy rat terrier and it broke my heart to watch this horrible disease change his life. I knew I had no choice but to say goodbye when Zuzu became unable to walk without falling over and depending on me to pick him up. One day when I was helping him back up, he looked up at me with such defeat and sadness on his little face. That’s no way for a dog to have to live out his life. I knew I had made the right decision even though I still cry over losing him.

  8. Teddy is my 5 years and 3 months old standard golden doodle. I got him from a local breeder, who has a beautiful kennel, and has his puppies born inside his house, and socialized with other dogs, and his family, which included his mother, and his young children, as well as his teen aged step son. Every time I visited him, the puppies were being cuddled by people of all ages, or were being played with, as were adult dogs used for breeding. All the dogs were healthy and seemed happy. The breeder had paperwork to show that neither Teddy’s mother nor father had any joint problems.
    About 6 months ago, Teddy began to have problems getting up from lying down, and its getting worse. Then, in early December, he was running in the snow in the backyard, and ran into the house, up the two stairs that lead in from the patio. On one step, he let out a loud yelp, came inside on 3 legs, not putting the left rear leg down on the floor, and cried, which he never does-he’s quite the stoic dog. He immediately sat, and I felt at his hip and leg, thinking he’d taken a bad step, and maybe he’d dislocated something. He would not put his leg down for a few minutes, then tried, and limped very badly. He continued limping badly, that night, although he was putting the leg down on the floor. He could go down the steps, but when he had to come back in, Teddy couldn’t make it back up the steps. I had to lift his back end up every step. A few days later, he was going up the steps, but slowly.
    For home treatment, I put towel covered ice packs on his left rear leg, 12-15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, which seemed to help. I did this for a week, maybe a little ore, then went to a heating pad on the lowest setting for about the same amount of time. Teddy really seems to like that heat!
    I got him into his vet within 2 days, and x rays showed no fractures, nothing out of place, no arthritic changes, and no hip dysplasia. The vet told me, it was probably a sprain, and would take time to heal. I was advised to not let Teddy out to potty unless he was on a leash, not to take him on walks for a month, and to make sure he kept quiet and didn’t do any running around. Teddy was still limping, but not as badly as the day he injured himself. When the vet put his leg through range of motion, he said he didn’t hear or feel anything grinding or popping, and Teddy showed no signs of pain.
    I took Teddy for a walk towards the end of January, just down the road, for about 10 minutes, when we turned around. Teddy was walking well, not limping. On the way back, however, he suddenly laid down in a snowbank on the road’s shoulder. When I urged him up, a minute later, he was holding up the right rear leg this time, and limping badly. He sat down, and I gave him a few minutes. We continued on home, Teddy using all 4 legs, but limping and favoring the right rear, now. Until Teddy laid down in the snowbank, he had been walking very well, with no limping, and not often stopping (unless something smelled good, that is, or to sniff noses through a chain link fence, with another dog).
    I thought he had perhaps strained his good rear leg, that maybe I should have waited longer to walk him. His limp went away, after a few days, and I haven’t walked him since. I have just begun to let him potty off leash, and I always go outside with him, to warn him not to get too rambunctious. Poor Teddy is so bored, and probably depressed-when he started having problems getting up, I had pulled him out of doggie daycare, where he went for socialization. He really oved going there, and always got on so well with the other dogs. He is a very active dog, and I was told he basically ran around, played with toys, and wrestled with other dogs, from the time I dropped him off until I picked him up 5 hours later. Now, Teddy sleeps much more during the day. I have gotten him a number of toys and puzzles to get him thinking, but he always figures them out in minutes, and after a day or so, ignores them.
    My vet recommended I take Teddy to an orthopedic vet, as he said Teddy is “walking like a 13 year old dog, and there is no reason for it.” He saw Teddy again, after the right rear leg seemed injured. Just before this appointment, I had noticed both rear legs seem to have lost muscle mass, and the vet agreed on this.
    Teddy is having a harder time getting up from lying down; he seems to be picking his hind end up, by using the muscles of his shoulders. His first steps after getting up, are stiff, but coordinated. His back will be arched for those first steps, also. I think it hurts him to drag his body up on all fours. He used to jump up on my bed; now he can’t get up on the bed. At times, he seems like he is leery of even getting on the couch-he does, but it seems he has to think about it first.
    He has no problem wagging his tail, or using his hind legs to itch his neck, head, or ears.
    My vet gave me a bottle of carprofen (I think that’s the name, its an NSAID for dogs), which he takes morning and night, with food. I really don’t like doing this; I take ibuprofen 800 for back pain, and they always give me heartburn, even when taken with a meal. And, I have a friend who rescued a racehorse from a kill auction; The poor thing had stomach ulcers, and her vet told her of doing necropsies on racehorses while in college, and finding many with so many ulcers it was hard to see healthy stomach tissue. The ulcers were largely caused by the constant NSAIDS racehorses are given, to ease the pain of racing and training far too young. I don’t want Teddy suffering like that.
    All I can think of, is my father, who was thought at first to have Guiilain Barre Syndrome. It turned out he had CIDP, which is like a chronic form of Gullain Barre, and he died of aspiration pneumonia, after loosing the ability to swallow. Since CIDP is also an auto immune disease where the myelin sheath is destroyed, I wonder if there’s any comparison to DM in dogs.
    I hope that Teddy doesn’t have this, that his muscle atrophy is due to simply not using the muscles, and that this orthopedic vet will rule out DM or any related disease. I hope I am told to get a pair of braces for Teddy’s back legs, that he heals up with them, or even has to wear them the rest of his life. At this pint, I don’t care. I just want my Teddy back, my wonderful, cheerful, playful dog who is so smart he invents games for us to play. I want to take him for a walk, and have to remind him constantly not to pull me, and to heel.

  9. I’m a veterinarian. Got two sister GSDs from my brother-in-law nine years ago. He breeds GSDs, but has done no research, i.e. OFA. Both had one elbow with ununited anconeal process, and both had board-certified surgery, to no avail. Then came DM. Dagny first, and I put her down when she was 8 a year ago. After the usual progression of the disease, she began to lose control of her bowels and was scared (she was the timid one). Hard decision. I didn’t want her to live in fear. Both tested double recessive positive; no hope. Now I’m working with Eva, who’s 9. Every morning I put socks and boots on her hind feet after bandaging the callus/raw spots. I’ve reinforced the tops of the boots with ShoeGoo. Then I wrap from the top of the boot to above the hocks with the rubber, perforated shelf liner I get at Bed Bath & Beyond. Cut the roll to 4.5″ X 30″ (from 18 X 120″), getting 16 wraps. Use 1″ Gorilla tape to hold together in a spiral. Eva goes to work with me every day, and enjoys being with the staff and meeting new puppies. Both Dagny and Eva are CGC. Tried laser therapy with Dagny, to no avail, even though I read research that it can give 3 years +/- ll months. Have harness for her to help her jump into the SUV. One day at a time.

  10. Hello, I have a Lab, female, 12 years old and has DM. My vet has told me there is nothing he can do for her other than give NSAID since it is not curable. Her hind legs are weak, and she is knuckling, scraping her toenails so short they will bleed. I have bootie shoes that I put on when she in on the concrete. She doesn’t walk as well with them on. Can you please help me with some ideas for supplements that have worked for your dogs? And I am looking into this wheelchair. Any advice and help is welcoming!
    Thank you, Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      Degenerative Myelopathy is a terrible disease without a cure. I highly recommend a wheelchair for every dog with DM, there have been studies that have shown that with continued regular exercise dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy can slow down the progression of the disease. The Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair can play a huge part in your dog’s emotional and physical health, since DM will continue to impact your dog’s mobility as it progresses the wheelchair is designed to adapt to your dog’s changing mobility needs. A front attachment can be added at any time to add front leg support. Please give us a call at 888-253-0777 we would be happy to help answer any of your questions.

  11. I’m so very sorry for your loss of Zuzu. I am in the process of making the decision to say goodbye to our Rocky Doodle Bug. 🙁 He did the same thing to me the other night and i just knew it was time. The look on his face made me so sad. This decision is the hardest I’ve ever had to make….I will miss him so much but I know it’s for the best. I really appreciate your post right now….Makes me think that I am doing the right thing. All the best. Lesley.

  12. My rescue GSD Stella has reached the late stages as well. This old broad became quite a diva in the 3 plus years that she joined the family. Funny and a real character, I hate to let her go but as she has taught me…it’s all about her. And her eyes say it all.

    Here’s a couple of things that really helped her.. She loved her Walk’n Wheels. Once she realized she had her independence again, she took off like a shot down the sidewalk to my brothers house. What a hoot. The company also makes a made to order harness that really made both of our lives easier.

    My mom had MS and she had been in a trial that used Nicotinic acid doses. It put her into remission for years so I automatically put Stella on a regimen. I think that had a real delaying effect on the progression of the DM. She had the beginning signs coming from rescue over 3 years ago and until recently was quite active. So don’t be afraid to check out the latest studies on the disease.

    Best regards to you all and your fur kiddos!

  13. You are definitely doing the right thing. Dogs aren’t like people. They can’t find things to distract themselves from the fact that they can’t walk anymore. They get distressed when they lose control of their bodily functions. They can’t chase a ball or toss a toy around or go for a walk and sniff all the outdoor stuff. My heart still aches for Zuzu, but I couldn’t stand the thought of having to eventually watch him become paralyzed. Bless you in the days ahead.

  14. My soon to be 11 high drive prey driven intact GSD is now full time in his cart and absolutely loves the freedom he has regained because of it.

    I thought our time of long leash walks on various trails and around the blocks were over.

    Now having worked with him and his cart his front legs and mussles have strengthened to the point he can run after rabbits and deer with me attached.

    As an intact GSD I always have to be careful loading him into the cart. Several times making a mistake and it’s happy ending for him.

    Obstacles are no problem as he is learning to navigate them. He is able to turn in tight spaces, likes to go romping through tall brush, going up and over sidewalks and has more energy than I do.

    He is also on medication for arthritis.

    This cart is strong and will handle a 80 pound german shepherd who has regained his quality of life and I’m more than happy to give it to him.

    We’re up to two walks a day now.

    • Rick, that’s incredible news! Thank you so much for sharing your German Shepherd’s story, we love to hear news like this!

  15. My lab was greatly helped by a high quality b12 twice a day and a tumerick bromelane extract sissu for the b12 and natural factors for the tumerick I do have him on others, but those two made a drastic difference.

  16. As a reader, understanding the stages of Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is crucial for anyone affected by or interested in this debilitating condition. DM progresses through several distinct stages, starting with mild symptoms like hind limb weakness and loss of coordination, often mistaken for normal aging. As the disease advances, muscle atrophy worsens, hind limb paralysis becomes evident, and eventually, the front limbs are affected too. It’s heart-wrenching to witness the gradual loss of mobility and independence in those diagnosed with DM. Awareness and early detection are essential to providing the best care and support for both the patients and their families.

  17. As a reader, understanding the stages of degenerative myelopathy is crucial for anyone dealing with this debilitating condition. The progression of this disease, from mild mobility issues to complete paralysis, highlights the devastating impact it has on both individuals and their families. Learning about the stages helps raise awareness about the challenges faced by those with degenerative myelopathy and fosters empathy and support for their journey. It also emphasizes the importance of ongoing research and medical advancements to improve the quality of life for those affected by this condition.

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