Shedding Light on Canine Degenerative Myelopathy | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

PetFirst Sheds Light On Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
6 years ago

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (December 12, 2014)—Canine degenerative myelopathy (CDM) is a rare, incurable, progressive spinal cord disease causing disconnect of communication between the brain and the nervous system in the back legs and sometimes the lower body. This is a non-discriminating condition, though larger breed dogs and elderly pets are the most susceptible. While there is no known cure, there are steps pet owners can take to ease the suffering of pets diagnosed with the condition.

Debra Crovicz, PetFirst policyholder since 2010, is all too familiar with the effects of CDM. Her dog, Bailey, was diagnosed with the disease in early 2013. While she admits it has been hard on both her and Bailey, she is holding out hope for a cure and is thankful there is no physical pain associated with the condition.

“I just wanted to share my story in hopes of educating the public on the disease, and also because PetFirst has been supportive of Bailey’s condition since her symptoms started in February 2013,” said Crovicz.

Vets agree early diagnosis is key to help slow progression. By determining the diagnosis of CDM, a physical therapy schedule can be implemented to help the dog maintain and build muscle tone in the hind legs. This is the only treatment available at this time, as there is no prescription drug regimen known to treat CDM. Physical therapy is critical because it delays the muscle atrophy associated with CDM, as well as help maintain mobility.

Bailey currently uses a cart,a wheelchair-like device for dogs, to help her get around.

“She’s unable to get up and walk without assistance due to her condition,” Crovicz said. Carts, boots and similar devices are available and assist in the range of mobility and quality of life available as the disease progresses.

If your dog is exhibiting signs of weakness in the back limbs, such as dragging, limping or walking with the rear paws close together, schedule a visit to your veterinarian. An early diagnosis can be the key to helping prolong the mobility of your furry friend.

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