Wolfdog Health Info

DM - Degenerative Myelopathy

 What is DM
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is disease that results in progressive paralysis of the hind limbs. DM is an old disease and appears in several breeds and even in "no breed" dogs.
The first thing an owner can notice is the "dragging" with the hind foot. Later on the paralyses becomes more progressive and at the end also vital organs don't work right anymore.

This awful disease appears when a dog becomes older. That is why in the past there were a lot other diagnoses 

about dogs with paralyzed hind limbs. But it is known that the genetic disease DM also can causes the deformation of nerves. And by test we can be sure when it is DM

 (DM causes degeneration of the white matter in the spinal cord. The white matter is the portion of the spinal cord responsible for transmitting information between the brain and the body.)


Can the disease be treated
To date, there is, unfortunately, no treatment for this disease is possible. Some owners have experienced that the progression of the disease can sometimes be delayed by training the muscles of the hindquarters through swimming and walking (or hydrotherapy).

How it looks when a dog has DM



A movie of a CsW with DM: Link


When a dog can't walk nomal anymore an owner can choos for a brace: LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybEoCM1KoRk

There are also weelchairs fo dogs with paralizsed hind legs: LINK https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyusIMEq6Jk

The DM test:
There has been developed a test which can be determined whether a dog is Affected (DM/DM) , Carrier (N/DM) or Free (N/N) In several countries CsW’s were tested for DM , so we can learn more about how this disease is spread in the breed.

How an owner can test a CsW for DM:

The owner can go to his veterinarian with:

  • a completed blood sample form and a copy of the pedigree of the dog

The blood sample form is to download HERE

  • The veterinarian takes 2 ml EDTA blood, verifies the chip and signs the form.

The veterinarian can send the EDTA blood and the form with a copy of the pedigree to:
(It can be send by normal mail, in a normal envelop with bubble plastic inside )

Steubenstraße 4
97688 Bad Kissingen

What costs a DM test at Laboklin DE

The DM test costs € 56,10 ex VAT
The owner receives the bill and the test result.

DM and the CsW breed



Of the total population only low percentage is yet tested for DM. On this moment there are still a lot of breeding dogs not tested for DM.But this does not mean that there is no DM in those lines! DM is an "old disease" that appears in several breeds and also in "no breed" dogs. Probably already in early breeding lines in countries of orrigine DM did appear.



Not all dogs that are tested as Affected (DM/DM) will get physical problems when they become older. But most of the older dogs in populations that did develop physical problems were all tested DM/DM. ther are some incidentinal case of Carriers who did get physical problems, but in a much later age then DM/DM dogs. Probably a combination of more factors causes if a dog will get physical problems.

DM and breeding:
DM inherited as autosomal recessive, this means:

Tested aprents


Clear (N/N) x Clear (N/N)

100% Clear (N/N)

Clear (N/N) x Carrier (N/DM)

50% Clear (N/N)  50% Carrier (N/DM)

Clear (N/N) x Affected (DM/DM)

100 % Carriers (N/DM)

Carrier (N/DM) x Carrier (N/DM)

25% Clear(N/N) 25% Affected(DM/DM) 50%Carrier(N/DM)

Carrier (N/DM) x Affected (DM/DM)

50% Carrier (N/DM) 50% Affected (DM/DM)

Affected (DM/DM) x Affected (DM/DM)

100% Affected (DM/DM)

The last months there are “stories” that from 2 Free DNA tested parents carrier N/DM or affected DM/DM  puppies were born. Genetic specialists states that this is not possible (only in an incidental very rare case of a new kind of mutation) But it would be very interesting for official research projects (like Bern) when these breeders of N/DM and DM/DM puppies with Free tested parents can send a reliable DNA (EDTA blood) of both DM Free parents and their DM carrier or DM affected pups.

Breeding of breed dogs is a closed system

  • When higher homozygote in a breed : more genetic diseases, more behavior problems, less resistor, weaker performance, less vitality, more birth dead, and smaller litters
  • Heterozygote is needed for a healthy population of a breed!

That is why specialists advices:

  • Try to breed as less Affected dogs as possible (use in combinations always one Free tested animal)
  • But don't exclude dogs for breeding!
  • Try to keep the gene poule as broadly (and maximize) as possible

There is not any reason for "blind panic" about existents of DM in CsW breed!
But it is good to test a lot more CsW’s for DM. Only then we can see how DM is spread in the breed and we can provide more DM/DM dogs will be born!



                                                      Difference between nails



DM and research
Nowadays there is still a lot unknown about DM: why it occurs, how to prevent or how to cure. So worldwide there is still a lot of DM research going on.
Obviously there is a close relation between the occurrence of the mutated gene and getting physical problems. And the scientific assumption is there has to be one or more other facts (environment or genetic) that causes the outbreak of physical DM.

DM research of the university of Bern
At the moment their main focus of DM research is the Hovawart breed. (Because of this breed they already have a lot of blood samples, a lot of documentation about the DM status of the dogs and several biopsies of all tissues of DM/DM dogs.) 
They are willing to start the same project for the CsW breed in future. But therefore they need a lot of EDTA samples of the CSW breed with good information on the DM status of a dog and also several biopsies!

For this research they need EDTA samples of N/N/, N/DM en DM/DM tested CsW’s With relevant information of the dog as: age, yes or no physical problems, and if possible a copy of the test results.  Of all dogs with physical DM problems they also like to receive pictures and movies.
(They also can use the EDTA of not yet DM tested dogs!)

Here you can download the form and the info how to send the 5 ml EDTA to Bern.

When you have additional info and/or a copy of the DM test result, please send this together with the form and the EDTA sample!