Standardized medical treatment guidelines currently do not exist for patients diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), and unfortunately, there is no cure for DM.
Because there seems to be an immune mediated component of DM, some DM dogs with acutely deteriorating cases can benefit from short courses of corticosteroids at anti-inflammatory (low) doses. These drugs should not be taken concurrently with non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
DM is a non-surgical disease. Myelograms are used to rule out surgical disease, however they do not rule in DM. Before a myelogram is undertaken, giving an Electromyogram (EMG) is recommended because it can be better to start testing for DM with the least invasive tests, leaving the more serious tests for last. EMG results can differentiate between peripheral nerve disease, inter-vertebral disc disease and myelitis and polyradiculoneuropathy.
Treatment in Humans
Treatment in humans for the equivalent disease (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) is also mainly supportive and palliative. Riluzole is the only drug that has been shown to extend survival, however the safety and efficacy of use of this drug in dogs has not been tested. Furthermore, Riluzole is very expensive.
Please contribute to this article! If you have a dog affected by DM, please send us your photos, videos and feedback so we can include them in our article. Videos and photos are particularly useful for demonstrating symptoms to new owners who may have to face this disease. Send us materials by uploading them to DogHeirs or by sending them directly to us at Team@DogHeirs.com
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