Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

This is Benji. He has a condition called Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), an autoimmune disease attacking the nervous systems of patients, leading to progressive damage to the neural tissue.

Benji’s owners first noted that Benji was dragging one of his hindlegs in late 2017, with wax and waning weakness of the affected hindlimb. In 2018, acupuncture was started on a monthly basis while waiting for his DM genetic test results to come in. At that time, his hindlegs had become paralysed. He was otherwise in good health.

In early 2019, there was a stretch of 6 weeks between his acupuncture sessions. His owners quickly brought him in for a check when they noted he could not stand with his frontlimbs, and most alarmingly, had no energy and could not lift up his head by himself. He was also seen breathing heavily.

We ran blood tests to check if there were any abnormalities with his blood profile but there were none. His organs were functioning fine based on the results. We then did acupuncture on Benji.

Amazingly, upon reaching home, he had started to lift his head. After another acupuncture session was done in a week’s time, he was seen sitting up supporting his weight on his frontlegs for short periods. His breathing was back to normal and is eating well. Benji now receives acupuncture weekly to maintain his condition, and half a year later, his condition has not deteriorated much. The following video was taken 2 days post acupuncture.

Acupuncture can be a very effective tool to slow down the progression of DM. There is no conventional medicine treatment for this type of disease. A regime of exercise (assisted walking or hydrotherapy) can help to maintain the muscle tone and improve circulation, not to mention emotional well-being. A more “natural” diet such a home cooked one can deliver the nutrients to the body much better than processed kibble. Supplementation with certain vitamins and antioxidants are recommended, which target specific processes that the disease DM causes.

Contact us for more information, and to allow us to show you how to care for your DM dog with appropriate nutrition and vitamin supplementation.

For more detailed information on Degenerative Myelopathy, you can have a read on this website by Dr Roger Clemmons. He is a renowned professor of neurology and neurosurgery, and has put together his knowledge from research and experience on DM. He has a lot of tips on home cooked nutrition and vitamin supplementation on his website, but they should be discussed with your veterinarian before implementation, as every dog’s needs are unique.

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