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Degenerative Myelopathy

Does your Ridgeback seem weak in the rear? Does he or she have uneven wear patterns on the rear nails? Do the rear legs cross over under the body? Does he or she have difficult rising or lying down?

Degenerative myelopathy is an insidious disease that mimics many other spinal neurological problems. Early signs might include any of the above. As the disease progresses, the symptoms worsen to include loss of balance,  limp tail,  rear legs dragging, incontinence, and initial paralysis of the hindquarters that progresses to the front. There is no cure, and treatment options are very limited.

complete neurological work-up is necessary to rule out other neurological problems. Degenerative myelopathy can only be presumptively and not definitively diagnosed. This means that X-rays, MRIs and other tests can only rule out other diseases; the only way to confirm degenerative myelopathy for sure is through posthumous analysis of the spinal cord.

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