Saturday, January 24, 2009

Degenerative myelopathy - canine MS or ALS?

A recent report from the University of Missouri suggests that degenerative myelopathy (DM) in certain breeds of dogs is due to a genetic mutation that is identical to that of humans with Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS). You can read about this discovery here:

For the past decade or more, Dr. Clemmons has been working on a different theory - that DM is a form of multiple sclerosis. In fact, he is certain enough to say "In fact, based upon new data concerning the pathology of MS, we can now say with some degree of certainty that DM is MS in dogs. " (Read more about his work and integrative approach to the diseaes here:

The good thing about this difference of opinion is that there may be more research money devoted to the problem since these dogs now serve as models for potentially TWO devastating human diseases.

BTW for those who have or work with these patients, there is a test for DM. This is useful because there are other nonpainful paralytic diseases in dogs. For more information on the test and interpreting it, here is the webpage:


  1. My female shepherd was euthanized yesterday because of the rapid progression of her DM. I would be very interested to know if it is MS or ALS. My wife has MS and in my dog the desease looked more like ALS than MS.

  2. I am also interested in knowing the difference. My GSD has had a stabilization and stalling of progression since implementing the vitamin supplements. She also had some returning muscle twitches, tail flicks and reflex reactions that she list. With ALS that is not typical. With MS. it is quite possible to lose some function during an attack and then be able to regain a little of what is lost when it goes back into remission. There is also two types if MS.....

  3. Dr. John Symes has an intriguing take on DM, see the link...I call it a Perfect Storm situation, with several factors involved...Viruses, often if not always paramyxo type; heavy metals and/or chemicals; EMF's and hidden food allergies, all working together to create an autoimmune condition which attacks neurons etc.