Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a degenerative neurological disease where the dog’s the nerves in the spinal cord degenerate as in human Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). The first signs are hind limb weakness and lack of coordination, which can progress to a complete inability to walk.

Latest Research Update: Through testing of dogs with and without DM we have identified a mutation in the SOD1 gene in Pembroke Welsh corgis, Boxers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, German Shepherd dogs, and Rhodesian ridgebacks. The same gene is also mutated in a portion of human ALS patients. We believe that additional genetic risk factors contribute to DM in dogs and are therefore continuing our studies with more samples. In addition we are exploring the disease mechanisms, which might in the future lead to better treatment strategies.

Publication: Awano T et al Genome-wide association analysis reveals a SOD1 mutation in canine degenerative myelopathy that resembles amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. (2009) PNAS USA 106:2794-9

Breeds: Boxer, German Shepherd, Hovawart, Pembroke Welsch Corgi

Main collaborator: Joan Coates (University of Missouri), Gary Johnsson (University of Missouri) and Tosso Leeb (University of Bern)

Main contact: Emma Ivansson,