Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
If your dog has been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), you will want to know how to maintain quality of life and mobility for your dog as long as possible. Fortunately, many natural ways to help manage Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs have shown great success and won’t harm your dog the way traditional drugs can.
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What is Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs?
Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease affecting the spinal cord of dogs. It is comparable to ALS in humans. In dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy, the myelin sheath, the nerves’ protective lining around the spinal cord, begins to deteriorate. When this happens, nerve signals are delayed or inhibited since the protective myelin sheath is now deteriorating and, thus, the spinal nerves with it. This causes a range of issues related to nervous system impairment, including tremors, muscle wasting, incoordination, weakness, and, ultimately, paralysis.
Signs of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
One of the first signs of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs will be your dog showing signs of “knuckling,” this is when they drag one or both of their rear legs on the ground instead of adequately picking up the whole paw when walking. Other symptoms include wobbly/drunken gait (ataxia), inability to keep balance, especially in the rear end, weakness to stand, and difficulty rising from a laying position.
However, many of these symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs are also common in arthritic and aging pets. So it’s vital to get a definitive diagnosis from a veterinarian before concluding whether your dog has the disease. Once diagnosed, it’s imperative to begin a proactive protocol to delay further damage.
What Dog Breeds are Prone to Degenerative Myelopathy?
Certain breeds appear to be more prone to Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs, caused by a mutation of the SOD-1 gene. These breeds include, but are not limited to, Miniature Schnauzers (like our founder’s dog Odie), German Shepherds, Corgis, Boxers, Rottweilers, Cavalier King Charles, Poodles, Pugs, and Wire Fox Terriers. While most cases of DM are seen in large-breed dogs, it has been found in over 120 breeds, so any breed can be affected.
Degenerative Myelopathy Prognosis in Dogs
Since Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs has no cure, the long-term prognosis is poor. Lifespan post-diagnosis varies greatly depending on the dog’s age, the disease’s advancement at the time of diagnosis, and the owner’s willingness to help manage the disease. However, that does not mean to give up hope. There are ways to keep them moving happily and maintain a pain-free quality of life while they manage the progression of the disease.
Treatment for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
Standard conventional veterinary treatments are more integrative than seen with other diseases. Since DM is primarily treated by physical methods, drug therapies are limited in their usefulness with this disease.
Steroids like prednisone or dexamethasone are a standard drug-based treatment to decrease spinal swelling and inflammation. Steroids cause immediate damage to the liver and come with unpleasant side effects like irritability, panting, excessive thirst and hunger, increased urination, and the worst for DM, muscle wasting. Steroids do not help delay progression nor help the clinical signs of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs. There are much better alternatives available to decrease inflammation. Fortunately, most vets shy from this option since it hasn’t shown to be much help for DM.
Physical Therapy for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
Chief among all methods for managing Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs is physical therapy. This method has been studied and shown to delay progression and maintain mobility. Physical Therapy will keep a dog’s nerves alive; without regular physical exercise, these nerve cells will deteriorate quickly. It’s essential to maintain daily exercise practices at home with your dog and pursue professional physical therapy options. These include water treadmill, cold laser, and ultrasound therapy. A Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) will help you find a therapy protocol that works best for your dog’s needs.
In addition to physical therapy, other hands-on methods to effectively manage and slow DM include chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, Assisi Loop therapy, and Help Em Up harnesses. Often, these therapies will be all in one place at many veterinary rehabilitation facilities.
Getting your dog a wheelchair for pets is also a fantastic tool to give them independence and freedom to move independently while encouraging nervous system activity and maintaining nerve health.
Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (FSHE) CBD for dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy is a vital addition for helping your dog with DM. FSHE CBD Oil is a proven neuroprotectant; it protects the nervous system from damage and inflammation. It has been studied for its beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases in two ways: restoring balance to the oxidative and anti-oxidative pathways and reducing inflammation via CB2 receptors.
Unlike other mechanisms of action typically seen (like working on CB1 and CB2 receptors to reduce inflammation), FSHE appears to change cellular reception and gene activity to innately make the body able to respond to inflammation more appropriately. This shows how powerful and synergistic FSHE CBD for Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs is, it works with our bodies to create balance.
Since Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs is progressive and autoimmune in nature, higher doses of FSHE must be given. We recommend a total dose of 35-50mg of CBD for Degenerative Myelopathy, along the gumline, 2-3 times daily, to maintain constant therapeutic levels.
CBG for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
Recent research suggests that CBG (cannabigerol) in combination with CBD is neuroprotective. Leading to the question, can it help slow the effects of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs? CBG is one of many cannabinoids included in a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract. Using it in conjunction with other cannabinoids will only increase the synergistic effects and lead to homeostasis within the body. CBG could be considered a kind of “stem cell” of cannabis, which is part of the reason it has such amazing benefits. Unlike other cannabinoids like CBD or THC, CBG has a more direct action on the Endocannabinoid System, with a direct binding action on CB1 and CB2 receptors. This direct action results in a more efficient delivery of all the benefits of CBG for dogs.
Full-spectrum hemp extracts rich in CBG, like HEAL, have been shown to have additional beneficial effects for DM. They have been shown to fight neuroinflammation and have neuroprotective effects. Using CBG in a full-spectrum hemp extract will garner the best results possible for protecting your dog with DM from further degeneration, pain, and inflammation.
This is why a Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, with all naturally occurring cannabinoids, is best for dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy, like our HEAL: Full Spectrum Hemp Extract, rich in CBD and CBG for dogs. We recommend a total daily dose of 35-50mg of our HEAL, administered along the gumline, split into 2-3 daily doses, to maintain constant therapeutic levels for Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
Lion’s Mane mushroom is a must-have in your supply kit when it comes to Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs. This mushroom is extraordinary for its nervous system benefits. Lion’s Mane is well known for its beneficial effects on cognition and focus, which is its primary characteristic.
However, it goes much further than that! Lion’s Mane mushrooms produce bio-active agents that induce Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). NGF promotes nerve cell regeneration, which is critical in helping nervous system disorders like DM. BDNF is a key molecule involved in plastic changes related to learning and memory and improves mood.
For dogs with DM, maintaining the myelin sheath is imperative. Lion’s Mane may be able to repair damaged myelin sheath, a process called remyelination. This is crucial for a disease primarily afflicting the myelin sheath!
MycoDog’s Clarity is a blend of naturally grown medicinal mushroom extracts, that includes Lion’s Mane. Clarity was designed to support your dog’s cognitive disorder, nervous system, mental and emotional health. A proprietary water extract of Lion’s Mane, Reishi and Cordyceps, with Bacopa Monnieri and Ashwagandha preserved in organic, vegetable glycerin. Our medicinal mushroom extracts are hot water tripled extracted from the fruiting bodies of fungi cultivated and wild-harvested in North America. There are (at least) 350mg of mushroom extract in 1mL.
Degenerative Myelopathy: Odie’s Story
Our founder’s soul dog, Odie, happens to be the schnauzer that adorns the label of our EASE tincture. When he started wobbling and having trouble walking upstairs, Angela knew the problem was deeper than his usual grumpy-old-man demeanor. Odie was diagnosed with DM at the age of 9. His diagnosis pushed Angela to create EASE, to give him better mobility, increased quality of life, and drive that diagnosis to the back burner, which it did!
Angela gave Odie EASE during the day and HEAL at night so that his body got all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and extracts necessary for relief and healing. Within one week, Odie was able to walk normally and go up and downstairs again. His inflammation decreased, leading to better overall health. Odie was also given MycoDog’s Clarity daily, for the benefits of medicinal mushrooms and especially Lion’s Mane for Degenerative Myelopathy. After starting Odie on Clarity, Angela watched Odie go from having no interest in eating in his old age, to taking his mushrooms and eating like a monster the next day!
Odie’s DM never progressed, and it’s likely because of the powerful effects of FSHE CBD & CBG on his DNA, keeping his system from degenerating further and helping to balance his body so that he could deal with this condition better.
Naturally Managing Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs
Using Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD Oil alongside Lion’s Mane mushroom is one of the most synergistic combinations of plant medicine to help manage a damaged nervous system. We recommend our Heal tincture, rich in both CBD and CBG for dogs with degenerative myelopathy, as well as MycoDog’s Clarity mushroom blend, made with Lion’s Mane mushrooms. This is also a popular combination for senior dogs, so we’ve bundled them together in our Senior Dog Duo for bigger savings.
In conjunction with physical therapy and other hands-on techniques like acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and laser therapies, a dog with DM can live comfortably and without poor quality of life.