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Nerve Problems

Degenerative Myelopathy: German Shepherds Most Prone to This Disabling Disease

Imagine the confusion and fear you'd be feeling if you were approaching your middle years and suddenly developed difficulty walking. The same bewilderment hits middle-aged dogs who have a progressive nerve disorder known as degenerative myelopathy (DM). The disease causes the dog to slowly lose coordination of its hind legs, which also become increasingly weak. It's caused by a deterioration of structures within the spinal cord that are responsible for transmitting nerve impulses. This degeneration can occur anywhere along the spinal column, but usually affects the lower back. Degenerative myelopathy is only found in dogs that are at least 5 years of age or older. The cause is not yet understood; although it's theorized that it could be related to an autoimmune response, in which the body immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells. [...]

Seizures and Epilepsy In Dogs

Seizures are very frightening to dog owners and are also terrifying to the dogs as well, depending on the severity or intensity of the seizure. Epilepsy, a general term for a seizure disorder, can be either idiopathic, which means that the exact cause is not known but is likely an inherited or genetic condition, or secondary, which means the seizures are the result of some other type of medical condition or trauma. Regardless of what type of epileptic seizure the dog is having, it is due to abnormal brain activity that is transmitted through the cerebral cortex to the muscles of the body, resulting in the spasms and behaviors that are seen. Secondary epilepsy may be caused by parasitic infestations, drugs, toxins, diseases, hormonal imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies. [...]

Necrotizing Myelopathy: How to Cope

Necrotizing Myelopathy is a degenerative disease that affects the spinal cord in dogs, gradually affecting mobility and sensation. It is a progressive disease, so its not known to get better without treatment, and even with treatment, its progress is usually only slowed. The problem is one of the autoimmune system. As antibodies are produced that mistakenly attack the own body, tissue in the central nervous system is destroyed or "necrotized" this phenomenon is often described as the body literally eating itself. When the muscular tissue surrounding the spinal cord is eventually eaten away, it exposes the sensitive nerve fibres of the spinal cord itself. When those are affected, disastrous results begin to happen instantaneously. Paralysis results as the control pathways between the brain and the muscles are shut down and destroyed. [...]

Strangle Leg Movements In Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Are Linked To Syringomy

There are many different diseases that canines and humans can both suffer from and syringomyelia is one such condition. It is believed that in one breed, namely the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, this condition is inherited and can be caused by a Chiari malformation at the base of the spine and the skull. The condition is named after Arnold Chiari, the first human diagnosed with the condition.The cause of syringomyelia in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels is always from the development of fluid filled compartments or sacs along the spinal column. These fluid sacs prevent the normal movement of fluids through the spinal column resulting in extreme pain in movement below where the fluid sac, more correctly known as the syrinx, is located. [...]

Cysts On The Back May Be Dermoid Sinus

Dermoid sinus is a condition that occurs in several breeds but is most common in the Rhodesian Ridgeback, the Shih Tzu and the Boxer. The breed most highly affected by the condition is the Rhodesian Ridgeback, although it may also show up in mixed breeds with a history of Rhodesian Ridgeback breeding in their line. Dermoid sinus is caused by a recessive gene, which means that both the male and female must carry the gene for the condition in order for the offspring to have the condition. If any puppy in the litter is born with the condition, breeders know that both parents are carriers of the gene, even if they do not have any signs of dermoid sinus themselves. These dogs should not be bred again to prevent the possibility of producing puppies with the condition and stop puppies being born that will be carriers. It is important to note that not only should the affected puppy be neutered or spayed, but all littermates have the likelihood of being carriers so they should also be spayed or neutered and not allowed to be used in breeding programs. [...]

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