Degenerative Myelopathy Remedies

| Modified on Mar 31, 2019
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Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease that strikes a few dozen breeds of dogs, slowly degrading the pet's muscle functions and coordination. A breakdown of the myelin sheath protecting the neurons of the spinal cord is the direct cause of the dog's degeneration. The cause of the demyelination itself is unclear, though it may be due to an autoimmune disorder.

Canine degenerative myelopathy appears in dogs later in life and first presents with symptoms of uncoordinated movement in the hind legs. Other symptoms include dragging the paws, arthritic-type indications, and eventually progressive paralysis.

Natural Pet Cures: Our resident expert, Ted, suggests addressing the heavy metal toxicity in your pet that may have helped lead to the condition. Thus l-carnosine and selenium supplements may help your dog's degenerative myelopathy.

Amino Acid Complex

Posted by Vicki (Oklahoma, US) on 03/16/2015

I have a 6 lb. registered male Chihuahua who is now 17 yrs old. One year ago this month, I came home after 8 hrs. at work & found him horribly distressed, hoarse from yelping, unable to move & splayed out on the floor in the middle of a large puddle of water from the water bowl. He could not stand, at all, or move his legs. I took him immediately to my clinic to find out what had happened & left him overnight for treatment. X-ray showed an old untreated injury that I did not know about & was not informed of when it happened & the vet's diagnosis was a combination of that & DM. He held out no hope, hinted that EU would be kind & recommended treatment with Dexamethasone, but no promises. Since I didn't know what else to do at the time, I acquiesced to the vet's recommendation of the steroid.

It made him HORRIBLY sick & did not help at all. It made him severely nauseous & gave him a bloody diarrhea which gave way to an inability to move his bowels without help & difficulty urinating. This was treated by my vet with antibiotics & anti-nausea meds. I began researching that night & eventually found records of a small study done on DM dogs that showed some success using the amino acid lysine. I had already started giving him acidopholus & I had an old bottle of predigested collegen amino acid complex on hand, so began giving him about a teaspoon twice a day on his food. He was very depressed for a while, but in time cheered up & has done nothing but make very slow steady progress since then. He slowly regained the ability to empty his own bladder & bowels & is now able to briefly get around a little on his own. He's now gone through two 16 oz. bottles & is nearly through a third. I hand made him a tiny quad cart, but he's never been in it. He has been kept on fabric surfaces so that if he made the attempt to stand, he would not lose his footing, & he has taken advantage of that. I've had him since he was 6 yrs. old & had noticed for several months prior to finding him paralyzed that he was starting to walk stilt-step on his front legs. I also noticed for years before that he always crossed his front legs slightly when lying on his stomach. His front legs had gone completely rigid when I came home & found him.

(I have a photo of him when he got back from the vet last year, and a short video I made about a month ago)

Replied by Valerie
(Bronx, Ny)

Hi all...I have been on the internet trying to find out where we can get our dog's 2 medicines for DM a little cheaper.. We are currently paying about $300 a month for aminocaproic acid 250 mg/ml and acetylcysteine oral 20%, He was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. He will be 9 in November. The medicine has seemed to stabilize him. As we were told there isn't a cure but we can slow down the progression. Does anyone know where to get this medicine cheaper?

Replied by Karlene
(Fort Worth)

How is your dog doing now. I have an 18 lb. Pembroke Corgi who is beginning to have a DM problem & would like to know more about the aminocaproic acid 250 mg/ml and acetylcysteine oral 20%,

What is the amount you are giving him etc.?

Replied by Walter

Question for Ted: my dog probably has degenerative myelopathy and severe muscle wasting- what can we do to help her? She's 17.

EC: Hi Walter, so sorry but Ted had a stroke June 2015 and is unable to correspond at this time. Perhaps someone else can offer suggestions or check out the posts on this page.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hello Walter,

DM and muscular atrophy go hand in hand; the muscle wasting stems from the DM. You might find tips reading up on ways to treat spinal cord injuries on EC:

Aminocaproic Acid

2 User Reviews
5 star (1) 
4 star (1) 

Posted by Mr Bond (London, Uk) on 11/02/2012
4 out of 5 stars

We've just had our dog (Blue) diagnosed with DM (CDRM) - 15yrs ago we had the same in our other dogs (Kyle & Ria), we had Aminocaproic Acid sent from the USA to our vets in the UK for treatment & with a vitamin regime similar to Dr C's it worked very well, the original estimate was a few months but we had both dogs still walking well after a year, 1 of them was good for 18mths.

Why doesn't anybody talk of this drug on the internet? Can anyone get it? Does anyone use it?

I could use some now for Blue if anyone can help!

Replied by Robi
(Connecticut, US)
5 out of 5 stars

Many years ago, my 11 year old German Shepherd Dog was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. My vet was able to listen to me and to try the protocol from Dr. Clemmons in Florida (a combination of NAC, Aminocaproic Acid and maybe one other thing). I saw definite improvement and he lived to almost 14. I have two pieces of advice:

1. You may have to research and talk your veterinarian into trying this (mine got me hooked up with a compounding pharmacy, West Woods who sent me the needed supplements). and

2. PNEUMONIA is one of the main killers of dogs and people.... I wish I had tried a wheelchair for my dog to keep the air circulating in his lungs better. I thought he didn't care that much about going for walks since he was able to get to the car to go to work with me (with help). Good luck to all who have to deal with this terrible disease...

Replied by Michele
(North Carolina)

Aminocaproic Acid and N-Acetylcysteine as well as an antioxidant mixture are available from Westlab Pharmacy in Gainesville, Florida for a total price of about $160 per month for all three medicines. Westlab's phone number is 352-373-8111.

Replied by Paul
(Northfield, Nj)

Westlab Pharmacy in Gainsville FL.

Replied by Kay
(Jax,fl, Usa)

Barb and Devon, I read your recent posts regarding DM in your dog. My GSD has had Dm going on 2 years this November. She will be 11 yrs old. She was diagnosed in January, 2012 and the following January, 2013, both back legs were down. She is still with me and still dragging her back legs. Unfortunately there is no cure for this dreadful disease, but the progression can be slowed down. You can read my other remarks I have put in this website as to what I have done. My dog, now, has progressed to the point she has many accidents so I have had to put her in diapers. Otherwise she is healthy, alert and still can catch a ball from a lying position. I still have her on Blackstrap molasses along with ACV in her water. It is a horrible disease and I keep praying that someday, there will be a cure.


Replied by Samnsd858
(San Diego)

Hi, could you give your dog the molasses?

Garlic, Ginger

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Angela (Lake City, Usa) on 11/21/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Dr. Clemmons-a famous UF vet. has recommended to give my 72lb GSD one clove of chopped garlic and 1tsp dried ginger INSTEAD of her usual non-steroidal anti-inflammatory DERAMAXX OR RIMADYL- She had been on the garlic and ginger since her diagnosis of Degerative Myelopathy one week ago-she is in the middle stages of DM and is doing very well on her new meds from Dr. Clemmons and the garlic/ginger formula. Anyone who has a shepherd or ANY dog with DM needs to google Dr. Clemmons and check out his amazing work on this disease-My shepherd is acting like a puppy again-not a crippled 12 year old that she was. My regular vet told me to "make her comfortable" and there is nothing you can do to stop this terrible disease-it's like human's having MS- YOU CAN DO LOTS to prevent and stop the progression. contact me for more info angelagsd(at)gmail(dot)com I have PLENTY of advice and will do whatever I can to help you. I am a trainer in Florida with 3 shepherds and many years experience with dogs.

Replied by Diamond
(Salisbury, Usa)

I have degenerative myelopathy; I have been to hell and back from so many tests an experiments, exploratory an other tests. I have searched high an low for any type of relief and there is none, I refuse doctors help any longer and their progressive experimental drugs. Then there are the herbal treatments where they are so far and few & inbetween. This is a heavy progressive disease take care on how it's treated and who treats it. One doctor demanded that I take melatonin, so I gave into his wishes thinking maybe he might be a wee bit accurate;that night I slept for eighteen hours, when I tried to get out of bed I quickly got dizzy (I never knew what hit me) but I went forward an slammed my head right into my dresser an cracked my head open.

After I got stitches, I tried calling that same doctors office an no one was there to even answer the phone(s) I called for two weeks straight when I finally gave up. Two months later the Drs. Office recept. Called an said you need to come in to see the Dr. (what the****??) I said that was way over a month ago. That was the end of my visits with him. So be careful of every thing we take with this disease. It's no fun trying to reverse this issue, illness......Peace

Replied by Lauren
(Memphis, Tn)

I am just now looking into degenerative myelopathy, as my dog may have it. If you want to try a good herbal support, there is a master herbalist in Australia, Robert McDowell (not sure if I can mention his name). He provides herbal treatments for people, dogs, cats and horses, and I know he has a mixture to treat dogs for this disorder. If he doesn't have one for people, he and his staff can make one for you. They are very nice and they will give you a free email consultation, or for a fee, a more extensive consultation.

It's a little pricey to have it shipped from Australia to the US, but I found it was worth it when my lab had cancer. The mixture you get will typically last from 2 to 2-1/2 months. You may be able to find a master herbalist here in the U.S. if you search the web.

Replied by Heyy
(New Delhi, India)

Black GSD - 10 yr old with DM. Recently started with cart. Can walk very slowly only on front two. Acute emaciation. Can sit with support only otherwise lying down. Earlier was taking lots of water and also was being hand fed. Since today he is not able to swallow semi food but somehow we are able to put water/ORS with the help of plastic syringe. He is keeping mouth tightly closed. Any advice?

Replied by Diane
(Memphis, Tn)

Lauren, I am from the Memphis area and have a gsd that has been recently diagnosed with dm. I am starting her on acupuncture this coming Wednesday, 1130. There is a vet in Bartlett that is supposed to do a wonderful job and I have talked to folks that have seen great results. I I will let you know how it goes or you can look her up if you are interested. Her name is Kathy and I believe the business name is Angel Care. Angela, If it is okay, I will definitely be contacting you for more advise. Thank you for the info on the garlic/ginger.

Replied by Devon
(Spokane, Wa, United States)

I am hopeful to connect with others that are having some success with the treatment of canine DM. You can contact me direct at heavenwithad(at)

We are now in month 4. We are currently treating with garlic, ginger and parsley and they seem to be helping a bit most days. But the disease is progressing. I have seen the information on fatty acids and vitamins but no dosages.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Devon R.

Replied by Janet
(Mission, British Columbia)

I read you have some alternative treatments for dm in dogs. I have an ten year old gsd who is showing symptoms of dm and if I can help her in any natural way I would like to give some methods that have been tried and help out. I went through this with my last gsd she got it at fourteen and was gone in four months. I don't want a repeat story with my special girl I have now! Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank-you Janet

Replied by Lisa

My 11yr old dachshund has started to knuckle under only on his front right paw, his vet thought it was a shoulder problem gave him anti inflammatory didn't help. I'm a chiropractor and acupuncturist and think he has some nerve issue. What can I give him or do to help

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Lisa!

Have you taken an xray of the spine to rule in/out DM or IDD? It might be a good place to start.

Being that you are a chiropractor you should have access to these nutritional supplements which may help:

Standard Process Calcifood
Standard Process Cataplex B
Standard Process Catalyn
Standard Process Neurotrophin PMG

Standard Process Ligaplex II

Chinese Herbs: Ginseng Nourshing and Cercuma longa


Hi Theresa, I see where you recommended Standard Process Calcifood

Standard Process Cataplex B
Standard Process Catalyn
Standard Process Neurotrophin PMG

Standard Process Ligaplex II

Chinese Herbs: Ginseng Nourshing and Cercuma longa

to Lisa. Are these specific to DM? If not what would you recommend? Also what is IDD? My girl is showing strong symptoms of DM and I have read what Ted recommended to someone else and am trying to collect everything I can find out together to help her. Thank you!

General Feedback

Posted by Kay (Jax, Fl, Usa) on 03/11/2014

Because of my recent loss of my German Shepherd dog to Degenerative Myleopathy, I was wondering what breed seems to be the healthiest of dogs. Has anyone had some major issues with any specific breed. I know about German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

I have been involved in raising and showing purebred dogs for over 20 years. Like you, I wanted a healthy dog so sought to find a healthy breed. I looked at registries such as AKC and UKC and studied the breeders. Bottom line: there is no one overall healthiest breed of dog. Like humans, all dogs are individuals. What matters most in obtaining a healthy dog is the breeder. In this day and age we have technology to help breeders make the best pairings they can so as to stack the deck for a healthy litter. And since there is no perfect dog, breeders must make mating decisions based on test results that are less than stellar. In some cases test results will indicate that based on the disease conditions found, a particular animal should never be bred from, should never be mated to make puppies as those puppies will have serious health defects. In most cases the test results that are less than stellar indicate the best path forward in mating that animal so as to avoid reproducing those less than stellar results. So its not a matter of issue that a breeder tests and finds out they have less than perfects animals - rather, its what the breeder chooses to do with that knowledge they gain from the test results that is most important.

To stack the deck for a healthy animal, first find out what the common diseases are for that particular breed. Then armed with that knowledge, begin interviewing breeders of that breed to find out what they are doing to avoid producing those disease traits in their puppies.

So for instance your last GSD had DM; other common disorders in GSD's are Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, Hemophilia, Hip dysplasia, Renal cystadenocarcinoma and nodular dermatofibrosis, Pannus - chronic superficial keratitis, Panosteitis and Perianal fistula - this just to name the most common - there is a whole list of secondary disorders that do appear in the breed but less commonly than the list above. Check it out here:

So you arm yourself with knowledge of the common disease disorders in whichever breed you are interested in and then ask questions of your potential breeder. Since you are in the USA you can further check out the level of integrity of the testing your prospective breeder does by searching the Canine Health Information Center which lists the critical disorders the breed club for each breed deems most important or most commonly seen in their breed:

You can search within the CHIC site to see which breeders take health testing seriously in their breeding programs. Additionally you can search by breed and locate breeders by searching the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website :

These search tools allow you to research specific dogs for the specific health testing they have had. So if your perspective breeder says the health test for the good of the breed, you should be able to find the parents of your prospective puppy on the CHIC or OFA website and see the exact tests that were done on the parents of your potential puppy to see that - as best they could - your breeder stacked the deck for the health of the litter.

Some of the tests are expensive and some are very cheap; it costs a breeder maybe $30.00 to have a dog's knees or heart certified as normal and healthy, and the same for the eyes. Hip, elbow, spine or tracheal xrays run $150.00 and up. For some breeds certain tests are more important than others, so a breeder with a Chihuahua may not do the testing you would see for a GSD, but the end result is the same: if your breeder wants to charge you 1K or more for a healthy and well bred puppy, they should have the bare bones minimal investment in testing done [$500.00] to ensure they are indeed making healthy puppies. If the breeder you are looking at is too cheap to invest in certifying the health of their breeding stock, then that breeder is looking at $$ as their bottom line and NOT looking at your feelings as an owner of the puppy they made for the next 15 years: look elsewhere as that is not the breeder for you.

There is a lot of talk and interest nowadays in F1 crossbreds - golden-doodles and other such sporting dog x poodle crosses. I've met a few doodles - sweet dogs! And breeders of these crosses [they are not a 'breed' as they do not breed true] tout they are healthy due to 'hybrid vigor' - a phenomenon that occurs when two totally unrelated bloodlines are bred together, ie Schnauzer and Poodle = schnoodle. While hybrid vigor may occur in nature, in dealing with the carefully controlled bloodlines of dogs the health of the dog or its bloodline is only as strong as the integrity of the breeder behind that bloodline. This is to say that your cross bred golden doodle is only as healthy as the purebred golden retriever and purebred standard poodle used to make the litter, and if you start with a poor quality golden and dysplastic standard poodle, you cannot help but get poor quality and lame cross bred puppies from such a pairing. So don't believe the excuse of 'hybrid vigor' as a reason to not certify the health of the parents of a litter. A breeder must look for problems to rout them out of their bloodlines and fix them, and breeders who never look, who keep their heads' in the sand, will always have 'healthy' animals - so be aware of the hybrid vigor façade.

Lastly, after over 20 years of being a dog mom, I will say that you find your dog where you *do*; I have bred my own dogs, have bought my own dogs reputable breeders, rescued my own dogs and got my last big pet dog off Craig's List despite my insisting I wasn't going to get a puppy from a back yard bred litter. Big dog probably has hip dysplasia - I'll cross that expensive bridge in time. But despite bad hips I would not trade my girl for the world. Sometimes you find your dog where you do - and sometimes your dog finds you.

Sorry about your GSD, and good luck in your puppy quest!

Replied by Kay
(Jax, Fl, Usa)

Hi Theresa,

WOW thank you so much for your response and the website information. My last GSD, I purchased from a "back yard breeder" she was a Belgium Shepherd. She also was my 4th GSD. I had never heard of DM before her. She also had other things wrong with her. I have since her death(7 weeks today) I have been on the AKC websites and researched several breeds. I have also been to several Rescue Shelters and spoke with Foster Parents of different dogs. I would be happy with a young adult. I have researched the following breeds, Border Collie, Aussie, Golden Doodle, and a couple of others. My vet mentioned that Golden Doodles were a pretty good dog to have. I know that as you say it is expensive for a breeder to give DNA test, etc for specific issues with a breed. I know that the Border Collies have eye issues, thyroid, hip and can be allergic to certain heart worm meds. I also know there are tests for these which can be given to the litter. I worry about getting a dog from a breeder which may have a bad reputation and I wondered how I would find one reputable. All the websites look great but one never knows. I did check the State Licensing and found one breeder who license was revoked. Not a good sign.

What type of dogs to you breed? In the meanwhile thank you so much for responding to me you have been a big help.


Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

I have raised American Pit Bull Terriers, American Rat Terriers and French Bulldogs; I love breeds both made in America and all bulldog!

I hear you about finding a good breeder - a reputable breeder. I can tell you that while reputable breeders may have online websites, you will never find their puppies on or other online puppy sale warehouses or brokerages. The place to start is to find a local kennel club for your area -google "dog shows Jacksonville fl" and then explore the hits. You should find several kennel clubs and these clubs will host dog shows. Find out the dog show schedule - there are many in Florida -and then plan to attend a show. Go check out the breeds you are interested in, and see what dogs you like, and even the variations within a breed. For example, in GSD's they winning type or style of dog is with a very slanted back; this is not a style I favor. Yet you will see more than one style in a breed, so check out the arm band number of the dogs whose looks you like and then check out the dog show catalog - it will tell you the breeder of the dog and the owner and will usually have an address you can write to contact them.

I must add to not be fooled by fancy websites; the puppy mills, the 'volume' breeders all know that showing your dogs and testing your dogs is what puppy seekers want to find in a breeder, so they will say that on the website - what you want to hear. Yet I have researched public information to see that one website that showed their dog winning a fancy blue first place ribbon was actually the only dog in its class - it could not help but win first place, and that when judged with competition it lost. All this is public info. Again, the OFA site is a valuable tool to see WHO is out there testing their dogs. If nothing else you can do a wide search to collect names of breeders who test in a certain breed and then move forward by googling the kennel names. Most breeders have no problem referring folks to a breeder they respect if they do not have any puppies to sell you.

Other red flags - for me anyway - are breeders with multiple litters for sale, and more on the way; I have enough on my hands doing justice to one litter and could not imagine properly socializing or keeping properly clean several litters at a go. I also wave a red flag at deposits - particularly in popular breeds. A deposit is essentially a guaranteed sale for the breeder that fails to take chemistry and the right fit for a particular family and puppy into consideration. Most breeders I know do not accept deposits or if they do its very minimal.

Do some more research and then stop back! I am happy to help you find your next fur kid in any way I can.

Replied by Kay

I love your latest reply. Here's what I have done. I went to all the websites you mentioned. I also went to the and the specific breed I was looking at organization.(Not GSD) I found lists of approved breeders and I found one which recently had a litter. They only do two litters a year by different females. Here's where I decided not to go forward.

They wanted a 50% deposit to reserve the dog with the deposit being refundable at the sellers discretion. If the dog should develop a hereditary defect before the dog turns 1 year a replacement dog will be given.

Since this breeder is out of state, I can not give a deposit without feeling the chemistry of the dog. In the past, I have always physically seen a litter and basically the pup chose us. To send money and not getting the pups for several weeks, is a little risky to me.

So, I think I will follow your advise and try to go locally to shows and such. I am in no hurry. The other thing which bothered me is the father of the litter was a carrier for a genetic disease. Not the mother. I have no intention on breeding the dog, but I would prefer both parents not be carriers of any disease.

Thanks again for your help.


Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

I personally would not have a problem having a carrier puppy; again, if you threw all the bad eggs out there would be no eggs left in the basket. Carriers can reproduce a disease when crossed with another carrier; when crossed with a dog free or clear of the disease you end up with clears and carriers - but no affected puppies. Its a reasonable way for a breeder to move a breeding program forward with an otherwise excellent individual. The key here is that they are aware of carrier/affected/clear status of their sire and dam, so a GOOD thing.

And, you are smart to stay the heck away from a deal that smells so rotten to you; stinks to me too! While there is testing you can do early for hip dysplasia [PennHIP method can be done under 1 year with very accurate results], unless you have a really severely affected animal that is crippled or sick by 12 months of age, *most* diseases do not present until after 2 years/24 months - so the guarantees that have real teeth to them will cover a puppy until 3 years of age or 5 even.

Check out this site to help educate yourself about what a reasonable puppy contract should contain and other red flags to look out for:

Good luck on your puppy quest!

Replied by Kay


You have been so helpful with all your tips. Because of you, I did not send any deposits and will not. I emailed this out of state person and told her I could not send a deposit, etc. I didn't hear back, that should tell you! I took your advice researched all the websites and I have located what appears to be a legitimate source and am very comfortable. I have made an apt to visit the facilities sometime in the near future.

Because of you and of course, this earth clinic website, I believe I have saved myself a lot of grief and perhaps making a big mistake.

Thank you Theresa and of course Earthclinic. This site has helped so much!

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

So glad that Earth Clinic has been a valuable resource for you!

One last bit of advice; don't be put off by a breeder if they do not allow you to pick out the puppy *you* want. The reason being, most reputable breeders create litters for themselves - they bred the litter not to create puppies for the sale market, but rather to obtain the next generation for their breeding program. Those in it for the money will allow you the 'pick of the litter', while those in it for the long term health of their breed keep those 'picks' for themselves as they are priceless. Now, 'pick of the litter' is very subjective; the pick for *me* very well may the last puppy *you* would pick from the litter -but you get the idea. And, many breeders know their puppies so well - be it from observation or via puppy aptitude tests - that they know the puppy that runs up to you and jumps on you begging for you to take him home generally has the pushiest temperament and thus will require a strong willed owner to help shape that puppy into a good canine citizen - and that very same puppy when raised by a soft tempered person who is lax in their training could very well grow up to be a bite statistic. So if after all your research and screening you trust the breeder enough to give them your hard earned cash, trust them enough to know or have a good idea of what particular puppy in their litter is best suited for you. Most breeders will have a couple of pups to suit in any case, so you still will have some control in choosing the pup that calls to you.

Fingers crossed for the right puppy for you!

Replied by Kay
(Jax, Fl, Usa)

Theresa, yes, I understand how the breeder would like the pick of the litter. This breeder who I spoke with actually questioned me oh how active to I want the pup. Real active, slower or very slow. I told her mid range would work! She is watching them progress and is taking photos weekly and emailing them to me. She did ask me wouldn't I rather have a male than a female. She said they are easier to handle. Maybe because of the heat the females go through, etc. I have always had female dogs, with the exception of one male years ago.

My friends and family are trying to talk me into getting a rescue dog who really needs a home. So, I have been to three shelters and actually, you really don't know what you are getting both physically and mentally. Some of these dogs have been very abused others have been shifted around to different foster homes. I looked at and petted two dogs which just had that sadness in their eyes. Actually they almost looked sickly. As much as I would like to take a rescue as there are so many homeless dogs, I am concerned about the mental and physical health. Raising a puppy at my age(60's) may be pretty challenging! We shall see, the puppies can not go until they are 8 weeks which is sometime yet.

Thanks again for your help.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

I sympathize with you re: friends pushing for you to rescue. As a breeder I get so much flak from those who feel that my deliberately creating more puppies causes shelter dogs to die. While I appreciate the sentiment, the thinking is flawed: irresponsible breeders/backyard breeders/ignorant pet owners [etc.] are responsible for pets that wound up in the wrong home [and thus the shelter] - not the reputable breeders. As you know from working with your breeder, there is a contract you must sign that stipulates should anything not work out, that puppy of yours is to go right back from whence he came - his responsible breeder. I have rescued entire litters of puppies and have worked with them to overcome their emotional baggage from not having the right start in life; not everyone is qualified to deal with straightening out these types of puppies and adults - in fact IMHO it takes a very skilled person to take on a rescue - something that is often overlooked when sad eyes tug at your heart. Again, you find your dog where you *do* - and I find that when the stars all line up, the process is seamless, much as your process has been in locating your current prospective pup!

I agree with your breeder on the males; a neutered male is one of the *best kept* secrets in the dog world! And for breeders, the quality females tend to be placed with other breeders so females may be a bit harder to obtain, depending on the breed.

One of the things you can do right now as you eagerly await the next set of photos ;-) is to read up! My all time favorite book that I provide to my own 'puppy people' is How to raise a puppy you can live with by Rutherford and Neal. It covers the stages of behavioral development week by week, month by month and explains well why it is so critical to shape the maleable puppy's mind at each stage. Another good read is Good owners, Great dogs by Brian Kilcommons and Sara Wilson. Also Before you get your puppy by Ian Dunbar is another treat to read during this countdown to your new puppy.

Good luck with your coming pup!

Replied by Susan
(St Joseph, Mi)

For what it's worth, we have had dogs with papers and a lot of drop offs (we live out in the country) and even a shelter dog. Our last dog was from the shelter and she's the best dog we have ever had. She is almost eleven years old and her age is beginning to show. When I lose her, I will be so sad. She's a great friend. I believe if you raise them well and take good care of them, they will be kind and loving. I've never had a problem at all with a drop off or shelter.

Replied by Kay
(Jax, FL, Usa)

I visited two more rescue facilities today and although I felt so sorry for these dogs looking for a "forever home" I could allow pity to be the reason I adopt one. I have heard from several people that their shelter dogs or rescue dogs have been the best dogs they have had. There was one dog who I was interested in but she was heart worm positive which does scare me a little. So, at this point I am still leaning towards a pup from a breeder. Unless another dog finds me first.

Replied by Karen
(Westport, Ct)

All dogs, rescued or from breeders deserve loving guardians like you guys! I agree with the principal that the right dog will come to you. Of the 5 rescue dogs I have had in my adult life, 3 of them had been dumped near my house. In one case, I had passed a dog on the other side of a busy street and had to drive around the block to pick him up because of the line of cars behind me. The whole process took a few minutes. But he was waiting for me in a "sit" position when I finally made it around the block and jumped in the car as though he had known me for years!! Talk about kizmet! My rescues have all been incredible, loving dogs who lived to a very old age with few health issues. However, they have also been mixed breeds, so no doubt that factors in.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Kay!

Kudos for looking at the shelter dogs! Maybe one is in your future- and maybe not.

I know for *me*, when I am on a puppy or kitten quest that I am so restless and antsy - I just cannot be still; I think, dream and see the pet constantly in my mind's eye. I might search petfinder and see picture after picture of what ever pet it is I think is supposed to come to me. Sometimes I find the pet is one that I am to serve as a temporary host for - a stop along that pet's path to its forever home; 'foster' doesn't quite explain it. It can be disappointing to find out an animal I thought was for me is meant for another - but I have learned to appreciate the difference I can make in another's life by being this vehicle for which the pet find's its person.

I hope you are filled with restless energy - energy that shines so bright that the puppy or dog meant for you can see your beacon and hone in like a moth to the lamp light, and sound the mental fog horn in the right direction to lead you to him or her!

Once again, good luck on your puppy quest! :)

Replied by Lidia
(Dallas, Tx)

For Kay from Jax:

Give her serrapeptase. (1) a day. It is a wonder and it is called The miracle drug. Read up on it. It has multiple cures. I give my lhasa apsos(14 yrs) one a day. No more arthritis, no asthma, now, she runs and jumps. also consider MSM.

Simply look for serrapeptase info.

My son who has MS has made a tremendous improvement and still drives and works.

My family friend has cerebral pasly has made a miraculous improvement.

The company now has serrapeptase for animals. I prefer the human form for my dog. I just wrap the capsule in food and give to her. It has to be taken on an empty stomach.

Home Remedies and Supplements

1 User Review
4 star (1) 

Posted by Kay (Jacksonville, Fl/usa) on 05/09/2012

I submitted a post not long ago about my 9 yr old GS Female back legs seemed to drag the floor. I assume it was Arthritis and began giving her ACV in her water and the Black Strap Molasses. Started this about 2 weeks ago. There has not been any change at that point. I took her to Vet and x-rays were taken which showed Arthritis in her back and he diagnosed her with DM. He also said that I should take her to a Neurologist who specializes in this for a second opinion. There would be an MRI done amongst other tests and quite frankly as much as I love my dog, we are talking a bill of most probably close to $2,000. Maybe or maybe not, they may want to do surgery on the back which could cost thousands more.

I have had German Shepherds before and none of them ever had this disease and they all lived until about 11 or 12 yrs old. I read up on this disease which is like MS in humans and there is no cure. All I can try to do, is perhaps slow the progression down. Eventually, the worst scenerio is she becomes paralyzed and has to have a mobile unit, than she can die from a back up of bowell movements etc. Has anyone experienced this with their GS? I have gotten in touch with an Alternative MED Vet who I have used before, as this vet offers cold laser treatments or acupuncture. I have read up on many things. But truthfully, is there really a cure.... Or just prolongment. Any help out there?

Thanks so much

Replied by Kay
(Jacksonville, Fl/usa)

I submitted a post about a week ago about my 9 1/2 year old German Shepherd. She is gradually getting worse in her back legs, as they both seem to collapse. I have made an appointment with a Top well know Vet who specializes in neurology of animals. Especially in DM. The apt is 4 weeks away and other than giving her ACV, Strap Mollasses, vitamin C, Omega 3 Fish Oil tables and etc, there really isn't much I can do. She also has arthritis on her spinal cord. I am looking into getting her the wheel chair for dogs. I am hoping to extend her quality of life for as long as I can. She is still alert and tries her hardest to fetch the ball, with a little tumbling now and then. I know with this disease, this may not be for long.

Any suggestions?

Replied by Kay
(Jacksonville, Fl/usa)

About 6 weeks ago I wrote a note about my German Shepherd having DM. Next week I am taking her to the specialist. In the mean while, thanks to this forum and my research, I have been giving her ACV in her water, fish oil and Blackstrap Molasses. Her disease has not progressed and she seems to be doing better. She does drag one of her legs but otherwise appears well.

My local vet gave us nothing but bad news. "she won't get better"..... In other words just sit back the worst is yet to come. I will write back after I have the diagnosis from the specialist. Who knows.... maybe there is hope...

Replied by Kay
(Jax, Fl/USA)
4 out of 5 stars

Since I last submitted my post about my 9 1/2 yr old GSD Female, I have taken her to a Specialist at the Uf, Dr Clemmons. After reading up on the disease it is similar to MS in humans. You can google Dr. Clemmons and see on line the diet and meds he lists out. We took her on 6/5 and she was kept over night for extensive tests to rule out anything else. It was not a simple blood/DNA test for a few hundred dollars! We did find out that she also has Polyneuropathy (assumed because of age) and multiple IVDD of the spine. So it was more than arthritis more like degenerative disk disease. Apparently she does not appear to be in any pain. We started her on the meds which include multiple vitamins compounded. The great thing about Dr. C he is not only a neurologist but also well studied and certified in both eastern and western medicines. We have started her on the vitamins and her compounded meds. We will gradually start her diet today. She currently has been on a natural commercial dog food which she will be slowly weaned off over the next 2 weeks, Studies show that 85% of the GSD treated under Dr. C, their DM has slowed it's progression and on some the disease has gone into remission. Because our dog, has multiple issues, this may or may not happen. We can only hope that her quality of life improves. We don't expect a miracle, but had we listened to our local vets, their was no hope at all. The dog will within 3-6 months become paralyzed on both hind legs eventually the front legs, order a doggie wheel chair, etc.

This is a disease I knew nothing about(DM) and apparently it is most common in German Shepherds, but does attack other large dogs. I have had two other GSD and never had this issue.

This site has helped me so much as I have been giving my dog cooked carrots, black strap mollases and ACV. We discovered her collapse on her hind legs back in Nov. 2011 and I thought it to be Arthritis or old age. I have been giving her the above after reading on this site. I honestly believe had I not done this, my dog would be in a wheel chair by now.

I will keep you updated on the progress of the DM for those of you who may have this happen to your dog. As far as the Degenerative Disk Disease there doesn't seem to be alot we can do and we are trying to combat one thing at a time.

Replied by Nh Gardener
(Sanbornton, Nh, Usa)

For Kay from Jax, FL for dog with degenerative disc--Please give him food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) with his food dampened with ACV, starting with 1 tsp. DE once a day, increasing gradually to rounded or heaping tsp. 2 X/day. It's great for arthritis-like issues, which apparently degen. Disc is. Good human and pet testimonials at a certain site on internet. I recommend also to give him gently melted coconut oil starting with 1 tsp. in food once a day, increasing slowly to 1 1/2--2 tsps. 2 X/day-- nourishes nerves.

Replied by Nh Gardener
(Small Town, Nh, Usa)

For Kay from Jacksonville re. Dog's degenerative myeloopathy--If she were my dog, I'd give her in addition to the ACV, food grade diatomaceous earth (DE), beginning with 1 tsp. Once a day in her food, increasing gradually to rounded or heaping tsp. 2 X/day. DE absorbs and eliminates toxins from the body. Check internet for sources.

I'd also give her gently melted coconut oil, starting with 1 tsp. Once daily in her food, increasing gradually to 1 or 2 tsps. 2 X/day. It's said to nourish nerves. If she likes it, no need to melt it. I'd also check into the Budwig Diet and Protocol at the Healing Cancer Naturally site. Dr. Budwig said her oil-protein diet of flax oil emulsified with org. Lowfat cottage cheese, heals MS, which also involves the destruction of the myelin sheath. I would use flax oil instead of fish oil, as much of the fish oil in capsules has been shown to be rancid. Dr. Budwig's program is very effective. You'd give your dog 1/2 cup of the emulsified cottage cheese/flax oil mix (the ratio is 2 parts cottage cheese to 1 part flax oil) twice a day. See info and/or video on above mentioned site for important mixing instructions.

I'd also give vegetables as half her food at each feeding--steamed squash or pumpkin, carrots, green beans, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc. Or even sometimes steamed frozen mixed veggies. Finely grated raw carrot and 2 Tbsps. Very finely minced parsley or other green herb every day are recommended. A well known brand of mini food processor for quick and easy daily parsley prep is very helpful.

There's a natural solution for virtually every condition. All good wishes.

Replied by Kay
(Jax, Fl/usa)

Thank you NH Gardener for you input regarding my GSD. My GSD is a complicated case per the specialist I took her to. The DM tests we do not have yet, she has polyneuropathy, degenerative disk disease and on top of that she has high protein levels in her kidneys. The vegetable diet she is on is carrots, broccoli, spinach, etc. To treat DM requires a high protein diet but when there is a kidney issue, this requires a low protein diet. So, there you go! Otherwise, she is still playing, alert and although her back legs wobble and occasional she slips, you wouldn't know anything was wrong with her. I will every now and than keep everyone informed so that if this should happen to your precious pet, you will have read what I wrote.

I am certain which the "specialist" sees the results of the recent urine test showing the extreme high protein levels, he will recommend me to do something else. Sometimes, I wonder if I would have been better off, just giving her the ACV in her water, Black Strap Molasses and staying on her Natural Balance food? Who knows? We only do what think is best and time will tell.

Replied by Netta
(Charleston, SC)

Have you heard about Glucosamine and Chondroitin?

Replied by Kay

Hi Netta, Thank you for the suggestion for DM, however, I have been giving my dog these for years. Apparently it didn't prevent DM, Arthritis, Degenerative Disk Disease and Polyneuropathy which is everything my GSD has. Since I last post, I have been giving her homemade diet and compounded special meds from the Neuro, I took her to. This doc also practices chinese med. My GSD is gradually getting worse. One leg was dragging(typical of DM) and now both rear legs have problems getting up. She is still walking so she is not "down" yet. This terrible disease paralyzes their legs, they appear to have no pain they just loose feeling. Eventually all their strength is put into the front legs which eventually will bring them totally down. I have done a lot of research and joined a group of other owners with dogs with this DM disease. I have learned alot. There is no cure. We can only hope to slow the progression. Thanks for your response, it is appreciated.

Replied by Kay
(Jax,fl, Usa)

A while back I wrote about my German Shepherd who had Degenerative Myleopathy(DM). We tried everything and perhaps in so doing we may have slowed the progression down a little. I am sorry to say, she has passed away. The disease had traveled through her body into her throat where she lost her ability to bark and eventually to drink or eat.

From the time of the onset of the disease it took a little over 2 years. My suggestion for anyone who is considering getting a German Shepherd or Boxer, have a test run for this disease.

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Kay, I am so sorry for your loss :(

Thank you for sharing your journey here. I ditto your advice about asking for the DM test. This is a $65.00 non-invasive DNA test that is something a reputable breeder will already know about and be able to either provide testing history on the prospective parents of their puppies OR the test results for each puppy.

Replied by Maya

Hi guys! Thought I'd share some of my own experience with our diagnosis of DM approximately 6 months ago. Something I've seen that hasn't been mentioned here yet is how to maintain mobility for as long as possible when you're dog's system is slowly shutting down. We're about 6 months into the diagnosis so I'd say we're in the middle stage. Our dog still can get around but has noticeable difficulty doing so - and forget about getting in and out of the car!!

Our vet recommended that we look into buying an rear support harness, you can hold the handle for the brace with the same hand as you hold the leash, and can help to support some of your dog's weight while they walk which makes it easier for them. It also made it possible for me to be able to keep taking her in the car with me when I'm by myself, as alone I couldn't lift her up by myself (she weighs about 80 pounds!!)

I know this is just a temporary "remedy" and not an actual solution, and at some point in the near future it won't work for us anymore, but for the time being it's been a Godsend. Just thought I'd share in case anyone else had heard of using a support harness and was wondering a good one to buy.. or for other people who maybe had never considered this option before!

Replied by Leslie

Hey Maya, where did you buy the harness from? There are so many to choose from it seems overwhelming. We're just recently dealing with this diagnosis and I'm looking into all different treatment options for my pup.. would love to hear about your experience.

Replied by Maya

Hi Leslie. Our harness we bought from Ortocanis, from their online store. There are quite a few on the market to choose from but this one did everything it was supposed to for us.

Replied by June

Our vet recommended "help-em-up harness". We like the quality, cushioning support and two-handle option (that can be separated).

Replied by Ruth
(Buffalo, New York)

My Samoyed, Zeke, wears Solvit support harness. It helps us lift him up and down stairs and does not seem to hurt him. We had to go with a size smaller than recommended for his weight.

I have been looking for a cure for his DM which he has had symptoms of for at least 6 months now. He has had ACV and a variety of other supplements for years . Since the DM, he has laser therapy weekly but I am not so sure it is helping any. He was 14 last June so I guess I should be thank-full he has been with us this long.

Low Dose Naltrexone

Posted by Barb F. (New River, Arizona) on 08/05/2013

Hi, My dog was diagnosed with DM, so my vet thinks. We are not sure, but she has been dragging her right rear foot and crossing her rear legs. I have been reading about LDN and thought I would try it. My vet has never heard about the drug, but he did prescribe it for my Dixie. Dixie has been on it for a week now and I do notice an improvement. If I were you I would try this medicine. Low dose naltrexzone for DM. Do some research on the drug. I am going to continue this as long as possible. Thanks, Barb

Replied by Anton

Where can u get this in the UK?

Remedies for Degenerative Myelopathy

Posted by Irene (United States) on 03/31/2019

I am looking for remedies for my dog with acute degenerative myelopathy. Unfortunately this earthclinic forum on the subject has been cluttered with a looooooooong discussion between several people about breeders. This has nothing or little to do with the subject matter and my dog is suffering. I have read through multiple posts and it's all the same thing, breeders, breeds, puppies and buying from breeders v rescue. Who has time for this? I appreciate they love as do I and are passionate about the subject matter but not if it impedes on dog owners finding the invaluable help they need.

EC: Thank you, Irene. We will clean up that page and delete unnecessary posts this week.