Degenerative Myelopathy Remedies

| Modified on Apr 05, 2023
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

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4 star (1) 

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 Robi (Connecticut, US) on 01/04/2015

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...

Aminocaproic Acid
Posted by Mr Bond (London, Uk) on 11/02/2012

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 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 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.


Garlic, Ginger

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5 star (1) 

Posted by Angela (Lake City, Usa) on 11/21/2010

Dr. Clemmons-a famous UF vet. has recommended giving 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 Degenerative 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 of experience with dogs.

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 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!

Replied by Neill

Angela or anyone who knows another current email for her, please send Neillien at hotmail.c

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

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4 star (2) 

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)

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.

Low Dose Naltrexone

1 User Review
4 star (1) 

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

Rear Support Harness

4 User Reviews
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Posted by Maya (Connecticut) on 04/18/2016

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.

Replied by Lynn

An idea for a very cheap solution to harness. We have had giant breeds with back leg issues. We would put an old belt of my husband's around their middle. They just always wore it. Same color as dog, hardly noticeable. Wider better for large dogs and snug enough they can urinate without hitting it. But we used this for a handle to help them up. But they could walk after that. We now have a Pyrenees wearing one.