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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

CDRM help needed

My dog has just been diagnosed with early stages of CDRM and I've been doing some research on this horrible disease and I managed to find an article you did online but it's low res and hard to read... is there anyway I could get a copy as a PDF or image to read as I think it would be really helpful for me and my dog Elle.
She is a cross Alsatian Lab. She's 12 and has been slowing down a bit ... we put it down to her age. But we took her to the vets the other day as she cut her paw. He did a simple test, by turning the paw over and said shes got CDRM. Initially i was relieved it wasn't arthritis... but after Googling it ...I wish it was! I became aware just how horrible it can be. Am aware it's not curable, but will try anything to slow it down! Am taking her to hydrotherapy and would even consider homoeopathy or acupuncture! So i would be interested in any info about CDRM or treatments.
Plus any ideas where I can get boots to protect my dog from scraping her paws?
Many thanks
Andy Jackson

Poor Elle, CDRM is a terrible condition. We heard recently that there is now a DNA test available for this, but it doesn't seem to be widely used.
Our article on CDRM was in the December 2007 edition, we've sent Andy a copy of the article but a limited number of that magazine is available as back issues.
Can anyone who has been through this help advise Andy the best things to do?
Beverley Cuddy - Editor

Check out this link which gives links to the CDRM DNA test. Plus there's mention of a drug that is currently only used for humans that would seem to be possibly helpful - but very expensive.


  1. My 'GSD-based' mongrel was diagnosed with this at about the same age. I found it progressed very slowly compared to what I read for pure GSDs. When he was 13 I installed a ramp on my car so he could get in without being lifted as he couldn't jump that high any more, and he couldn't manage long walks any more but we still went out and about for shorter periods.

    Be careful with hydrotherapy, make sure you get a really thorough health check - I took my dog to two sessions just before he was 14 and it was too much for his heart - after the first sesson he started fainting on walks and the vet let me believe it was just his legs giving out briefly so I took him to the second session - he died a few days later.

    I would seriously consider her quality of life, rather than quantity.

    Best of luck to you, and love to your dog.

  2. Here from Twitter! Acupuncture is definitely worth a try - have seen good results, if not a complete cure then halting the progression of the disease. Not sure where you are but I can personally recommend vets Richard Allport (London and Potters Bar) and Rachel Foster (North Devon) for acupuncture. I am currently looking after a German Shepherd with the same condition who has responded well - and loved -hydrotherapy; again, not as cure but to ease pain and increase mobility.

  3. Oh yes, like Mina I would also recommend using a ramp (although they vary in durability and quality). Brilliant for older, especially larger, dogs and any dogs with mobility problems. And I'd second her advice to get a health check before taking your dog to hydrotherapy sessions.

  4. Beverley, wasn't there a series of articles in Dogs Today about a dog with CDRM - I think his name was Max?

  5. Hi Mina,
    Thanks for the message/advice. Thankfully, Elle was thoroughly checked out by the vet before hand and only did 2 minutes. They are intending to build it a minute at a time. But i'll definitely be weary of her overdoing it. If you dont mind me asking, you said your dog was about 12 when diagnosed. And he lasted a further 2 years afterwards! How was he on his feet at 14? What were the first signs? The worn nails and weak back legs? I've noticed elle isn't the best in the morning...its almost like when shes walked about abit, she's better. Sorry for the questions, just want to get as much info on this horribe disease so i can make her life as comfortable as possible.

    Many thanks Andy & Elle

  6. Buster had spondylosis as well, so not sure exactly which symptoms were that or CDRM (apparently the CDRM stopped the pain from the spondylosis, I don't have a record of the date he was diagnosed with CDRM but it was about the same time), but here's a quick timeline.

    Autumn/winter 05 (12 and a half years old) - back end 'dips' when I groom him at the same place every time.
    Jan 06 (12) limping on back legs, walks became shorter.
    Mar 06 (12) - back end 'gone' overnight, could barely walk. Spondylosis diagnosed where he was 'dipping'. Ramp was custom built for him and my vehicle.
    May 06 (13) Symptoms worsening, back paws not turning back when tested - I'd noticed this on a beach - scrape lines from his nails in the sand. (This must be the CDRM diagnosis)
    Aug 06 (13) back end goes while scavenging under a picnic table, collapses briefly.
    Jan 07 (still 13) from my diary at the time:

    "His back legs are slowly becoming about as useful as a chocolate teaspoon, but he's not in any pain - he has barely any feeling there. One day (probably not too many months from now) his back legs will in effect be dead to the rest of his body - already they suffer from bad circulation, they're cold and it's hard to find a pulse. When he walks he scrapes the top of his feet on the ground, his back legs are often crossed when he's standing, he walks sideways, especially after waking up and sometimes when he stands one or other of his back feet doesn't turn over properly and his foot rests upside down on its knuckles. He can't stand for long without his back end slowly sinking to the ground, can't turn around suddenly and can't walk backwards anymore. He simply cannot feel properly, or control easily, that end of his body any more."

    He couldn't go out for walks anymore after that as he couldn't keep his back end up. He was able to hold his water and control his bowels.

    Vet said heart and lungs strong, so we tried hydrotherapy twice over a fortnight, the idea was that at least he'd get out of the house. After the second session (literally less than a minute in the pool) he was diagnosed with a dodgy heart valve (was also told his liver and kidneys weren't working properly either) so after one night at the vet I demanded to bring him home. He passed away, on his own, in my arms, where he belonged, less than 30 minutes later.

    My only consolation was that the CDRM was progressing at such a rate, and with organs shutting down, he may have been with us only a few more months.

    He was two months shy of 14, so from the timeline it was around a year, rather than two years.

    Now if you don't mind I'm going to my bedroom to cry my eyes out.

  7. Hi Mina, I'm so sorry this brought it all back. Hope your ok. Andy

  8. I've just been told by my doggie chiro that my Collie X GSD (who incidentally is a replica of yours) has the early stages of this, as well as mild arthritis in her front legs. I'm totally gutted by this news and know nothing about CDRM. Can someone direct me to some decent information?

  9. Hi Lucy i'm so sorry to hear this. If you give me your email address i can send you a really good article.

  10. there is a very good yahoo group for degenerative myelopathy (cdrm). Loads of really nice people who are extremely knowledgeable on the condition

  11. Yes there is a test availalbe but this is only to prove your dog or bitch does not carry the gene.
    Further information is available at the GSD INFORMATION GROUP.
    Regards the breeding it only is confirmation that your animal does not carry the gene you the have to find anoth which has also been tested.

  12. as anyone got any ideas about dogs going blind i have 2 jack russells my oldest one had an operation on her eyes & its given her a bit of sight but she as had alot of drops & she is now having trouble in one eye with ulcers in her eye ,now the younger one is blind & i dont know if i should put her thro what the older one as gone thro ????

  13. My 7 year old GSD has been diagnosed with CDRM I thought it was his hips at first, but after x-rays which showed perfect hips for GSD, the vet confirmed his first diagnosis.

  14. Hi all I have a female GSD who is eight, our vet diagnosed her with CDRM earlier this year.

    We desperately need more information on this awfull disease and would be very grateful if any of you could offer help or advice.

    It started when we noticed her limping and at first we thought she had hurt her paw, after checking her out we saw there was no sign of an injury.
    The limp became worse so we took her to the vet and after some tests they advised that they suspected CDRM but also said they needed to x-ray her to be sure. After the x-ray they confirmed it was CDRM and when we took her home I had to carry from the car. The vet did warn us that she would be worse for a while becuse of the effects of being sedated. Gradually over the next few weeks she became worse. Now when she walks she drags both legs behind her, however when she passes urine she seems to be able to move her hind legs into a crouched position. She does wobble when doing this. Another thing we have noticed is that when she barks she sounds as though she has a sore throat. Naturally we have tried different medication but it doesn't seem to help. Also we know that her legs still work because she moves when you tickle her stomach.
    We also have another GSD who is her brother and he shows no signs of the disease or any other health problems.

    If any of you have information or advice please email it to me


  15. My GSD Sarek, who is now 10 has now been diagnosed with CDRM. My father is all doom and gloob about the disease, saying 'he's not long for this world, we should put him out of his misery'. But I feel quite the opposite. CDRM, as terrible as a degenerative ddisease it is, is apparently non painful. Sure he wears down his back nails to bleeding point, and he falls over. But he doesn't show any signs of pain, and when he feels like it, he can quite happily chase a squirrel in the garden without falling over.

    I know its sad and its depressing to see the dog crossing his legs and falling over himself, but it is somewhat comforting that it isn't painful and he's not suffering in pain, else I would have done the best thing for him and put him to sleep.

    He, I feel, is still in the relatively early stages as he still turns his feet over.

    I'm not trying to negate anyone on this blog or anything, I just want to let everyone know that even though it is a terrible disease, the majority of the time the dog doesn't suffer in pain, and thats my high point.

    I also thought about acupuncture but I'm not entirely sure if the results are consistent.

  16. I just came across this blog and enjoyed the love,affection and concern displayed by everyone. Our German Short Hair "Tag" is about 18yrs and has been showing signs of CDRM for a couple of years, his vet said he was in the first stages and we started him on "fish oil" and massage and we use a vibrator with heat and I even give him a leg massage when he's ready to come in from outside, so far so good, but this evening his right foot was dragging more then usual so it's that time to look to a boot to protect the foot, but he still runs and climbs into a chair, he's very active for his age but I see that accupuncture has been mentioned here and it's worth looking into because Tag's health otherwise is excellent even for 18
    Thanks to all

  17. ok...long story cut short.... gsd just turned 9....last feb had booster vacs...march had a 'serious' prob following me up stairs;stopped on middle; was in incredible pain[i'd never heard him in pain b4!!] phoned out of hrs vets; they said bring him in ;now'! i/we couldn't move him off stairs for love nor him down after an hr bribing him with food! he was limping with left leg.... i slept on sofa with him by my side; after 4 hrs he ran up stairs and slept on my bed!!!
    Took him to vets next day... he was normal to said he had an 'unusual' gait; they put him on rimadyl; within the wk he was drawing blood from his toenails....they took xrays within a month;slight arthritis in left hip;since then....vets really didn't want to know; after the xrays 'cause of the anaesthetic; and steroids they put him on... he really got worse! booked for an mri....but i stupidly stopped it; thinking the anaesthetic would probably make matters soo much worse!
    since then...tried 'everything' name it...i've tried it! of late... he's clicking big time; back & legs;he 'runs' around like a seal dragging and making his legs bleed; spends most of the time licking his wounds! He 'still' climbs the stairs; although sometimes he 'gives up' and runs/falls back down again; although he's a willful little bugger; he won't give up! Thank god!!
    heart-stopping moments!!!
    He's not incontinent....although when i hold his tail up....clicking sounds...he runs marathons in his sleep with his back legs; when i wipe them, he kicks like a horse! i always thought cdrm was paralysis of back end; he's got soo much muscle wastage there....but i'm still thinking it's not....he's in no ob. it can't be arthritis? i know an mri 'might' just solve this...or prob. not! I really don't wanna put him through all that again....
    can anyone help?

  18. DEar Wynter,

    I took our 8 years old GSD for 5 treatments of acupunture but it has failed to help him at all.
    Just making his life comfortable for him now and have to accept that there is little/no more we can do for him.
    Wife and I have made a scarf with loops either end so we can walk him along his favourite path with the scarf supporting him at the rear....very tiring for us though !!

  19. i have a rottweiler bitch who is 7. vets said she wouldnt be long lived due to all her joint and mobility 2 years old she had had both anterior cruciates done, she never developed much cartilage on her shoulders so was always going lame. she has really shallow hips. she has a hydrotherepy session each week and i believe this is what has kept her going. she is fitter now then when she was at 2. she is in and out of car, keeps up with my other dogs. hydrotherepy is fantastic for any dogs, it really helps to keep muscle tone and joints well supported. not sure it will have any affect on cdrm cause this is something that affects the nerves but anything is worth a try.

  20. Anon, I Have a GSD With CDRM and i have made some boots out of a bicycle inner tube and velcro. Hope this helps, lasts much longer than any boots we have brought

  21. Update from March 12, 2011 on our German short hair "TAG" I mentioned at that time I was looking for a boot/shoe for him to protect his paws from dragging and what I found and for the price just wasn't worth it, so I contacted a relative who is at this time paying a debt to society and is into leather crafts and also into their dog program and he told me that he already crafted a boot for an older dog that had come in for possible adoption and had CDRM and after crafting the boot he noticed improvement in the legs and they were able to proceed with the adoption of the old dog and people were pleased with their new pet, I've sent an outline of Tags foot and partial leg and now just waiting for the boots. I will post results of fit and performance at a later date.

  22. Having spent the past eight to nine years swimming dogs, I have treated dogs of all ages, sizes and conditions. In June 2011, I had nine swims booked in for the day. Four of these dogs were German shepherd dogs all suffering from CDRM.

    One of the GSD’s I was swimming on the day was named Kiezer. When I first met Kiezer, five weeks prior, I had measured his back legs. His measurements were 51 cm on one leg and 47 cm on the other. 10 swims later begin today, I again measured him at the start of his session and his measurements had increased to 57cm on each leg. All the same - even though his muscles had grown, his back legs were still swaying when walking – this is very common on dogs suffering from CDRM.

    Kiezer is a dog that is full of life and to take his life away would just be wrong. Fortunately this is exactly how the owner felt.

    I felt there was something I had to do to help this dog. I thought about supplements, but, unfortunately knew nothing about this.

    That’s when it came to me. A special type of harness that would help support him and allow him to carry on his daily activities. I researched the Internet for days to see if anything existed. There were some basic ones, which would help support him, however as with evolution – things grow and improve with time. In evolution terms, this harness is the equelivent of jumping from fish straight to the human stage.

    The harness is designed to help dogs suffering from:

    · Hips dysplasia,
    · Arthritis,
    · Helping to avoid bowed legs in the giant breed dogs
    · Elbow dysplasia,
    · CDRM in German shepherd dogs,
    · Mobility in old age,
    · Curiate ligament injuries,
    · Lifting in and out of cars,
    · Helping up and down the stairs
    · And lots more uses……

    I would be happy to answer any questions, but can not on too much here about the design – please feel free to visit my website on or call me on the number listed on my website.

  23. My GSD Tara has just been diagnosed with CDRM. I am gutted. She is pure bred and has only just turned 9 years old.I had never heard of the condition and when I took her to the vet last Friday I thought it was more likely to be arthritis. Does anyone know if having an anesthetic can bring it on more quickly? She had various tests carried out recently (transpires she has Cushions disease) and they knocked her out to enable further tests to be carried out. Reason I ask is that up to then she was walking fine (was about 2 months ago) - I thought her poor movement initially was because the anesthetic was still wearing off! I am planning on hydrotheraphy - how often should she go and are there any other home remedies anyone can recommend. I may not have her for much longer but I am going to enjoy her and let her enjoy life for as long as possible.

  24. Hi my name is kathy

    I had a gsd named holly and she was diagnosed with cdrm at 8.3/4 I had a young vet named Andy Skinner who helped me prolong holly,s life for 3 year. There is a web site: link degenarative Myellopathy r.m.clemmons. 80% success rate
    It initially cost me around £400. over a 10week period its hard work you have to adminster solutions vitamins and change diet. aerobic exercise every other day this does not mean swimming good walks exercising the back legs like bike exercises. holly showed signs of improvement after 3 weeks she was then back on her own 4 feet. worth a try .Anesthetic was the reason for hollys onset.

  25. I have a 11yr old GSD Harry, he is a wonderful dog, he's so loving especially with my children. We've been told today that he's suffering with CDRM and I'm devastated.
    Harry seems to be quite late on in the progression of the disease ( been going back and forth to vet for last two years for what we thought was some sort of arthritic problem), he's very wobbly and has started becoming incontinent, pooing in the house which he has never done before. The vet's told me he's not in pain and I believe him, the vet's also told me that this can go on for years, which whilst I'm happy to pay for his treatment, I'm really concerned about Harry's wellbeing mentally and also the traumatising effect it will possibly have on my children, they don't see him as 'the pet', they see him as a sibling.
    I'm really in a dilemma, I love my Harry dearly and I dont want to lose him, but how far do I let him go before I have to make the biggest decision of my life?
    Somebody talk sense to me.

    1. Hi, have you considered a set of dogwheels, as my dog has nerve damage in his spine, and poos by accident sometimes, cause he cant get up, but as my vet says, he is an otherwise strong and happy dog, at 12 years old, after all you wouldnt put a person down if they couldnt walk, would you? Linda.

  26. We have just found out that our 11 yr old GSD, has got CDRM. After two years of visits back and fore to the vet, Harry was being treated initially with some sort of arthritic condition. Recently he's become very wobbly and struggles just getting around my house, sadly though he's becoming incontinent and whilst it's not an incredible inconvenience, dog faeces is tricky with a 19 month old and other children running around the house.
    Harry is an amazing pet, we've been lucky, he's an amazing companion for myself and my family and whilst I'm more than happy to continue to pay for his treatment indefinitely, what about my poor Harry's quality of life? What about my children, who don't see him a's the family pet but more like their sibling? I'm in such a dilemma, I swear my heart is braking, somebody talk sense into me!!!!! Sarah x

  27. My 7 year old GSD, Herbie, has been diagnosed with CDRM, he also has hip dysplasia, arthritis and spondylosis. The vet says he's not in pain, but watching him dragging his back end around, trying to be a normal dog, is excrutiating. I don't want to have him put to sleep but can't see another way out of it. He is perfectly normal, otherwise, eating normally and playing. He has been on metacam, before the really severe symptoms kicked in, then rimadyl and tramadol, now a combination of tramadol and prednidale. Our vet has been amazing but she has warned us that he probably only has a few months left. He's due back on 25th Jan and then it's decision time. I'm totally horrified at how lightning fast this awful disease has progressed, and would urge all responsible breeders of GSD's to start testing for this disease as well as the usual GSD afflictions.

  28. Just put our White GSD down today :(
    She would be 13 in March. We never got an official diagnosis - but we figured out what was going on by researching online.
    She had all the classic symptoms - crossed back paws, sideways walking etc. She also started pooing in the house - which wasn't her fault because she seemed to get no warning she needed to go. She could be fast asleep and her tail would just life and she would wake up with fright trying desperately to get out in time. Other times she might have just been outside - and been in maybe 10 - 20 seconds - when she suddenly had to run out to poo. We are aware it has maybe been 6 months since we have seen her wag her tail, but the tail still moves with instinct things - she for instance was using it to help her balance - though how it helped I don't know as she was turning it in the direction she wanted to go - instead of the opposite direction :/
    Recently however in the last month we noticed that she has been leaving wet patches where she has been lying - and this has caused her an extreme amount of distress because she has always been a clean dog - and she can smell that it is her wee but she has no idea how it got there.
    She lost an amazing amount of weight over the last year - and her muscles on her hind legs are now existent.
    She was only able to stand because she was using her extraordinary strong front shoulders to pull her upright.
    We took the decision that we would prefer her to go now before she loses the ability to get up at all - that would cause her too much distress. She had clearly been hanging on as long as she could because she went very very quickly at the vets. The vet said it was just as well we didn't leave it too much longer or her circulation in her hind legs would have basically been gone.

    As far as we can tell - she didn't have any pain with her backend. With hindsight we now suspect that her brother who went almost 2 years ago - had the same disease - but rather than affecting his spinal cord it affecting his brain stem - resulting in what were believed to be epileptic fits his entire life. But unlike normal fits - he never lost conciousness - until the last day - aged 11. The vet thought it might of been a brain tumor as he didn't fit between the age of 8 and his final fit at the age of 11 and 1 week. But having done the research and found that CDRM is hereditary and can affect either the spine or the brain - it seems more likely he probably had CDRM affecting his brain.

    So... we are now dogless, the end of a 21yr family from Mother, Father, Son, Daughter.
    I had never heard of CDRM until shortly before xmas - and I'd really rather not hear of it again. At least though there is comfort in knowing it did not cause her any pain.

  29. I lost my GSD last year 2011 due to heart problems, he was 13, he had been diagnosed with CDRM 2009, we used the Clemmons program with the support of an Holistic vet, it's not for the faint hearted but it worked for Arnie and if I had another dog diagnosed I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

  30. sarah from wales20 March 2012 at 15:44

    Would had considered dogwheels, but unfortunately my dog passed away 3 days after diagnosis. Our vet told us we had years left with our Harry, as you can imagine our loss was unbearable and I am still furious with the vet for giving us false hope.
    We have since rescued another GSD, and found anothet vet!!!

  31. I have found thoughout 30 yrs of owning dogs never take the words of vets as gospel. Two yrs ago my GSX was said to have CDRM I didn't accept this, because a month earlier I found a brown tick on him (and it had been on him for a few days because it was as big as a baked bean). Even though I told her that he was fine before the tick she still said it was CDRM. Dutch has had hydro, accupunture, fresh food and vitamins. And this was in MidWales Borth. I am so sorry to hear about Harry.

  32. Chris From Wales 8/5/2012
    I have just returned from the vets. Were my 4yr old GSD Zoe was booked in for her one month check up after being diagnosed with crusial ligament tare in her left hind leg. My Husband & I have gradually been strenthening the joints/ ligaments using massage & Hydrotherapy. However today are vet has not ruled out CDRM due to are GSD hind quarters muscle waistage & shortening of the hair and nails on her hind paws. We are to continue HYdrotherapy & excersise keeping a visual for any further signs. So I have rushed home to look CDRM up on the net and have been moved to tears by the diagnostic ailments, she will eventaully go through if she has CDRM, which unfortunately her behaviour,& the way she mobelizes points towards. I have read your comments and supporting remadies and can only hope she will continue to have some quality of life for many years more!.

  33. Hello All.
    Just an update from a couple of previous post of 12 Mar 2011 and
    27 july 2011 Our German Short Hair Tag is still going strong even though his CDRN has advanced some, we tried the boots and he won't keep them on his nails are worn on both back paws but he still gets around mostly on his own unless he sleeps wrong then he needs help taking his first few steps and on occasion we find him laying in the yard and he needs help. Our last trip to the Vet was a good report for a twenty year old dog with CDRN still using massage and fish oil his heart and other organs are working good and the Vet was very surprised at Tags over all condition. So we'll keep doing what 's needed and he'll let us know when it's time for him to move on

  34. Andy from Derby 2/7/2012

    We lost our GSD to CDRM last year. It was so heartbreaking to see him go from a fit and very active dog to one that had to be helped to visit the garden. He was 8 yrs 6 months when he started to present the early symptons, scraping of back claws, drawing blood and the odd stagger. We took him to our vets who performed the bent over paw test and it confirmed that it was a nurological problem - I will be honest and state that I suspected it might be CDRM having read up the symptons. The vet stated that it could be a couple of other problems - disc etc but unlikely. He referred us to a specialist vetrinarian centre for an MRI scan on his spine to rule out spinal damage. If I had known what was to follow I would have never embarked on this course of action. I admitted my dog for the test's at the centre and returned later on that night to be told they thought he might have cancer in his rear hock and that they had used the MRI to scan his leg instead of his back. Furthermore they then wanted to sedate him again to scan that the 'cancer' had not spread to his lungs and other vital organs - the scan proved clear. They took biop's of his bone and we had to wait an anxious 6 weeks to find out that it was all clear - we suspected that this was the case. But, in all that time we were not allowed to exercise him other than a 5 minute walk around the garden on a lead, we were even advised against hydrotherapy during this time. I did notice that after all the sedation/anasthetics his problems with walking became more pronounced. We were then persuaded to return for him to have his original MRI scan. I wish we hadn't. We knew in our hearts what the diagnosis would be. Having another anasthetic made his walking even worse and I am convinced that this accelerated his condition. The MRI proved to be clear which left the diagnosis of CDRM. The vet at the centre stated that at least it wasn't cancer and that we might end up with a dog that might walk funny!
    We tried hydrotherapy but did not notice any improvements. We bought a harness on the net that supported his rear which helped to walk him. Then we bought a set of wheels which gave him a new lease of life walking around the country park. Eventually he completely lost the use of his hind legs and he started to become incontinent. We then made the heart breaking decision to end his suffering. I don't believe that he was in any pain at any time.
    So if your Vet suspects that it might be CDRM, I would avoid putting your dog through sedation/anasthetics/investigations/MRI's etc unless your dog has suffered a spinal injury in its life - these procedures really did affect our dogs condition.
    Apologies for any spelling mistakes and for going on but I thought it might help other people whose dog may be suffering this awful condition with their dog.
    I would stick to what other people here suggest- hopefully one day they may find a proven treatment for it.

  35. Hi Everyone
    I’m just looking for a bit of guidance from those of you who have gone through this terrible disease.
    We have two GSDs, brothers, aged 9 years. One of them showed signs of CDRM about a year ago, crossing his back legs, scraping his foot when walking, etc – all of which have been described above. He gradually got worse and it was finally diagnosed by the vet in January this year. Since then we have coped with him, at first taking him for short walks, but his back legs became weaker and weaker until they finally gave up. He has nothing left in them now and hasn’t been able to stand up on his own for the last 2 months. Basically he just lies around in the house all day and we have devised a long sling to put under him and carry him out into the garden. He lays there until he has done his duty and then he is carried back in. More often than not he has laid in his mess and out comes the bucket to clean him up. If he is left in the house on his own and he can’t hold it in then the mess is in the house, which clearly upsets him as he has always been such a clean dog.

    He is a very long haired GSD and at the last weigh in at the vets was 56kg (almost 9 stone) so you can imagine how hard it is to move him anywhere. Having said all that, he doesn’t seem to be in any pain at all and enjoys being with us. We have even bought a set of mobility wheels to see if he can get along with them, but he just gets stressed out so it’s not worth carrying on with them.

    I don’t know how long we (I) can carry on like this, or how long he will carry on and I have suggested to my husband that we get the vet in, but he won’t hear of it because he knows that the vet will say there is nothing to be done and we must let him go. But I am questioning his quality of life. Obviously he was such an active dog, and when my husband takes the other one out for a walk he just howls and stresses himself out the whole time they are gone.

    And now on top of this, his brother is showing the first signs himself, so I know we will have to go through it all again soon.

    I have read that dogs with this disease can go on for years and to have them put down is just a convenience for the owners.

    1. It's true my Tag a German Short Hair (post of 26 June 2012) has had CDRN for a number of years and just in the past week his back legs got weaker but also he's 20yrs old and going by 7 to 1 scale of age to humans he's 140 and I expect him to get weak. But I did take the boots I purchased for him that he wouldn't keep on and modified them with small plastic clips that you find on back packs and outdoor equipment and sewed on into the toe and the other about half way up the boot so when he has it on I snap it and it bends the toes into the up position and they don't bend under, the boot becomes very rigid and it does help his walk some what and no more bleeding nails or pads, but I follow and do help him a couple of times each trip out, but his time is coming and much is because of old age and CDRN second. My heart goes out to everyone posting here and hope you have as much quality time with your four legged family member as possible

    2. Since my post of August 5 2012 above and post June 26 2012 CDRM hit my German Short Hair like someone it a switch he was okay Wednesday and by Friday morning he was down and couldn't walk at all or stand and the muscle in his legs felt like a wet sponge, we took him in but the vet said the CDRM and his age 20 yrs old there wasn't anything more to do except allow him to leave with dignity so yesterday morning at 9am we put my friend to rest, he will be missed but the memories of us afield for quail and pheasants will be with me til the end. I hope a cure will soon be found for CDRM it's a terrible disease for are four legged friends

  36. it depends on the dog. One of mine had this for two years (until having and anaesthetic) and then her legs just 'went.' My current beloved boy has only just showed signs of it four weeks ago, but now is almost immobile. Heartbreaking. I don't think any dog lover would put their pet down just for convenience though. More like they don't want their friend to suffer

  37. Ive just bought the harness from Dogaids. Its a god send. Thank you for the suggestion in the earlier post.

  38. suzanna atkinson15 August 2012 at 03:18

    Gosh, so many stories I can relate to.

    As above, my Murphy (full GSD) was diagnosed two years ago and had been getting along fine until an anaesthetic last Thursday - today he is walking like he is drunk and fell down the stairs twice. I am in pieces. I had no idea an anaesthetic could bring on the symptoms and the vet certainly didn't mention it.

    I have noticed recently that his breathing seems a bit more laboured, maybe the anaesthetic has just made all the underlying conditions come to the surface a bit quicker. I am so grateful for the extra two years we've had since diagnosis but I don't have the words to express my pain at what I know the coming weeks will bring... someone should set up a branch of Cruise to deal with the loss of a beloved best, furry friend. He is my world, my loyal companion and saved my life more times than anyone could ever know.


  39. Have a look at this website: It looks perfect for CDRM

  40. Can anyone help me? I want to buy a harness for my Great Dane with CDRM. Has anyone used the Dogaid harness or Help'em up harness? I cannot decide which one might be best.