Screening Scheme Description

DNA test - DM
Degenerative Myelopathy

Details about the disease

This disease is a result of the deterioration of structures in the spinal cord that are responsible for transmission of nerve impulses. Although the changes may be found anywhere in the spinal cord, they are most severe in the lower back.

Clinical signs

The disease has an onset typically between 7 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The disease is chronic and progressive, resulting in paralysis.

How it is inherited?

DM is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. A recessive mutation that is linked with this disease has been identified. There is evidence that having two copies of this gene (one inherited from the mother and one from its father) is strongly associated with the development of DM. However, having two copies of the recessive mutant gene does not necessarily result in clinical disease and similarly an absence of the gene is not a guarantee that the condition will not occur.

• Two copies of the normal gene (“Clear”/ homozygous normal) – your dog will be at a significantly reduced risk of becoming clinically affected.

• One copy of the mutant gene (“carrier”/ heterozygous) – your dog will be at a reduced risk of becoming clinically affected.

• Two copies of the mutant gene (“affected”/homozygous affected) – it is thought that your dog may be at a greater risk of becoming clinically affected.

Which laboratories test for this condition?

A list of laboratories and DNA tests can be found at the following link

How to responsibly breed from your DNA tested dog

If, once your dog is DNA tested, you would like to find out what their DNA test results mean, or how to select the right mate to avoid producing affected puppies, then please read our breeding advice and information on the following link

How to find out if a potential mate has been DNA tested

The Kennel Club’s “Health Test Results Finder” allows you to find the results of DNA tests carried out as part of official Kennel Club DNA testing schemes for any dog on the Kennel Club’s breed register. To access this free health tool, please follow this link


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