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?

The disease is believed to be an autosomal-recessive condition. This means that dogs that inherit two copies of an DM gene mutation (one from its mother and one from its father) will have an increased risk of developing the condition.

This disease is not fully understood and it is believed that environmental factors or other genetic influences can also contribute to whether a dog becomes affected. Having other factors that influence whether or not a dog is affected by this condition means that having two copies of the recessive mutant gene does not necessarily always result in clinical disease and similarly an absence of the gene is not a guarantee that the condition will not occur.

About this test

Since other factors can influence whether a dog becomes affected by this condition, unlike most other DNA tests, this test evaluates a dog’s risk of developing the disease, rather than giving a definitive result.

Which laboratories we record and publish the results from?

To find out which laboratories The Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which laboratories will send results directly to The Kennel Club, please refer to our website.

Please be aware, The Kennel Club has a set of criteria that we request DNA testing laboratories to meet to enable us to record their results, helping to maintain and protect the integrity of results that appear on a dog’s record. We strongly advise that customers ensure their chosen laboratory is included on our list if they wish The Kennel Club to record and publish the results. Results from laboratories not included on this list will not be recorded.

Breeding advice and what your dog's results mean

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 DNA testing information.

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 The Kennel Club's official DNA testing schemes for any dog on The Kennel Club’s Breed Register.