Progressive myelopathy

From Cow
Progressive myelopathy in a calf, presenting with hind-limb weakness and ataxia

Progressive myelopathy is an autosomal recessive congenital disease of cattle, primarily seen in Murray Grey cattle[1].

Clinically affected calves present with signs of progressive ataxia from birth. Global neuronal degeneration is observed in both the peripheral and central nervous system.

Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs augmented with histological analysis of biopsied muscle, brain and spinal cord. The typical histopathological findings are degenerative lesions in spinal white matter and neuronal chromatolysis in red nucleus, spinal grey matter and various nuclei of the medulla oblongata and cerebellum[2].

A differential diagnosis would include other congenital neuropathies such as:

There is no treatment for this condition and severely affected calves are usually euthanized.


  1. Edwards JR et al (1988) Inherited progressive spinal myelinopathy in Murray Grey cattle. Aust Vet J 65(4):108-109
  2. Richards RB & Edwards JR (1986) A progressive spinal myelinopathy in beef cattle. Vet Pathol 23(1):35-41