Afghan Hound hereditary myelopathy
Afghan hound hereditary myelopathy (hereditary necrotizing myelopathy and myelomalacia) is an autosomal-recessive genetic disease of the Afghan Hound breed characterized by a rapidly progressive symmetrical paraparesis.
Affected dogs usually present at a young age (under 12 months of age) with a bunny-hop gait which rapidly progresses to paraplegia. Some dogs progress to collapse, respiratory distress and death.
Hematology, diagnostic imaging and CSF analysis are usually unrewarding.
Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical symptoms, breed-predisposition and histological findings of spinal cord tissue.
Histologically, a bilaterally symmetrical vacuolation of the spinal cord is evident with myelin loss confined to white mater, usually affecting most of the spine from the cervical to lower lumber regions. Despite extensive spongiform degeneration of myelin that progressed to micro- and macro-cavitation, substantial numbers of axons are preserved.
A differential diagnosis would include Leigh syndrome, thiamine deficiency, neonatal encephalopathy, L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria and familial cerebellar abiotrophy in Kerry Blue Terriers and Bull Mastiffs.
There is no treatment for this condition, and the prognosis is poor.
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