It is caused by missense mutations in the superoxide dismutase (SOD1) gene, which leads to muscle atrophy due to progressive denervation as a result of axonal degeneration and demyelination.
Clinically affected dogs present with progressive ataxia, inconctinence and hemiparesis and paralysis.
A differential diagnosis would include spinal cord injuries, vertebral osteomyelitis, syringomyelia, osteochondromatosis, various causes of peripheral neuropathy, meningoencephalitis and [osteochondroma]].
A definitive diagnosis requires PCR-based gene testing.
There is no known treatment for this condition.
- Wininger FA et al (2011) Degenerative myelopathy in a Bernese Mountain Dog with a novel SOD1 missense mutation. J Vet Intern Med 25(5):1166-1170
- Shelton GD et al (2012) Degenerative myelopathy associated with a missense mutation in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene progresses to peripheral neuropathy in Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Boxers. J Neurol Sci 318(1-2):55-64
- Tsai KL et al (2012) Genome-wide association studies for multiple diseases of the German Shepherd Dog. Mamm Genome 23(1-2):203-211