Degenerative Myelopathy - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease involving the spinal cord. It is thought to be an inflammatory, autoimmune disease, variable in its presentation and course, in which the immune system attacks the dog's central nervous system...

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This attack leads to a loss of insulation around the nerve fibers (myelin) and of nerve fibers (axons). 

This disorder affects dogs 5 years of age or older. There is a slowly progressive loss of coordination in the hind limbs, with increasing weakness. This occurs because of deterioration of structures in the spinal cord that are responsible for conduction of nerve impulses (specifically the loss of myelin and degeneration of axons in the white matter). Although the changes may be found anywhere in the spinal cord, they are most severe in the lower back (thoracolumbar) region.

The following breeds have been found to develop the same type of Degenerative myelopathy as that seen in the German Shepherd Dog: Belgian Sheepdog, Old English Sheepdog, Weimaraner, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Labs and possibly the Great Pyreenes. Confirmation of diagnosis in other breeds is very important.

The changes develop slowly and may initially be blamed on hip dysplasia. The first signs are weakness and lack of coordination in the hind limbs, which are more apparent when the dog is walking on a smooth surface. One side may be more severely affected than the other. The condition does not appear to be painful, and dogs retain the ability to control urination and defecation, although as they become progressively weaker they will be unable to move to an appropriate spot or assume the necessary posture.

These signs gradually worsen until the dog is unable to walk, usually several months to a year after the neurologic problems are first noticed.

McDowells Recommendation

The myelin sheet over the spinal cord needs to be repaired and this herbal mix assists this. 

The herbal mix includes Mugwort, Hypericum, Saw Palmetto, Horsetail Elecampane, Parsley and Maritime Pine Bark along with the Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy, Oak, Wild Rose, Scleranthus and Clematis. Together these herbs will strengthen the myelin sheath and support the nerve impulse process.

One of the side effects of Degenerative Myelopathy is incontinence, we provide a specific  incontinence mix to help with this.



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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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