Degenerative Myelopathy [DM] is a progressive neurologic disorder in the bone marrow, it is related to MS and ALS in humans. In the case of DM, the nerves in the bone marrow will be progressivly weakened and eventually die. As a result the use of the muscles will be disoriented. Symptoms are a loss of coordination, and incontinency. In the end the brain will be affected as well, and other vital functions will eventually shut down. This disease is seen in dogs between six and ten years old.
DM is known since 1973, but the disease has been under the radar for a long time. Vets are not very well known with this disorder, and it is difficult to diagnose. Symptoms are almost identical to cardiac diseases, Spondolyoses, tumors, hernia cystes etc. The only way to reliably prove the dog died from DM, is to do a post mortem autopsy. Nowadays there has been more research, and lately more attention is being paid to DM in breederclubs.
There is a DM-DNA test available. We think these DNA tests are important so we can monitor the outcome. The test can give the following results:
1. Homozygote Normal 0-0, this dog is free from genetic mutation, but this is no guarantee the dog will not develop DM, but the change is smaller;
2. Heterozygote 0-1, this dog is a carrier of the genetic mutation, and will have slightly higher chance of developing DM;
3. Homozygote 1-1, this dog is positive and has 2 genemutations, this means the dog has the highest chance of developing DM, but this is not guaranteed.
These DM test results are meant to give breeders more info about the risk of genetic mutations in breeding, because these mutations are proven to be inherited.
In this way it is possible to prevent DM 1-1 for Wheatens in the near future, and keep the breed free of DM.
We think DNA tests are important so we can monitor the outcome of these tests. That is why we made the following agreements:
Testing the stud and bitch on DM with the DNA test will be manditory before use in breeding, unless the used mated is free off DM.
The result of the test will be published.