September 04, 2020 4 min read

Has your dog been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy?  There are many things that you can do to help your dog feel much better.  Most vets may prescribe your dog medications to help them feel better, but you can also use CBD oil to help your dog who has Degenerative Myelopathy. 

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is cannabidiol and is found in the hemp plants.  Unlike what some people may think CBD does not contain any THC.  THC is the chemical that is found in marijuana that is responsible for the euphoric state.  CBDinteracts with the endocannabinoid system in the brain to produce a variety of effects on the body.  It is used to treat a variety of issues, both mental and physical.

When looking for CBD products for your dog, you will want to find one that has CO2 extraction, as this produces the best results and the highest quality oils.  Since there are many different ways that CBD can be harvested, the purer the product usually means, the higher the price point. Once CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, it produces a variety of effects, including:

  • Reduced joint inflammation
  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Decreases Stress
  • Higher appetite
  • Reduces itching from allergic reactions
  • Helps decrease seizure activity
  • Thought to possibly treat cancer

CBD can be administered to your dog in many different ways.  You can buy oils that can be put right in your dog’s mouth or on their food.  You can even find tasty treats that your dog will love. 

The Natural Doggie CBD-Infused Bacon Flavor Soft Chews use only the best ingredients nature has to offer. The perfect treat to promote calmness, reduce inflammation and pain and stimulate appetite in your pet. This is a perfect supplement to add to your dog’s diet. This Colorado-grown, hemp-derived oil is legal in all 50 states and contains no THC. The non-GMO oil in every treat is derived from the finest non-GMO hemp the world has to offer. Your dog will love these bacon-flavored dog chews and you will see a major difference in your animal and if you don’t, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

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What is degenerative myelopathy in dogs?

Degenerative myelopathy is a disease that affects the spinal cord.  This disease causes a slowly progressive hind end weakness and eventually paralysis.  This is very common to Lou Gehrig’s disease seen in people.  The symptoms that are seen are due to the degeneration of the white matter of the spinal cord.

The exact cause of degenerative myelopathy is unknown.  When your dog first presents with signs, they will resemble arthritis or hip dysplasia.  This makes the diagnosis of this disease a challenge.

As this disease progresses, you will start to see weakness and ataxia in the back end.  There are also diseases that you must also consider for a dog with suspect degenerative myelopathies such as back injury, a tumor of the spinal cord, fibrocartilaginous embolism, myasthenia gravis, and disco-spondylitis. 

What are the clinical signs of degenerative myelopathy in dogs?

The early clinical signs of degenerative myelopathy include:

  • Your dog will “knuckle” on their back legs. This is when your dog will turn their paw under so that they walk on the tops of their feet.  This is most commonly seen when your dog is turning.
  • Your dog’s back end will sway from side to side when they are standing still.
  • Your dog falls over very easily especially when you gently push them from the side
  • Your dog’s back feet scrape the ground when they walk.  You may also notice sores or hair loss of the tops of their feet due to them continually walking this way.
  • Your dog will have a hard time getting up from the laying down position. 

As this condition progresses, the spinal cord will deteriorate, and these symptoms will become worse.  This will eventually lead to paralysis of the back end.

Unfortunately, there is no really good treatment for this disease.  Most vets will manage pain and inflammation, as well as any other issues that your dog may be having.  Most of the time, the damage that has been done to the spinal cord is irreversible and usually life-threatening. 

Who is most commonly affected?

This disease is most commonly seen in older dogs between 8 to 14 years. There is a genetic mutation SOD-1 that has been identified in almost all dogs who have degenerative myelopathy. Common breeds that are predisposed to this disease are:

  • German Shepherds
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Collies
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Boxers
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Kerry Blue Terriers
  • Miniature and Standard Poodles
  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgis
  • Pugs
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  • Corgis
  • Wirehaired Fox Terriers

This disease can commonly be passed on genetically from parent to offspring. It is always best to make sure any breeding pair does not have this gene to prevent further spread of this disease.

Can CBD Oil Help?

CBD oil can be very helpful if your dog has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy.  This can act as a pain reliever and treat symptoms of degenerative myelopathy, including depression and inflammation.  CBD interacts with the nervous system and is thought to help with neurodegenerative diseases such as degenerative myelopathy.  The antioxidants of cannabinoids suggest a therapeutic use as a neuroprotective agent, potentially preventing the disease.  They shield brain cells from toxicity along with aiding in the prevention of degenerative myelopathy.

If your dog has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, there are many things that you can do to help decrease your dog’s pain and inflammation.  While there are traditional medications that your vet can prescribe, there are also many great supplements that you can use.  CBD is great at helping decrease the pain and inflammation as well as help with many other issues.  When looking for treatment for this disease, consider using CBD products. 

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun

Claudia Bensimoun is a freelance journalist and author, and specializes in veterinary content, and eBooks. She's a long-time feature writer for Animal Wellness magazine, Fido Friendly magazine, and the United States Dog Agility Association. In addition, Bensimoun has written for numerous pet websites, magazines, newspapers and online publications. Her interests include wildlife conservation, animal welfare, disaster/ humanitarian relief, veterinary research, and veganism.

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