Health Issues -- Neurological

A Veterinarian's Perspective


Sequoyah German
Shepherds

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Last updated 5/11/15

Neurological Disorders:

Degenerative Myopathy -- is a slowly progressing paralysis of the rear quarters in middle-aged to old German Shepherds.  Initially, the dog drags its rear toes slightly and scrapes the tops of the toenails as it walks.  This progresses to knuckling over of the rear paws and crossing of the feet during walking.  The forelegs function normally, and affected dogs are otherwise in good health. 

The disease progresses until affected dogs eventually cannot rise or walk on the rear legs.  The rear leg muscles undergo severe wasting (atrophy).  The cause of this degeneration in unknown, but the underlying disease is degeneration of the white matter in the spinal cord.

Symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy

 
The Status Of Degenerative Myelopathy In German Shepherd Dogs

 
German Shepherd Degenerative Myelopathy

 
Degenerative Myelopathy

 
Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

 
Degenerative Myelopathy - Disease Basics

 
Update on Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

 
Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

 

Epilepsy -- is relatively common in dogs.  Nerve cells in the brain function by transmission of electric impulses.  Epilepsy is a sudden, excessive discharge of electrical energy in groups of brain cells, causing a seizure or convulsion.  Why this spontaneous discharge occurs, we do not know, but in many cases the condition is hereditary.

Just because a dog seizures, does not mean that he/she has epilepsy.  There are a multitude of causes of seizures, including liver disease, kidney disease, antifreeze poisoning, tumors, thyroid problems, low blood sugar, etc. 

Epilepsy usually becomes apparent between 6 months and 6 years of age.  Nearly all breeds, including mixed breeds, have been affected.  Treatment for epilepsy does not cure the disease.  Instead, treatment controls the condition by decreasing the frequency, duration, and severity of the seizures. 

Other primary causes of seizures though are....

Most Common Toxicologic Causes of Seizures in Dogs

Provided by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour veterinary diagnostic and treatment hotline: 888.426.4435

Category 1:  Medications

 

bullet5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)
bulletAmphetamines
bulletDiphenhydramine
bulletFluorouracil (5-FU) Cream
bulletFluoroquinolone antibiotics
bulletIsoniazid
bulletIbuprofen
bulletIvermectin
bulletLamotrigine
bulletMetronidazole
bulletPhenylbutazone
bulletPhenylpropanolamine
bulletProcaine Penicillin G
bulletVilazodone
bulletAny medications with the potential to cause hypoglycemia (such as sulfonylureas)
Category 2:   Plants

 

bulletMushrooms
bulletSago Palm
bulletBrunfelsia (Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow)
Category 3:   Food

 

bulletChocolate toxicity
bulletXylitol
bulletCaffeine
bulletEthanol
Category 4:  
bulletRodenticides
bulletInsecticides
bulletMetaldehyde
bulletBifenthrin
bulletStrychnine
bulletZinc Phosphide
bullet4-Aminopyridine
Category 5:
bulletOther Drugs
bulletCocaine
bulletAmphetamines
bulletCannabis
bulletSynthetic Cannabinoids
bullet4-Aminopyridine
Category 6:
bulletMiscellaneous
bulletEthylene Glycol
bulletMycotoxins
bulletBee sting envenomation
bulletHomemade play dough or salt dough

 

Sherle R. Thompson, DVM
Veterinarian and German Shepherd Breeder
Chattanooga, TN
 
Email: sequoyahgsd@aol.com
Phone:  (423)991-0979

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