Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a very serious disease, which is peculiar not only to the Russian doggy greyhound, but to many other breeds, which leads to paralysis of the hind limbs. The disease develops gradually and becomes clinically significant in age from 8 to 14 years. The first sign of the onset of the disease is a worsening of the coordination (ataxia) of the pelvic limbs. The dog’s gait becomes wobbling, the back of the dog falls from side to side. Reducing the control of the pelvic part of the trunk and the limbs leads to the fact that the dog can touch objects, it can enter, it can also strike against the edges of doors and other obstacles. With support, the dog can lean on the back of the fingers, drag them, sometimes erasing claws to ulcers and bones. The degree of manifestation of these or other signs is different and depends on the degree of duration and localization of the lesion. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weak and the dog begins to stand with difficulty. Weakness gradually increases until the dog stops walking completely. Clinical development can vary from 6 months to 1 year, sometimes more than a year, before, complete paralysis occurs. An important symptom is also a violation of the separation of feces and urine, as destructive processes affect not only the work of the limbs, but also the work of the intestine and bladder. This can manifest as incontinence of urine and even feces. It is important to know that this disease is not accompanied by a pain syndrome, if there are no accompanying painful other pathologies, that is, the dog does not experience pain.
To diagnose DM, a special genetic test has been developed, which can be performed at any age. A DNA test can identify a defective (mutant) copy of the gene and a normal copy of the gene. The result of the test determines the genotype according to which animals can be divided into three groups: healthy (homozygotes for a normal copy of the gene, NN), carriers (heterozygotes, NM) and sick (homozygotes for mutation, MM). Since this is a serious disease manifested in adult dogs, usually in older dogs at the age of 8 years, according to some data from 5 years and earlier. Preliminary diagnosis can only be done through genetic research. There is no DM treatment. If there is no treatment, then this disease and its development should be prevented. And in order to prevent the development of degenerative myelopathy, we – breeders, it is necessary to investigate all dogs that are used in breeding, to make the necessary tests, and DO NOT use in breeding sick dogs.
Two months ago, we sent DNA samples of 7 borzoi from our kennel to the Zoogen laboratory in St. Petersburg (Russia) to conduct a test for the presence of DM (in Ukraine there is no laboratory that does this DNA test). We express our deep gratitude to Galina Zotova, our colleague, the breeder of Russian greyhounds, who promptly delivered DNA samples of our greyhounds to the laboratory. Today we received the long-awaited test results and are happy to announce that 6 of our greyhounds on the genotype of healthy (Kasya, Zlata, Danja, Rusya, Darik and Dimka) and 1 borzoi is carrier (Lana).