CWCCA Degenerative Myelopathy Study

Posted July 2, 2013

Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive neurological disease that affects many dog breeds including Cardigan Welsh Corgis. The purpose of this study is to determine definitive diagnoses of Cardigans with progressive spinal cord disease.

All dogs that develop DM will eventually become completely paralyzed and at this point there is no known treatment. In 2008, the University of Missouri developed a genetic test that can predict whether or not a dog is “at risk” for developing the disease. So far it appears that the incidence of this gene is relatively low in Cardigans. The most recent statistics from OFA state that of the 503 Cardigans tested, 50% are clear, 36% are carriers and 13% are at risk.

Not every dog that is “at risk” develops clinical DM and there are other neurological diseases like intervertebral disk disease that can be mistaken for it. DM can only be definitively confirmed by microscopic examination of spinal cord samples collected during a necropsy. Although there have been a number of suspected cases of DM in Cardigans, very few have been confirmed.

Please contact Barbara Merickel DVM, if you have a dog that could be included. You and your veterinarian will need to complete a medical history/physical findings form. We will assist you in arranging for a necropsy (autopsy) which will need to be performed shortly after your dog had died or been euthanized. If you wish, your dog can be cremated with the ashes returned to you. The tissue samples will be sent to Dr. Joan Coates at the University of Missouri.

This study is open to all Cardigan Welsh Corgis, not limited to CWCCA Members.

Additional information and sample submission forms are available at this link.