Character, Courage, Conformation & Health!


 - The Silent Killer of Dogs -

Degenerative Myelopathy

we need your help...

Not only is it our obligation for the betterment of the breed to do this SIMPLE SALIVA INEXPENSIVE DNA test, its a necessity,  or it will spread like a cancer through all our dogs and destroy our breed.

Ck these OFA Stats! and look at the stats for the Pembroke Wells Corgi, the breed MOST affected by DM. (92%)  That can and will happen to the German Shepherd dog if you don't DEMAND this testing from the breeders, or simply tell them you will not purchase a dog from them! 

German Shepherd Dog stats tested dogs 644





at risk


total affected


Understanding the DNA Test for Degenerative Myelopathy

Here the very well explained graph of results from  VETDNACENTER when all progeny is tested from one litter of a certain combination, thus even when an At Risk parent is bred to a Carrier Parent, the result can still be 50% or half of the pups born are clear (fortunately) However, the other half will be at risk and not worth the chance to take for any caring and careful breeder.

On the other hand, if a breeder has a top rated male or female which tested AT RISK,  (do not panic) then when bred to a NORMAL mate only, this combination will only produce CARRIER offspring, thus this offspring can then be bred to a NORMAL mate, test ALL offspring and choose pups which tested NORMAL only for furthering the breeding program and thereby the breeder can quickly breed out DM in its entirety. 

Results CLEAR Parent CARRIER Parent AT RISK Parent
CLEAR Parent 100% Clear 50% Clear, 50% Carrier 100% Carrier
CARRIER Parent 50% Clear 50% Carrier 25% Clear, 50% Carrier, 25% at Risk 50% Carrier, 50% at Risk
AT RISK Parent 100% Carrier 50% Clear, 50% at Risk 100% at Risk

Begrijp de Degenerative Myelopathy in het Nederlands

(geschreven door: Breeder, fokker Vom Haus Demuth )

Comprendre le test de Myelopathy Dégénératives en Français

DNA-Test für Degenerative Myelopathie, die Erklärung auf Deutsch

DM – Degenerative Myelopathy – The DM test is available for any breed, and is specifically recommended for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Boxers, Standard Poodles, German Shepherds, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, and Pembroke Welsh Corgis.  For information on DM testing other breeds, please click on the link at the bottom of this writing.

The certificate is extended by the OFA (orthopedic foundation for animals) only when a dog is NOT AT RISK.  When a dog is tested AT RISK, a letter is send to the owner of the dog.   It is my objective to exclude any future breeding to a dog who is 'at risk' and to submit the certificate hereby shown below to potential buyers.   Thus far 16 Kerschberger dogs were tested, 1 AT RISK which dog was taken out of the breeding program in time.  (Stella vom Trompetersprung since deceased due to DM April 22nd 2009)  Click the images below to see the certificates of which dogs are approved for breeding.  (VA Dian vom Baronenwald was not tested but also deceased due to DM)

* dog is retired from breeding or † deceased )

This dog is homozygous N/N, with two normal copies of the gene. In the seven breeds studied at the University of Missouri in depth so far, dogs with test results of N/N (Normal) have never been confirmed to have DM. This dog can only transmit the normal gene to its offspring, and it is unlikely that this dog or its offspring will ever develop DM.     

This dog is heterozygous A/N, with one mutated copy of the gene and one normal copy of the gene, and is classified as a carrier. In the seven breeds studied at the University of Missouri in depth so far, dogs with test results of A/N have never been confirmed to have DM. While it is highly unlikely this dog will ever develop DM, this dog can transmit either the normal gene or the mutated gene to its offspring. 

This dog is homozygous A/A, with two mutated copies of the gene, and is at risk for developing Degenerative Myelopathy (DM). The research has shown that all dogs in the research study with confirmed DM have had A/A DNA test results, however, not all dogs testing as A/A have shown clinical signs of DM. DM is typically a late onset disease, and dogs testing as A/A that are clinically normal may still begin to show signs of the disease as they age. Some dogs testing A/A did not begin to show clinical signs of DM until they were 15 years of age. Research is ongoing to estimate what percentage of dogs testing as A/A will develop DM within their lifespan. At this point, the mutation can only be interpreted as being at risk of developing DM within the animal’s life. For dogs showing clinical signs with a presumptive diagnosis of DM, affected (A/A) test results can be used as an additional tool to aid in the diagnosis of DM. Dogs testing At-Risk (A/A) can only pass the mutated gene on to their offspring.


An Equivocal test result indicates that the test results were inconclusive. This is typically the result of poor sample collection. When the test yields an equivocal result, a second punch will be taken from the FTA card and the test rerun. If the second test is still equivocal, the owner will be contacted and asked to submit a new sample.

By: Joan R. Coates, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM-Neurology

We have discovered a gene which is a major risk factor for degenerative myelopathy (DM). In that gene, the DNA occurs in two possible forms (or alleles). The "G" allele is the predominant form in dog breeds in which DM seldom or never occurs; you can think of it as the "Good" allele. The "A" allele is more frequent in dog breeds for which DM is a common problem; you can think of it as the "Affected" allele.

Summary: "A" allele is associated with DM; "G" allele is not associated with DM.

Since an individual dog inherits two alleles (one from the sire and one from the dam) there are three possible test results: two "A" alleles; one "A" and one "G" allele; and, two "G" alleles. Summary: Test results can be A/A, A/G, or G/G.

In the five breeds we studied so far (Boxer, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, German Shepherd Dog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, and Rhodesian Ridgeback), dogs with test results of A/G and G/G have never been confirmed to have DM. Essentially all dogs with DM have the A/A test result. Nonetheless, many of the dogs with an A/A test result have not shown symptoms of DM. Dogs with DM can begin showing signs of disease at *8 years of age, but some do not show symptoms until they are as old as 15 years of age. Thus, some of the dogs who have tested A/A and are now normal may still develop signs of DM as they age. We have, however, found a few 15-year-old dogs that tested A/A and are not showing the clinical symptoms of DM. Unfortunately, at this point we do not have a good estimate of what percent of the dogs with the A/A test result will develop DM within their life span.

Summary: Dogs that test A/G or G/G are very unlikely to develop DM. Dogs that test A/A are much more likely to develop DM. Our research will now focus on how many A/A dogs can survive to old age without developing DM and why.

The "A" allele is very common in some breeds. In these breeds, an overly aggressive breeding program to eliminate the dogs testing A/A or A/G might be devastating to the breed as a whole because it would eliminate a large fraction of the high quality dogs that would otherwise contribute desirable qualities to the breed. Nonetheless, DM should be taken seriously. It is a fatal disease with devastating consequences for the dogs and a very unpleasant experience for the owners who care for them. Thus, a realistic approach when considering which dogs to select for breeding would be to consider dogs with the A/A or A/G test result to have a fault, just as a poor top-line or imperfect gait would be considered faults. Dogs that test A/A should be considered to have a worse fault than those that test A/G. Dog breeders could then continue to do what conscientious breeders have always done: make their selections for breeding stock in light of all of the dogs’ good points and all of the dogs’ faults. Using this approach over many generations should substantially reduce the prevalence of DM while continuing to maintain or improve those qualities that have contributed to the various dog breeds.

Summary: We recommend that dog breeders take into consideration the DM test results as they plan their breeding programs; however, they should not over-emphasize this test result. Instead, the test result is one factor among many in a balanced breeding program.

Joan R. Coates, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM-Neurology

Associate Professor Veterinary Neurology/Neurosurgery

Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery

900 E. Campus Dr., VMTH-Clydesdale Hall

College of Veterinary Medicine

University of Missouri

Columbia, MO 65211

Phone:  573.882.7821

FAX:  573.884.5444

For more information on DM, please visit the University of Missouri website

Click here for more information on DM for other breeds

A free DNA test for DM is available for some dogs. Click here for details

Explanation of DM DNA Test Results

Breeder Guidelines for dogs who test DM Carrier (N/A) or DM At Risk (A/A)

DM Test Result Statistics

Order OFA DNA Test




 Prevent TICKS AND FLEAS Naturally!

My homeopathic vet is adamant against the use of FRONTLINE and the poisons we use on and in our dogs.   He recommended an all natural spray which I won't name, as I nearly passed out myself due to the strong smell, and instead,  I experimented with GARLIC, granulated minced or fresh, and NO Ticks and NO Fleas on any of them.  I distribute a good sprinkle on each meal morning and night.  And no worries, their breath or body won't smell of garlic either.   

& NO expensive and poisonous frontline and / or advantage :)

Poisonous Plants Page!  click here

Links below are about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

Want to know what a particular ingredient does for your pet? Read the ingredient definitions page for more information.

You need to know more about vaccination protocols

turmeric works for Dogs Too!  Arthritis and Degenerative  Myelopathy

© Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.


*Stella's DM signs started at 7 yrs and three months of age, thus it CAN be seen sooner, and her symptoms were fully visible in June when she was 7 and a half yrs old.  More reports have been received of dogs with earlier onset.