Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
Although DM has been reported in other large breeds, the disease is relatively frequent in the German Shepherd breed, suggesting that there is a genetic predisposition for German Shepherds in developing DM. The age at onset is 5 to 14 years. DM is caused by an auto-immune disease attacking the nervous systems leading to progressive neural tissue damage. In many ways, DM is similar to what has been discovered about the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in humans. In fact, DM is now known as MS in dogs.