A new service has opened its doors to dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) in the UK. The ‘Finding a Cure for DM’ foundation, a registered charity based in the US, has opened a UK branch of its “Wheels to Help Me” programme to serve the UK and Europe.
Degenerative Myelopathy is an incurable disease which affects the dog's spinal cord and mimics symptoms similar to MS and ALS in humans. Typical onset is six years and is seen most frequently in German Shepherd Dogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis and Boxers. Symptoms usually begin with weakness and lack of coordination in the back legs. Disease progression can be slow, varying form a few months to several years, but can eventually affect the front legs, cause incontinence, and eventually affect the cranial nerve or respiratory muscles.
As well as being incredibly stressful for both dog and owner, the disease can also be expensive to manage. Specialist equipment such as harnesses and wheelchairs can make a vast difference to the dog's quality of life but can be costly.
The "Wheels to Help Me" programme run by the Foundation, loans specialist equipment to owners of affected dogs who have applied. All the equipment is donated and all the charity asks in return is a minimum donation to help cover the cost of shipping and to return the equipment when it is no longer needed.
The UK branch is currently looking to build up its stock so if you have dog wheelchairs or harnesses in good working condition that you no longer need, consider donating to Finding a Cure for DM foundation.
To find out more about DM, apply for equipment or donate, go to the charity's website.