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DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY
and the Boston Terrier
Somewhere along the way, the Boston Terrier breed got dragged kicking and screaming into the dreaded DM plague of 2014. It swallowed dozens upon dozens of breeds that had, to the best of experienced breeders’ knowledge, never been plagued by it before.
By jani Martin
For those unfamiliar with Degenerative Myelopathy,
this is a disease where, very simply put, parts of the spinal cord degenerate, hindering communication between the hind limbs and the brain. Onset is usually between 8 and 12 years of age, begins slowly, and for the most part painlessly, to reduce functionality of the rear legs. It
is a fatal disease typically within three years, with many owners opting for euthanasia in one year due to total loss of rear function. It can only be de nitively
diagnosed once the dog is deceased, by examining the spinal cord during a necropsy. Living dogs can only be diagnosed through a process of elimination, and since there are many problems that can a ect the spine, it can be a lengthy process and in the end, the diagnosis is still a well educated guess. Breeds that are prone to the disease are o en diagnosed without going through the full process of elimination, simply based on the fact that it’s “likely” to be DM.  e OFA website
lists 17 breeds “at risk” for DM.  e Boston Terrier is not one of them. Research online will again show about 17 breeds listed on most sites as being at risk.  e only sites that clearly suggest the Boston Terrier is one of those breeds are the genetics labs who sell the testing kits for DM.
In the fall of 2014, posts by
one particular lab speci cally featuring the Boston Terrier started appearing, encouraging owners to test because Bostons “may carry genes for DM”.  en
E Boston Terriers | www.ebostonterriers.com
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