Canine degenerative myelopathy (also known as degenerative radiculomyelopathy-CDRM) is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 7 & 14 years of age. The mutated gene has been found in more than 40 breeds including collies
Luckily it is not thought to be a painful condition and mentally the dogs remain normal. It starts with dragging of toes, uneven nail growth in the back feet and ataxia leading eventually to paralysis in the hind legs. There is no cure and numbers of Smooth Collies affected have been small. Again DNA testing is available and recommended, as although transmission is not fully understood the symptoms do not appear until after a dog has been used for breeding so it is a valuable tool to prevent introducing it into our small gene pool.