Degenerative myelopathy in two Boxer dogs

Vet Pathol. 2009 Jul;46(4):684-7. doi: 10.1354/vp.08-VP-0270-M-BC. Epub 2009 Mar 9.


Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a common, slowly progressive, debilitating disease reported in several dog breeds, including the German Shepherd Dog and Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Boxer dogs present occasionally for a thoracolumbar myelopathy for which no cause is identified on MRI or cerebrospinal fluid analysis. Despite a lack of a histologic description of DM in the Boxer in the veterinary literature, such dogs are presumed to have DM. Here we report 2 histologically confirmed cases of DM in the Boxer breed in which histologic studies disclosed marked degenerative changes in the spinal cord that were most prominent in the thoracic and cranial lumbar segments. Lesions consisted of myelin vacuolation and degeneration, myelophagocytosis, reactive astrocytosis, and ellipsoid formation most prominent in the lateral and ventral funiculi. We present a detailed histologic description of DM in the Boxer dog and compare it to DM in other purebred dogs.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / pathology*
  • Dogs
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / pathology
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / veterinary*
  • Species Specificity
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / veterinary*