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Furry Boy and DM


Furry Boy is an 11-year-old Glen of Imaal Terrier who has a clinical (presumptive) diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy (DM).

DM is an hereditary degenerative and life-limiting disease of the spinal cord. Initial signs of DM are non-painful weakness and incoordination of one hind limb. Over a period of just months, this weakness & incoordination progresses to involve both hind limbs. Eventually, an affected dog will lose the ability to walk. Features of DM include a "drunken sailor" gait, dragging of hind paws making them bleed & wearing down the tops of the toenails, and crossing of the hind limbs & falling over when cornering.

  • The only way to definitively diagnose DM ... i.e. confirm a clinical (presumptive) diagnosis ... is by post-mortem histopathological examination of the spinal cord (looking at the spinal cord under the microscope)

  • Clinical (presumptive) DM is a diagnosis of exclusion i.e. a diagnosis is arrived at following examination and investigations e.g. MRI scan, to rule out other neurological and orthopaedic conditions with similar presenting signs ... and observing the expected progression of clinical neurological deterioration

  • The Glen has been listed as a DM susceptible breed since March 2023

  • A DNA test is also useful, to know whether the dog is homozygous for the SOD1 gene mutation i.e. it has inherited 2 copies of the gene mutation - one from each parent​

Furry Boy's amazing owners have generously agreed for their beloved boy to undergo post-mortem examination to provide vital information about DM and the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

Furry Boy's family and breeder thought long and hard about publishing the videos below ... but felt that breeders should be aware of the devastating effects of clinical DM on the Glen and the distress & heartache to the owners as they watch their beloved pet gradually lose the ability to walk. Videos 3 & 4 are heart-breaking to watch and listen to ...

Furry Boy's DM journey

Video 1 shows very subtle signs of Furry Boy's hind limb incoordination

Video 3 shows Furry Boy's heart-breaking deterioration in just over 3 months since Video 2

Video 5 shows shows Furry Boy with his custom-made harness, which enables him to walk without dragging his paws and falling over. The first part of the video shows his gait without the support of the harness. The second part of the video shows the difference that rear end support makes.


Video 2 shows a significant deterioration in just a couple of short weeks

Video 4 shows Furry Boy resting on the sofa with his Mum talking about living with a Glen with this devastating disease

Video 6 shows Furry Boy going for a stroll in his buggy. He loves to go out with his family and the buggy enables them all to enjoy longer walks together.

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