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Furry Boy and DM

In memory of 


affectionately known as Furry Boy

13 December 2011 - 27 September 2023


Stanley sadly lost his battle with degenerative myelopathy (DM) in September 2023. Thank you so much to Stanley's wonderful owners who selflessly agreed for him to undergo post-mortem examination, which confirmed his clinical diagnosis of DM and provided vital information about this devastating disease and the Glen of Imaal Terrier.

Thank you, too, to the Glen folk who so generously contributed to the costs of Stanley's post-mortem examination.

Below is a brief résumé of the signs, investigations and  diagnosis of DM

Over the course of nine months, Stanley's owners documented his DM journey. Please see the videos below.



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 by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) 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​

Stanley'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 & 7 are particularly heart-breaking to watch and listen to ...

Stanley's DM journey

Nov 2022 : : Video 1 shows very subtle signs of Stanley's hind limb incoordination

Mar 2023 : : Video 3 shows Stanley's heart-breaking deterioration in just over 3 months since Video 2

Apr 2023 : : Video 5 shows shows Stanley with his custom-made harness, which enabled 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.

Aug 2023 : : Video 7 shows Stanley waiting for his hydrotherapy session. At this stage, he was unable to support his back end ... but he could still wag his tail! 

Dec 2022 : : Video 2 shows a significant deterioration in just a couple of short weeks

Mar 2023 : : Video 4 shows Stanley resting on the sofa with his Mum talking about living with a Glen with this devastating disease

Apr 2023 : : Video 6 shows Stanley going for a stroll in his buggy. He loved to go out with his family and the buggy enabled them all to enjoy longer walks together.

Aug 2023 : : Video 8 shows Stanley having one of his regular hydrotherapy sessions, which he always enjoyed.

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