Bernese Mountain Dogs - Breed Information & Education for Puppy Buyers, Owners and Breeders

Berner rxDegenerative Myeelopathy

By Patricia Long
October 2017

A website to bookmark & a DM Awareness FB Group:

Canine Genetic Diseases Network (U of M) - Degenerative Myelopathy

FACEBOOK - Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) awareness group (Closed Group, visit the link to join)


Berner-Garde Statistics

To work toward an understanding of what percentage of the at risk dogs may become affected, we can use the data in Berner-Garde. It will be an estimate, and as more dogs are entered, as more health information is shared, the estimates will become more meaningful.

As of October 25, 2017 the Berner-Garde database shows that 4,754 dogs have been tested for DM.
There are 385 that have two mutated copies of the SOD1 gene, and are therefore at risk for DM. A dog is at risk if it has two copies of the A mutation, two copies of the B mutation, or a copy of the A and the B mutation. The table below shows BG data.

In order to determine the percentage of at risk dogs that become affected, I selected only those dogs that are deceased.

Mutations Total in BG Total Deceased Diagnosed Syptomatic % Diagnosed % Symptomatic
A/A 331 119 16 67    
B/B 5 3 3 3    
A/B 49 9 5 7    
Total 385 131 24 77 18.30% 58.80%




Breeding Bernese Mountain Dogs to Avoid Degenerative Myelopathy without Negatively Impacting the Gene Pool
The goal...more healthy 10+-year-old dogs pulling carts!

This article, put together by Pat Long in August of 2017, provides an explanation of what degenerative myelopathy is (symptoms, diagnosis), a clear overview of the genetics of the disease in the Bernese Mountain Dog breed (what we know and do not yet know) and recommendations for how to use test results to make informed breeding decisions.




Video - AKC Canine Health Foundation Published on Oct 14, 2010