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Progressive Posterior Paresis | German Shepherd

Progressive posterior paresis is a genetic disorder that affects the German Shepherd breed. Like many other genetic disorders, these come into existence and continue to exist as much of the fault of poor or disreputable breeders as of nature itself. The genetic mutations that combine to form a dog with progressive posterior paresis lead to a number of abnormalities in the dog's DNA makeup, from the absence of necessary enzymes to the excess of particular amounts of protein. It is important to test your potential German Shepherd's parents before breeding or adopting to see if any one of them is the carrier of genetic markers that will lead to progressive posterior paresis. This disease in particular manifests itself by a gradual onset of paralysis in your German Shepherd dog, and is concentrated on your dog's right hindquarters.

Progressive posterior paresis, as the symptom's name might suggest, is made manifest in German Shepherd dogs by the display of certain marked behavior – namely, the gradual progression of your dog's hind legs from fully mobile and active to increasingly stiff and weak – and ultimately to the condition of paralysis. If your dog exhibits any of the following signs: muscle weakness, lethargy, stiffness, difficulty walking, or trouble moving about, consider taking your German Shepherd dog to a vet to be diagnosed to see if he or she has progressive posterior paresis. Unfortunately, this disease has no cure as such.

However, measures can be taken to make sure that a dog suffering from progressive posterior paresis lives as long and as healthy a life as possible. Ways to do this include putting your dog on a regimen of exercise and physical therapy, including swimming therapy and walking with a cart, which may help to manage your German Shepherd dog's pain and slow the onset of the disease.

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