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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, May 22, 2022

Degenerative Myelopathy Successfully Treated with Thiamine

by Robert Feller

OMNS (May 22, 2022) Two and a half years ago my household adopted a rescue German Shepherd about 10 years old. The shelter told us that he had arthritis in the hips, a common malady in Shepherds. Upon getting him home we found that he dragged his hind feet causing him to scrape his toe nails down to the quick and bleed. After a quick review of the literature we figured it was not arthritis but degenerative myelopathy, which was confirmed by our vet. Obviously the diagnosis had zero options in allopathic medicine but since I had read of the work of Dr. Frederick R. Klenner [1] I decided to try mega dosage of vitamin B1 (thiamine) knowing that it would help to protect the myelin sheath from further deterioration.

Cut to the chase: there has been no discernible further deterioration in his condition; in fact he now has the ability to wag his tail. His gait is steady and we built a ramp so he does not have to go up steps. It would appear clinically that the progress of the disease has slowed or stopped from the mega B1. We understand that the disease may eventually win out, but for now according to the vet, it is nothing short of a miracle.

Degenerative myelopathy is spinal cord disease similar to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Dogs with DM gradually become weaker and unable to control their hind legs. It eventually results in paralysis. There is no medicine or medical treatment known to cure or halt the progression of DM.

I am writing this because vitamin B1 seems to be helping another pet owner we know whose dog has the same malady but has also improved from the thiamine megadose.

How it started

During December of 2019 I was contacted by a local rescue shelter that had taken in a horribly neglected German shepherd named Samson. We worked to bring him back up to adoptable standards. He had been chained outside with no shelter and the chain had worn the hair on his neck down to raw skin. Flies had eaten the tips of his ears; he had Lyme Disease and multiple skin lesions. The shelter had a veterinarian who treated the immediate issues and neutered him. He was placed in the shelter on a concrete floor since that was all that they had at the time, with a rug and single one ply bed for him to rest on. Once the Lyme test came back as resolved I was able to get him. I was told he had the usual hip dysplasia that Shepherds are prone to but that he was a really sweet dog and would get along with the rest of our dogs very well.

When we got him home and saw the way he walked, this clearly was not just simple dysplasia and after an internet search we thought he might have Degenerative Myelopathy and got confirmation from our local vet. [2]

The vet told us that there was no treatment. However, I knew of vitamin B1 used for treatment of diabetic neuropathy in a friend of mine. While it does not cure the diabetic neuropathy it has seemed to slow down the progress. This vitamin protocol seemed like a holistic way to treat this condition as best as we could so I decided to start Samson on mega doses of vitamin B1 and see if there was any improvement. The initial dosage was 1500 mg per day of B1 and within days his ability to get up from his foam mattress was getting better. Within 30 days he was able to wag his tail again -- and while this protocol is not a cure for a genetic degenerative disease, I am pleased that the progress of the disease seems to have been halted. Samson's gait is almost normal and the vitamin B1 therapy has been going strong for 17 months and even our vet is amazed that there doesn't seem to be any disease progression.

Samson weighs 95 pounds and he daily gets a total of 1200 mgs of B1, spaced throughout the day. This is a very large amount of thiamine, as the human RDA/DRI is less than two milligrams. Thiamine at an appropriate dose will help to protect the myelin sheath [outer shell] of the nerves in the spine and increase the metabolism of the dog's digestion [a good thing]; there are no downsides to this inexpensive protocol as opposed to any sort of cortisone therapy.

This report is based upon observation and not data, nor were any invasive procedures performed, such as analysis of spinal fluid. The disease can progress very rapidly, and based on visual observation this protocol of vitamin B1 seems to have stopped the disease progression. While not a complete cure, given the fact that conventional veterinary care cannot do anything for this disease, the vitamin therapy has proven to be a lifesaver - literally.


1. Klenner FR (1973) Response of Peripheral and Central Nerve Pathology to Mega-Doses of the Vitamin B-Complex and Other Metabolites. Also at

2. Hunter T, Ward E. Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs. VCA Animal Hospitals.

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