If Your Dog Has Degenerative Myelopathy, Read This Before Trying Sanus-Biotex

by Lisa Stahr, Founder, Scout’s House

Today is July 12, 2012 and as of this moment, there is no cure for degenerative myelopathy in dogs.

So if you’ve seen the ad by Sanus-Biotex promising to improve the health of a dog with degenerative myelopathy (DM), please read on before you buy.  These people have absolutely no scruples.  They’re preying on dog owners who are looking for something, anything to help their dogs, which is despicable.

First, my credentials:  I started a physical rehabilitation therapy center for animals in California, a place where the staff works daily with dogs with DM.  For years, I’ve followed the progress of the research being done by real scientists, like Dr. Joan Coates from the University of Missouri, who are trying to find a cure for DM.  I’ve interviewed Dr. Coates on Scout’s House’s radio show, Special Pets, Special Needs, and have continued to talk with her privately.  And I’m a member of the DM Dogs discussion forum on Yahoo Groups, which is comprised of very knowledgeable people who have dogs with the disease.  As a matter of fact, that’s how I first heard about the Sanus-Biotex hoax.  People in the group were wondering if the product worked.

Well, it doesn’t.

And I’m infuriated by the lies and misdirection and misinformation presented on their website.  As a former copywriter, I understand what they were doing with the copy they wrote—it was created very deliberately—but if you know anything about DM, you understand this “supplement” couldn’t possibly help.

For instance, on their website they wrote:

100% Guaranteed to subside hind-quarter inflammation which occurs all to often leading to the extreme “flare-ups” associated with Degenerative Myelopathy.

What “flare-ups”?  At Scout’s House, we’ve treated hundreds of dogs with DM and have never seen an inflammatory “flare up” in one.  And that’s because DM isn’t an inflammatory disease.  Dogs with DM may have muscle soreness and even some inflammation in the front end because they’re off-weighting (throwing their weight to the front) to compensate for rear legs that don’t work, but inflammation isn’t a DM symptom.

What they’re doing in their copy is purposely mis-associating DM with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a connection researchers once hypothesized but that was proven wrong several years ago with research from Dr. Joan Coates et al.  DM is similar to ALS in humans, not MS.  So those “flare ups” they’re talking about—yes, MS sufferers do have flare ups that can have an inflammatory basis, but dogs with DM do not.

And as you read the copy, you’ll notice they’re also attributing arthritis symptoms to DM.  Hey, it’s very common for older dogs—which most DM dogs are—to have concurrent arthritis.  But they’re not talking specifically about arthritis here, they’re saying there is inflammation associated with DM and that’s just plain incorrect.

They also say:

Helps revitalize and nourish the muscles throughout your dogs body while improving blood flow from the hind-legs to the heart.

Blood flow isn’t the problem with DM, DM is a neurological degeneration.  And muscle atrophy is the result of the neurological degeneration, NOT impeded blood flow.

Now this:

Sanus-Biotex helps restore degenerated joints and connective tissue preventing muscle atrophy typically caused by degenerative myelopathy.

Joints and connective tissue don’t degenerate with DM, nerves do.

So what they’re doing here is purposely confusing symptoms from diseases once thought to be connected with DM (eg, MS) and that can appear concurrently with DM (eg, arthritis) to make you think those are actual DM symptoms, but they are not.  As a result, they’re trying to sell you a product for one disease by purposely confusing its symptoms with those of other diseases.

Here’s another piece:

Sanus-Biotex, replaces a number of potentially harmful and much less effective treatments including steroids. 

And this:

Steroids are extremely good at controlling the extreme inflammation associated with degenerative myelopathy.

What veterinarian gives steroids for DM?!  This is NOT an inflammatory disease, that’s been proven.  This is a neurodegenerative disease.  Veterinarians understand that steroids don’t help DM.  Steroids can help other conditions that a dog with DM may also suffer from, such as arthritis, but they aren’t going to slow or stop or reverse the course of degenerative myelopathy.

Then they say this:

As soon as you suppress the symptoms and inflammation associated with degenerative myelopathy many of the tell-tailed traits of the disease will go away! The flare-ups become less frequent, inflammation subsides, loss of balance, the irritation…It all goes away! 

Again, I repeat:  there is no inflammation with DM.  There are no “flare-ups.”  There is no irritation (maybe the only “good” thing about DM is that it isn’t painful—in fact, once they reach a certain stage, dogs don’t feel any pain at all.  A blessing in some ways.)  Promising that “it all goes away” is just pure charlatanry.

As for this:

Has ZERO adverse side effects…The Highly Potent Formula found in every bottle consists of the “Very Highest Grade Ingredients” you can buy! (and are not available retail)

First of all, REALLY???  “ZERO adverse side effects”?  And which study are they quoting that proved that?  Always look for evidence-based solutions.

Also, “Very Highest Grade Ingredients” means what exactly?  They allude to “herbs and vitamins” but WHAT herbs and vitamins?  The truth is, by hiding behind their “proprietary blend” claim, they’re able to avoid revealing what’s in their product–which means YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S IN THIS STUFF.  And as much as I love my dogs and as eager as I would be to reverse the damage done by DM if my dog had it, I would never give my dog a product that doesn’t disclose its ingredients.  I don’t believe in experimenting on my animals, no matter how dire their health condition.

So here’s another thing, I used to be a copywriter so I understand what this website copy is doing and why it’s doing it.  This pitch was very cleverly crafted; please allow me to show you a couple of the tricks they used.

This section was written to play on the hopes and dreams that everyone with a DM dog has of seeing their beloved pets “whole” again:

Imagine what a wonderful turn of events this could be for you and your dog. Picture yourself strolling around the neighborhood or park again with your dog. Ask yourself how many times have you wished you could experience the sheer joy of seeing your best friend chase a ball, stick, or Frisbee again? Now, I’m not going to make you any promises here, but what I can tell you is…There is a very good chance that your dog will be able to do all of this once again!

And this is an old “black hat” direct mail trick:  make an offer that promises success in the short-term but always add a long-term caveat.  The idea is to get people to purchase the product and to keep them purchasing the product over and over again with the hope that it’ll work.  It’s a way to create a consistent revenue stream out of each buyer.

Visible progress in as little as 14 days…*Please note, (60+) day programs are always recommended for long term success.

It’s no surprise they brag that:

over 80% of our monthly orders continue to come from existing customers 

Of course they do!  They’re making you think that repeat orders indicate a successful product, but repeat orders probably just indicate that people are adhering to their “60+ day” program recommendation.

I could go on, pointing out how they get your attention, make the connection with you, and then hook you to buy.  This copy was clearly written by a professional.  And I could point out several other ways that they’re trying to manipulate you into buying.  But read it over again with a critical eye: they’ve used misinformation, suggesting issues related to MS and arthritis, and confused and associated that misinformation with the effects of DM.  They’ve used old copywriting direct mail tricks to get you to buy—and keep buying—their product.  They’ve used every trick in the book to hook you and make sure you stay hooked for as long as possible.

Maybe this product helps the arthritis that some elderly DM dogs have and people are confusing the temporary improvement in the arthritis symptoms with the DM symptoms, but THIS PRODUCT DOES NOT HELP DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY.  And as I mentioned earlier, if you don’t know what’s in something, it’s unwise to “just try it.”

Like you, I wish there was a magic pill that would cure DM, just as I wish there was a magic pill that would cure cancer.  I have a dog with T-cell lymphoma and I would give anything to cure her of that.  But we have to be rational about the things we’re willing to try in the effort to save our pets—not only for our pets’ health and well-being, but also as a defense against unscrupulous marketers who willingly take advantage of our sadness and hope.

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13 Responses to “If Your Dog Has Degenerative Myelopathy, Read This Before Trying Sanus-Biotex”

  1. Hayley Vine says:

    I’ve just read several of your articles and I’d like to say THANK YOU. Thank you for being so honest. Somehow I feel so much better.
    My German Shepherd (8yrs) has Degenerative Myelopathy. It is truly devastating. I would give absolutely anything to ease his suffering. There is no easing, no cure, no happy ending. Your honest article made me realise that it’s ok to feel desperate and sad and to NOT get sucked into some ”miracle” that simply does NOT exist for DM. I feel so much more confident to face his incurable condition. The harsh truth about DM is that reality bites.
    Again a huge thanks.

  2. Jeff Allen says:

    Thank you so very much for your input. I just discovered this evening that my 10 year old Shepard has DM. My VET gave him a steroid shot and prescribed gabbapenton and steroid pills. I feel awful for my Dog he’s the best friend I have. If anything my vet is missing please let me know.
    I truly appreciate your above article thank you again.
    Jeff Allen

  3. Steve Matthews says:

    Thank you very much I had my 13 year old girl I had to say good bye to yesterday who had this desease. If you have any updates concerning DM I would appreciate any info that you could share. I have my male shepherd who is 11 that I worry about getting DM

  4. BRIAN SHEEHAN says:

    Thank you for your honesty. My sons shepard is 11 andhas DM. 1 vet wants to try prednisone or at least deramaxx. I am not!
    i give her 1 can of wild sardines twice /day and different spices and little cod liver oil daily.
    From what i read exercise, massage,swimming with dog life vest, water treadmill is only things u can do to try to keep
    her moving and walking as best she can.

  5. Brandy Pace says:

    My Shepherd has DM. My shepherd before him succumbed to the same disease so I know the stages/progression of this devastating disease. Danny had gotten to the point he couldn’t get up and down the stairs and was falling over while trying to play at the park. I put him on Sanus-Biotex and he has improved tremendously. I really thought I only had a few more weeks with him and now who knows? He is running around again (although still wobbly) but considering where we were at 4 months ago, I will take it! What you say makes sense and I would agree except that I can’t explain this turn of events other than the Sanus-Biotex. So if the hocus pocus is working…..abracadabra it is!

  6. Kelly says:

    First off thank you. I am trying to understand this disease better as we are pretty sure my brothers dog had DM. The vets wanted to do surgery on her spine. Anyways in the top part of the article, you say there is only inflammation with MS and not DM. Lower down you say the steroids are good for the inflammation associated with DM. I appreciate the information and realize that there are a lot of terrible people out there that take advantage of peoples hope. Thank you again

  7. Kathy Teuscher says:

    Of course I ordered this product immediately after learning our sweet rottie had DM. Even tho my spidey since said not to. Only after I ordered I began researching. So very thankful to you for bringing this to the attention to all of us who our desperate to save our fur babies from this dreadful disease.
    By the way, I canceled the order!

  8. Jodi Lee Curry says:

    Thank you for your informative article on Sanus Biotex and DM. Our 11 year old Golden was diagnosed with DM about 6 months ago and was having a hard time going up and down steps as well as having a hard time getting up while laying down. I saw the ad for Sanus Biotex and bought it for her. We have been faithfully giving it to her for a few weeks now and she has been coming up and down the stairs now but still having difficulty getting up from laying down.
    She has had two episodes of almost Seziure like attacks that she starts choking and the right side of her face twitches. She then goes outside and eats grass and then is better. I am not sure if this is from the Sanus Biotex or from the disease.
    Has anyone ever seen this before in a dog with DM?
    I am wondering if we should stop the medicine to see if this gets any better?

  9. Susan Anderson says:

    I was about to order the Sanus Biotex in desperation to help my 9 year old boxer, Rocky. Rocky’s first 2 years of life were spent with people who chained him up and starved him, nearly to death. With neighbors complaining about the dog, police finally took him away, he weighed 32 pounds, a full grown boxer, he looked like a walking dead dog, sunken eyes, every bone in his body showing. I took him in as a foster for our local no kill shelter, while the owners were taken through the legal system. It took 8 months until it was over and their ownership terminated. In that time period, Rocky gained more than 20 pounds, realized there was a world beyond the 6 feet he could go on the chain, learned to play and had the run of an entire 1/2 acre back yard, the muscles he developed were unbelievable. I ended up adopting him, because he refused to behave at the one family approved to adopt him, so he came back here to foster again. I knew he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, so he’s still here and I am so frantic that the last part of his life is being slowly taken by DM. It seems so unfair and yes, I would do or buy anything to help him. Before submitting my order for SB I decided to look around to see what others had to say, who were NOT customer reviews on their website. I’m so glad I found this, I will be getting CB oil for him and trying a hip brace to, hopefully, help him stand and walk a little better. At almost 60 pounds, he is just too heavy for me to carry, but I can assist him by holding his back end as he goes up and down the steps. I wish I was nearer to a place who could help him with some rehab, however, living in rural Michigan, the nearest big city is Green Bay, Wisconsin and I’m not sure they have a rehab facility either. Thank you again for telling those of us who are having our hearts broken by the fact that our precious furry family members are saddled with this horrendous disease!

  10. Eddie says:

    Thank you for this information. I am new to all this, as we just realized our 6 yr old german shepherd has early signs of DM. You make a great point with this article and we value your input. So knowing this, is there anything you DO recommend, besides the obvious exercising and changing over to whole-food diet? I have read numerous articles on Aminocaproic Acid & N-Acytlcystine (NAC). One study showed an 80% reversal/complete remission on the patients. Your thoughts on these? Also, since this has shown itself to be an autoimmune disfunction, are there any autoimmune medications that can suppress the immune system that is triggering this genetic predisposition? And once that has calmed down, perhaps the rehabilitation can ensue if she is not too far damaged?

    As you can imagine, we are desperate to help our dear Kyra…Thank you for your time.
    Eddie & Kristina

  11. Pauline Hindes says:

    Thank you for that, my poor beautiful baby boy JJ suffers from epi IBD,atophy and DM,he turned 11in june 2020,to see his decline, his loss of muscle tone, and the fact he has lost 5kg in five months kills me, I’ve him on supplements mainly for the epi and trying to maintain his weight is overwhelming .I’d give my all for even another year with him. These ppl are dispicible in their approach, but as I have read time and time again there is sadly and devastatingly no cure for this insidious disease I will not be drawn into their web of deceit. I will fight for my boy until his last breath,because the thought of him leaving when he’s still so full of life and joy is beyond words. Thank you again for you concise explanation.

  12. Joy ryan says:

    My Magic has DM
    Thank you so much i was just about to order this product as want to get ANYTHING that can help
    Do you have any advice on what supplements
    Injections can help
    Have u any experience on stem cell therapy for dm
    Any info appreciated
    Joy

  13. Bill Vass says:

    I wish to thank you as well for your information. I have a 12 yr old German Shepherd that I would do anything and at any cost to cure her DM. She is my best buddy. When I first discovered the site for Sanus Biotex I was thrilled that there was hope for her, I kept reading their web page and then educated myself when dealing with DM and after several scientific articles from Vet schools I became a little concerned with their web page. I for some reason just could not place an order for their medication. Then I decided to look other sites that described the Sanus Biotex. After educating myself for DM I realized that their medication did not even begin to cover just what Dm was. The nerve cells from the spinal cord to the muscle areas of the legs were simply dying. No medication will stop this disease. I am so thankful that you took the time to describe just what Sanus Biotex really was and I then realize this outfit was a scam. I wish there was a simple pill to cure this disease but know now it is impossible. It is a disease that is hopeless but at least I know now how to deal with it with the time left with my precious dog,,,,again thanks for taking the time to let dog lovers like myself what a scam this really is

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