Issue Description The cerebellum is the part of the brain that
regulates the control and coordination of movement. In this condition,
the cells of the cerebellum do not mature normally before birth,
causing clinical signs relating to poor balance and incoordination.
Breeds At Risk The incidence for cerebellar hypoplasia is
higher in the Irish Setter, Whire-Haired Fox Terrier, Boston Terrier,
Bull Terrier, and Chow-Chow.
Causes There are several bacterial infections and
viral infections such as feline panleukopenia, that can result in the
disorder in both cats and dogs. However, the disease can also be
caused by malnutrition, poisoning, injury or general accidents during
development in the fetus.
Symptoms Usually symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia can
be seen immediately at birth in cats, but sometimes can take two
months or so to become apparent in dogs. Cerebellar hypoplasia causes
jerky movements, tremors and generally uncoordinated motion. The
animal often falls down and has trouble walking. Tremors increase when
the animal is excited and subside when at ease.
does not get better or worse with age, but the cat or dog can usually
learn to somewhat compensate for it and should have a normal lifespan.
Most afflicted animals can lead a fairly normal life if special
considerations for the animal's disability are taken by the pet's
Diagnosis The clinical signs (relating to uncoordinated
movement and lack of balance) are suggestive of a cerebellar disorder.
Your veterinarian will do tests to rule out other conditions that can
cause similar signs.
Treatment There is no treatment for this condition.
Affected dogs will not get any worse (or better) and, especially where
the signs are mild, may be able to lead a relatively normal life,
particularly if owners can adjust their expectations to the dog's
Breeding Advice If a dog is born with Cerebellar hypoplasia,
its parents and siblings should ideally not be used for breeding since
Cerebellar hypoplasia can be inherited. The affected dog should
naturally also not be allowed to breed. The exact mode of inheritance
is still not fully understood, but some evidence point towards an
autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.