About cerebral hypoplasia

Cerebellar hypoplasia in dogs

What is Cerebellar hypoplasia?

In a dog with Cerebellar hypoplasia, the cerebellum is not completely developed when the puppy is born. This can be due to a wide range of reasons and there is a hereditary factor. In dogs, one of the most common caused of Cerebellar hypoplasia is bacterial or virus infection of the puppy while it is still in its mother’s womb. The canine herpes virus can for instance cause Cerebellar hypoplasia. Other factors that can cause problems for the developing foetus and bring on Cerebellar hypoplasia are injury, poisoning, and malnutrition. In Irish Setters and Wire-haired Fox Terriers, Cerebellar hypoplasia is associated with lissencephaly.

What is the cerebellum?

The cerebellum is the part of the dog’s brain responsible for controlling and coordinating movement. When a dog is born with Cerebellar hypoplasia, the cells of the cerebellum has not matured as they should prior to birth, which leads to incoordination and poor balance for the dog.

Symptoms of Cerebellar hypoplasia in dogs

In a puppy with Cerebellar hypoplasia, poor balance is one of the most prominent symptoms. The puppy might have a wide-based stance, i.e. stand with its paws far apart to remain more balanced, and some puppies seem to have no idea where their paws actually are, which causes them to appear clumsy and walk with a foot knuckled over. The gait can be stiff or high-stepping, and some dogs will constantly triple and fall. Some dogs will develop head and/or body tremors, especially when excited. The symptoms of Cerebellar hypoplasia range from mild to severe. Dogs with Cerebellar hypoplasia might appear light-headed, but they have the same mental alertness as normal dogs. The general health of the dog is also unaffected.

The symptoms of Cerebellar hypoplasia are evident at birth, or can be noticed within 2 weeks. They do not become worse with age.

Cerebellar hypoplasia treatment for dogs

There is no cure or treatment for Cerebellar hypoplasia. In mild cases, it is however possible for the dog to live a fairly normal life, although with a somewhat poorer sense of balance and coordination. If you feel that you can adjust the life of your dog to suit this, there is usually no need to put the dog to sleep. Cerebellar hypoplasia normally stays just as it is; it will neither get worse nor better as the dog matures. Some dogs will learn to compensate for the problems, at least to a certain degree. Dogs will Cerebellar hypoplasia will usually reach the normal age for their particular breed.

5 Commentsto About cerebral hypoplasia

  1. Julie S. Turner Lantz says:

    Meatball definitely falls in the mild category and will be fine – he already is walking so much better in the short period of time he’s been you (Tony). Thank you for bringing this to the attention of those of us who had no idea this existed with puppies – although why shouldn’t it since many ailments humans have, animals have as well. But just like with humans with disabilities, love, patience, attention and positive therapy will only help Meatball thrive. Where did you come from Tony – as you’re an Angel as well.

  2. Diane says:

    I had a cat with this problem. Her mother was a stray I found in my garage with her newborn. Vet said the mother probably had feline aids while pregnant. The kitten lived along and healthy life. Since she staggered, we named her Tipsy.

  3. jan jonaitis says:

    I am just wondering what the difference is between the hypoplasia and cerebral palsy? I understand what affects Meatball is bacterial or viral but both deal with muscular challenges. I love following you 2 rascals around. Thank you for sharing!

    • Meatball says:

      His lower end was underdeveloped in the womb and we’ve been able to encourage compensation and strength with growth. He has some canine cognitive issues bower they say neutering may correct that

  4. Eukie Garrett says:

    We just adopted pup w/ CH. She is a typical 5 month old puppy in all other ways. I want to make her life as comfy as possible & would appreciate any input. She stumbles & hits her head (hard) occasionally & this is a primary concern. A harness works much better than a collar & we can help balance her on walks. It seems there would be a group for people with CH dogs. Surprised there is not more information on helping them live comfortable lives, but abundance of info on probable causes. Thank you

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