White Shaker Dog Syndrome

White Shaker Dog Syndrome is characterized by generalized tremor occurring in young">

White Shaker Dog Syndrome

White Shaker Dog Syndrome is characterized by generalized tremor occurring in young">

White Shaker Dog Syndrome

White Shaker Dog Syndrome is characterized by generalized tremor occurring in young">

White Shaker Dog Syndrome

White Shaker Dog Syndrome is characterized by generalized tremor occurring in young, predominantly small dogs. Because this syndrome was initially seen in larger numbers of dogs with white coats, the name White Shaker Dog Syndrome has also been used to describe it. Maltese and West Highland White Terriers are commonly affected.      

The association between the disease and dogs with white coats has been curious. Some have suggested that because melanin, a skin and hair pigment, and some are formed in the body from the same product (tyrosine), these dogs may be predisposed to the tremors due to an abnormality in tyrosine metabolism. It is important to realize, however, that breeds of other colors may also have a similar problem, including Yorkshire Terriers, Australian Silky Terriers and Miniature Pinschers. So much for the melanin theory.

Dogs with this disease have a fine tremor of the entire body. Young dogs (9 months to 3 years old) of either sex are most frequently affected. The tremor is usually persistent throughout the day and will worsen with handling and excitement. The magnitude of the tremor may increase or remain persistent without therapy. Other clinical signs associated with a neurological system abnormality, such as head tilts, limb weakness and seizures, and are occasionally seen.

This disease is most often associated with a mild central nervous system inflammation This inflammation commonly affects the cerebellum, and dysfunction of this part of the brain may be one of the initiators of the tremor. Brain inflammation is determined diagnostically by looking at a sample of cerebrospinal fluid under the microscope. In an affected dog, this fluid contains increased numbers of, white blood cells with normal to mildly elevated protein concentrations.

White Shaker Dog Syndrome is usually treated effectively with corticosteroids. The corticosteroids are given in relatively high dosages initially, and then the dose is decreased as the clinical signs improve. It is important to not decrease the corticosteroid dose too quickly, or clinical signs may return.

Many dogs, after being treated for three to six months with corticosteroids, may be normal and may not require additional treatment. Some dogs may require low doses of corticosteroids every other day to keep clinical signs under control. Overall, the disease is rarely fatal.

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Please if you believe your dog has a problem, seek the advice of your vet.  I am personally not familiar with this disease and can not help you.

A special thanks to Stephen for allowing me to print this article on my web site.   Many problems in dogs are common.  The Westie Site is a wonderful informational site and I highly recommend a visit. 

Stephen
Westie Rescue
PO Box 342
Dunn Loring, VA  22027
703-671-1039 24 Hr Infoline
www.WestieRescue.com
stephen@westierescue.com

 

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