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White Shaker Dog Syndrome

by Nikki

My dog was diagnosed with White Shaker Dog Syndrome or Idiopathic Cerebellitis. This is a rare disease that is an acute onset of tremor, seen primarily in small, white, adult dogs. I am looking for additional information about this disease.


Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that many of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinarian medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.

I searched all over for information on this and can not find it. I did find a discussion where a couple of vets said that they had never heard of it. One vet's theory was that it could be a name given to the results of a dog with a bad viral infection that caused nerve damage causing the dog to shake. I know that they call the nerve damage after a dog has distemper Shakey Dog Syndrome. I am really interested in finding out about this also. Please send me what you get on it via my email. How is your dog doing ?
-Marsha A.

My vet also said that this syndrome will cause either blindness or deafness, or both. I have never seen it myself, but I am glad it is a rare condition.

Thanks Marsha for asking. She is okay we are waiting to see if the Valium she is taking is going to work. If not she has to have 3 months of steroid treatments. I want to avoid that because steroids will break down her immune system. She is sleeping lots which is good, when she sleeps she does not shake. I have a small article from the vet which discusses the disease and I am sure it is somehow related to the shakey problem noted in puppies. I found a discussion where someone's puppy got a "Shakey Puppy Syndrome". The article specifically discusses that the disease is " primarily found in small, white, adult dogs. Maltese, poodles and West Highland white terriers are most frequently effected". I am going to go to the library at lunch today and see if I can find any additional information. Thanks again for checking.

Nikki, my dog was also diagnosed with White Dog Shaker Syndrome. I posted a query six weeks ago and had absolutely no response.It turned out that I took Baby to the local Vet Med Teaching Hospital. She was examined by a neurologist. He told me this is a disease of the cerebellum and it is treated with Prednisone. After two to three days the shaking stopped however we continued with the Prednisone to wean her down. When we stopped the shaking started again. At a followup visit the neurologist said he did not want her to shake at all and started another round of Prednisone. By the way I am not talking about a little tiny tremor--I mean originally it was severe shaking. Currently I am supposed to keep her on 5mg of Prednisone daily for four weeks. I don't know what he'll want me to do after that. I would love to hear anyone else's experience with this syndrome. Another vet told me that the shaking could even affect her blood suger levels causing hypoglycemia which would cause even more shaking. I know Prednisone has its down side and is a dangerous drug but I understand there is no alternative to treating this disease since there is no cure.

Hi! I am so sorry you are going through this with your little one. Due to Theo's%0arecent problems, I searched the archives and came with many questions to my vet. He had not heard of this, but%0alooked it up. His reference explained that it was a breakdown of the mylen...I think%0athat that is what covers or protects the neuro transmitters in the brain.%0aThus, there is a break down and inability to control things like eye movement and movement of the extremeties. It might be compared, though not exactly, to MS in people, he said.%0aMy vet is not computer friendly yet, but credits the internet for a lot of seemingly good education and a lot of questions being brought into his office. So, Jay, thanks again for the impact of your effort! (Please forgive me if I understood incorrectly or stated something inaccurately, but I thought I would try to pass on what I understood. I think I am close. Perhaps it will be a basis for clarification!)

Thanks to everyone who has offered information regarding this disease. I have not been able to find much on it, but your info has helped me create a list of questions for my vet. I would like to relay this short article which I have regarding this disease. This article comes from, I believe, "Clinical Problems: Signs and Symptoms", chapter "Disorders of Involuntary Movement. My vet found the article and copied it for me. I am sorry ahead of time for any typos. White Shaker Dog Syndrome - Idiopathic Cerebellitis. An acute on set of tremor is seen primarily in small, white, adult dogs. Maltese, poodles and West Highland white terriers are effected most frequently, but the condition can occur in other breeds that are not white. We have seen several silver poodles, for example. The tremor worsens with movement, an intention tremor, and disappears at rest. Tremor of the eye is common. The disease is nonprogressive after the first 2 to 3 days. Spontaneous remission may occur. Other than tremor and slight degree of ataxia, the neurologic examination is normal. The tremor is worse than usually expected with cerebellar disease and the ataxia is less. The few dogs necropsied had mild nonsuppurative inflammation of the nervous system not confined to the cerebellum. Speculated causes include viral or immune-mediated inflammatory disease. The relation to the white coat color has led to hypotheses on relation to tyrosine metabolism; however, as Parker points out, these are not albino animals. Treatment is with immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids, diazepan or both. The corticosteroid should be given in decreasing doses for 8 to 12 weeks. Stopping therapy early may lead to relapse. Clinical improvements is expected in 2 to 3 days. The response to treatment is usually dramatic, but some dogs are less responsive. Relapses following recovery have been seen.

Nikki,Thanks for sharing the article you found. It sure fits the pattern I have experienced with Baby's illnes and response to medications. She is doing fine now. Did your puppy respond to the Valium only or did you have to put her on steroids? It would be great to know if there are any other medications that would work besides Prednisone.Thanks again for sharing.

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