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Find information on animal health topics, written for the veterinary professional.

Congenital and Inherited Brain Stem Disorders

By Rebecca A. Packer, MS, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), Assistant Professor, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, and Department of Basic Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University

Small Animals

Congenital vestibular disease has been reported in German Shepherds, English Cocker Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, and Siamese and Burmese cats. Signs are bilateral and may be accompanied by deafness. This is likely a peripheral syndrome affecting the vestibular apparatus, and labyrinthitis has been identified histologically in some pups. The disorder appears inherited. There is no treatment. Deafness is permanent, although the clinical signs of vestibular dysfunction may improve as the animal learns to compensate.

Canine multiple system degeneration has been identified in Kerry Blue Terriers and Chinese Crested dogs. Clinical signs reflect both cerebellar and brain stem dysfunction, including ataxia, dysmetria, and festination. The disorder is inherited as an autosomal recessive mutation. There is no treatment.