Disorder - Neuronal Vacuolar DisorderOrgan Systems Involved
Affected dogs suffer from one or more abnormalities in certain areas of the brain and spinal cord, resulting in nervous system disorders.
Neuronal vacuolar disorder is a disease of puppies in which areas of the nervous system become less functional due to the development of cavities or holes in normal nerve tissue. Dogs with this disorder display physical and mental deterioration. The related physical problems include generalised weakness that affects all four limbs, the hind legs being weaker than the fore legs. This weakness progressively worsens within seven to eight weeks of age. Also, signs of clumsiness and difficulty climbing stairs, difficulty exercising and slowed and uncoordinated body movement start as early as six weeks of age. These symptoms cause mild to severe lameness, in which the dog is unable to walk. Continuous repetitive twitching of the muscles is usually visible and can be felt. There may be exaggeration of reflexes, barking difficulties or failure to bark and difficult or abnormal swallowing due to accumulation of food and saliva in the oesophagus (the tube between the mouth and the stomach). This leads to compression of the windpipe causing breathing difficulty. Mentally, signs of behavioural changes are seen, such as inappropriate aggressive behaviour towards litter mates, anxiousness and difficulty in training, however alertness and responsiveness are not affected.
Dogs at Risk
Puppies, two to eight months of age.
Neuronal Vacuolar Disorder
Further Reference Material [OMIA Number]