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What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?

Cerebellar hypoplasia is a non-life threatening condition that occurs when the cerebellum does not fully develop in kittens while in utero. The cerebellum is the portion of the cat’s brain responsible for fine motor skills and can affect the cat’s ability to walk, jump, run, or accomplish other tasks involving coordination and spatial recognition. Cerebellar hypoplasia is generally not a well-known condition and can therefore be mistaken for other diseases by veterinarians who have not previously encountered the condition.

Cerebellar Hypoplasia Average Cost

From 255 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats

Symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia will vary in severity depending on the level of underdevelopment. In some cats, effects will be minor and only occur when the cat is excited or under stress. In others, the symptoms will be always present and may affect the normal daily routine. Symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia will appear at birth and may include:

  • Stumbling or wobbly gait often referred to as a “drunken sailor” walk
  • Inability to jump to high surfaces
  • Tremors in head or neck
  • Trembling of legs
  • Inability to stand

Symptoms do not worsen or progress over time, but may diminish as a cat learns to compensate.

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Causes of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats

Cerebellar hypoplasia is typically caused by some type of trauma or infection that occurred in utero, or while the mother cat was pregnant with the affected kitten. Common in utero conditions that may cause cerebellar hypoplasia are:

  • Mother contracting feline panleukopenia virus while pregnant
  • Mother contracting parvovirus while pregnant
  • Malnutrition of mother while pregnant
  • Other trauma to kittens while in the womb
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Diagnosis of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats

Diagnosis of cerebellar hypoplasia will begin with your veterinarian ruling out conditions that may present with similar neurological symptoms. Epilepsy and some infectious diseases may mimic the weakness presented by Cerebellar Hypoplasia. Your vet may order a full blood panel to rule out these diseases.

A thorough medical history and a history of the progression and first appearance of symptoms will be important in helping your vet diagnose Cerebellar Hypoplasia in your cat. One of the distinguishing features of Cerebellar Hypoplasia is that the symptoms appear immediately at birth and do not worsen or progress over time. It may be difficult to notice symptoms in very young kittens since all cats this age tend to be uncoordinated as they learn to walk, jump and explore. Noting the specific symptoms of your cat will help your veterinarian determine the severity of the condition. It will also be important to provide any available history on your cat’s mother and her condition in utero, especially if it is know that she contracted feline panleukopenia virus while pregnant.

The definitive diagnostic tool for cerebellar hypoplasia will be a CT or MRI scan of your cat’s brain, although a veterinarian very familiar with the condition may be able to diagnose without this test. In order to undergo these procedures, your cat will need to be sedated or anesthetized so that they remain still and quiet while detailed images are taken. This procedure is painless and noninvasive, although all sedation and anesthesia has some inherent risk.

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Treatment of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats

There is currently no known treatment to cure your cat of cerebellar hypoplasia. Many cats will learn to adapt to their loss of fine motor skills over time. In some cases, physical therapy may help teach your cat alternate skills that may increase mobility and quality of life. 

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Recovery of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Cats

Cats with cerebellar hypoplasia have a good prognosis for quality and length of life. Since the condition is not progressive or fatal, symptoms will not worsen over time or affect the overall lifespan of your cat. Cats with cerebellar hypoplasia will live the same length of time as non-affected cats and have no other behavioral abnormalities or health issues as a result of the condition.

Owners of cats with cerebellar hypoplasia may wish to modify living conditions in order to accommodate their cat’s level of activity and loss of motor skills. Sides on litter boxes can be raised to allow for additional support while using the restroom. Owners have also had good success with installing ramps to areas of the home that include stairs and with teaching affected cats to meow or signal when they want to be picked up or transported to the bed, couch or area of the house they may not be able to access, given their mobility. Cats with this condition should not be allowed outdoors.

While many shelters choose to euthanize cats that suffer from cerebellar hypoplasia, it is important to note that the disease is not a death sentence and affected cats can make excellent and loving companions for those willing to provide an appropriate level of physical support.

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Cerebellar Hypoplasia Average Cost

From 255 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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Cerebellar Hypoplasia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Gulliver

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Mixed breed

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10 Weeks

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

I have a 10 week old, mixed breed kitten, who, at the age of about 3 weeks suddenly flopped over and lost all coordination. He is one of four kittens in the litter. One passed away at 1 week, the other 2 are fine. It looks like one breed may have been either a Seal Point Siamese or a Himalayan. At first I thought my grandson's service dog stepped on him, but now I'm thinking he may have CH. He has difficulty walking, balancing and controlling his head. He does use the litter box by leaning against the sides but he has to eat lying down. I was wondering if an Assisi Loop would help him.

July 21, 2018

Gulliver's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Cats with cerebellar hypoplasia tend to compensate to that condition well and can live very normal lives as indoor cats. She just needs to have special care, but can have a relatively normal life.

July 21, 2018

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Mikey

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Feral

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4 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Cant Get Up
Cant Get Up Her Back Legs Hurt

My cat can not use her back legs, what should I do? I first thought she got injuried, but her it hapoend the same with her sister, just not as severe. I think she has CH, but I do not k ow what should I do.

June 29, 2018

Mikey's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without examining Mikey, I cannot say what the specific underlying cause is, cerebellar hypoplasia is a possible cause; however other conditions like spinal trauma, nerve damage, blood clots among other causes may also lead to paralysis. You should have a Veterinarian examine Mikey to determine a cause, however I cannot give any assurance that function will return to the limbs. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 29, 2018

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Dexter

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SHORT HAIRED CAT

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10 Months

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hello, My cat Dexter has mild CH. It used to be quite bad when he was younger (he used to fall down a lot) but now that he's almost 1 you couldn't tell he's got CH unless you pet him on the back, then he tends to fall. My other cat goes out everyday and Dexter is starting to show a lot of interest in the outside, and I don't know how long we'll be able to keep him in. I'd like to buy him a harness so we can "walk" him in the garden but I'm worried he won't be able to walk with it. Have you got any experience about CH cat going outside one way or another? Thank you

May 30, 2018

Dexter's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

The problem with cases of cerebellar hypoplasia is that each cat is affected differently depending on the severity of the condition; some cats are only mildly affected and lead perfectly normal lives whilst others may need to be euthanised. I cannot give a generalised opinion on Dexter as it is really a case by case basis, I would keep him indoors if you’re concerned but if your other cat is going out it may be hard to do. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 31, 2018

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Mable

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tabby short haired

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Picky Eating Habits
Picky Eating Habits,Underweight

I have a 1 year old female with mild to moderate cerebellar hypoplasia and was wondering if there is any link between feline CH and either an inability to gain weight or develop muscle mass. When she first came to us she had worms (This was around 1 to 3 months) but was too young for any sort of deworming medication. Nowadays she is extremely picky about the environment she eats in and what she eats...and although we've made some much needed adjustments I still don't see any significant improvements when it comes to her weight gain. We have lots of animals so I wanted to get a confirmation before I take her to the vet for testing. Even when she eats it seems like she can only manage to consume small portions. It's seems to have gotten worse as she's aged. When she was a kitten she would eat a lot and seemingly not gain any weight. Now she is eating very little and while she isn't losing weight I don't think she is at a healthy weight for her size or age. I am aware that the causes could be mental and do have to note that she has some signs of OCD and anxiety.

May 9, 2018

Mable's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Her weight problems may be related to her CH, but that isn't normal with that disease. Since you aren't sure what might be going on with her, I think that it would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian, as they can look for intestinal parasites, assess her general health, and recommend any dietary changes that she may benefit from. I hope that all goes well for her.

May 9, 2018

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cerebellum

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Best Athenian Stray

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Epelepsia

Hello, good day. I'm Dimitri contacting you from Athena, Hellas - Greece. Without any intention to become bothering, i'd like you to read the following and also ask somethings, please: I own a CH Cat, her name (Female) is Cerebellum. If we get the chance i'll send you pictures in the upcoming emails; cerebellum was born by a stray Cat around my neighbor who's well and fine doin' and around 3 and a half, years old now nearly. Had several births, 2 prior cerebellum, all kittens fine. gave births again and the fifth will be soon i estimate. cerebellum was the only one to survive out of total 5 kittens 1 year ago.. As said above, i do not have intention to bother but if possible, i'll look forward to further communication. The CAT is Severe level by veterinarian perspective and judgment. However, after all this full year and despite she's frankly speaking an ultimate add-on weight, please help stray out some things. Should i start with giving a prescription to her? She has sometimes epelepsia symptoms as well. She has superior level of understanding and communicating however, she naturally needs something to little bit boost her up. Is there anything that can be done? thank you for your attention. Siokas Dimitri dimitrisiokas@gmail.com skype: dimiri_elser cell: +306944181359 Thank you

April 26, 2018

cerebellum's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If I understand your question, your cat was born with cerebellar hypoplasia, and has some proprioceptive and seizure problems. If that is the case, she may need medication to control her seizures, but there are no medications available to help with the lackof coordination that comes with this condition. You just need to keep her inside, and keep her safe so that she can't hurt herself. I hope that all goes well for her.

April 27, 2018

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Dipper

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Calico

dog-age-icon

14 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Wobbly

My kitten is 14 weeks old and has been diagnosed with CH, I forgot to ask my local vet if him regularly sitting in a split will hurt him to vetting, do you know if it’s something we should do physical therapy to help with?

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Weebles

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tabby

dog-age-icon

17 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Paralyzation

Actually a cat from the Central Dakota Humane Society. She is a tabby female with dark green eyes and she is amazing. Would love to hold her but sadly they say she is too medically fragile (and I’m sacred I’ll drop her. She was born in March 2002 (2 years before me) and I love her. While your there you can go and pet her and tell how Beautiful she is. During my (almost) 3 years of volunteering there I always see her last. She is the best

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Hamlet

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black mix

dog-age-icon

2 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Rolling. Hard Time Scooting.

<2 week old kittens rolling, not scooting. We lost 2 of original 4. 1 is worse than the other. 1 seems to go into a coma: breathing and heartbeat or normal, just cannot wake him. the worse one take a bottle better, more consistently. Sometimes have to tube feed.

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Kairi

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Calico

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Unable To Keep Balance

My daughter has a cat who all of a sudden began showering signs of CH at 4 months. She didn't notice the problem with walking until then. Is there something else that could cause these symptoms? The best days it's CH, but she was told by others that it can't be because it the symptoms started later than at birth... or were only noticed at 4 months. Any input would be great. She just wants answers

dog-name-icon

Chuni

dog-breed-icon

Bengal

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Disorientation

My cat eats normally and having no problems with daily life but sometime it disbalances while walking for 10/15 sec and then everything is alright again. This problem has strated 5/6 days ago and haplened thrice with an average gap of 1 day. Why is it happening?

Cerebellar Hypoplasia Average Cost

From 255 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,000

Average Cost

$500

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