Myelin Deficiency Average Cost

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What is Myelin Deficiency?

Myelin is the fatty protective sheath that covers every nerve in the body. This includes the nerves in the central nervous system and the nerves in the brain. When this protective covering becomes too thin the electrical impulses are lost between nerves; this is called hypomyelination. There are a few disorders that can cause this sheath to either decline or to not develop properly initially. The disorders relating to hypomyelination are genetic in nature and although the conditions can be managed, there is no cure at this time.

Hypomyelination is a disorder that causes a disruption in the electrical impulses between nerves due to a deficiency in the myelin sheath covering the nerves.


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Symptoms of Myelin Deficiency in Dogs

In early onset disorders:  

  • Inability to walk or stand
  • Incoordination
  • Shaking
  • Tremors that worsen with activity

In adult onset disorders:

  • Difficulty running or jumping
  • Hind limb lameness
  • Incontinence
  • Lack of coordination
  • Muscle wasting
  • Odd gait
  • Partial paralysis
  • Sores on top of the feet


Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

  • A progressive and fatal disease in which the myelin around the spinal cord begin to thin and disintegrate, leaving the nerve fibers unprotected
  • This is an adult onset disorder, usually occurring at 7-14 years of age

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

  • A very rare variant form of polyneuropathy, which is a disease characterized by the dysfunction of several nerves 

Hypomyelinating Neuropathy

  • Disease that can affect mostly male puppies of certain breeds, also known as “shaking puppy syndrome”
  • For some puppies this disorder is fatal, while others eventually grow out of most of the symptoms

Causes of Myelin Deficiency in Dogs

The causes of hypomyelination disorders are most often genetic in nature. Certain breeds are more likely to develop specific varieties of hypomyelination. 

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Boxer
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • English Sheepdog
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Weimaraner 
  • Welsh Corgi
  • Wire Fox Terrier

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy

  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Rottweiler

Hypomyelinating Neuropathy 

  • Australian Silky Terrier
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Catahoula Cur
  • Chihuahua
  • Chow Chow
  • Dalmatian
  • Samoyed
  • Springer Spaniel
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner

Diagnosis of Myelin Deficiency in Dogs

Your veterinarian will want a full history for your pet, including when the symptoms began and under what circumstances. Your dog or puppy will undergo a thorough physical exam, and tests will be run to analyze blood chemistry and check for imbalances or toxins in the system. The physical exam may also include a neurologic examination to determine if any portions of the spinal cord are damaged, and where any damage is located. X-rays of the chest and back area will be examined to screen for tumors along the spinal cord or other evidence of cancers, and a sample of the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid may also be analyzed. Tests may be run to detect the genetic mutation responsible for the disorders, although some dogs may carry the mutation without ever developing the actual condition.

Procedures that may be used to rule out other disorders:

  • CT (computed tomography) scan
  • Electromyography
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Myelography
  • Nerve conduction study

Diagnosis is considered a diagnosis of exclusion as the only definitive way to diagnose these disorders is to microscopically examine the spinal cord of the animal during necropsy. The technique used to make this diagnosis is called histopathology.

Treatment of Myelin Deficiency in Dogs

With the early onset disorder of hypomyelinating neuropathy there is no treatment. Many of the affected pups will outgrow at least the most obvious of symptoms, although there is a good chance that they will retain minor hind leg trembles throughout their lives. Some breeds will have a better prognosis than others. The form of genetic transfer is different in the Springer Spaniel breed. Females as well as males may be affected, although the male pups have much more pronounced symptoms. While the tremors that are present in female Springer Spaniel pups generally fade out by the time they reach four to six weeks old, it is almost always fatal for the male pups within the first six months. 

There is no cure for adult onset disorders either, but there are supportive measures that can be taken to improve your pet’s quality of life. Exercise and physical therapy are encouraged in many cases to delay the wasting of the muscles as well as to maintain flexibility and strength in the pelvic area. Water-based therapy techniques such as underwater treadmills and swimming may provide additional postponement of muscle deterioration. Manual “range of motion” exercises are notably beneficial.

Recovery of Myelin Deficiency in Dogs

Puppies that are affected by hypomyelinating neuropathy may require hand-feeding as the shaking makes it difficult to compete with siblings for food. Using the dam of an affected puppy for subsequent breeding is not suggested, nor is it recommended that the sisters be allowed to produce any litters. This is particularly important in the Springer Spaniel breed due to the disorder’s lethality. 

Dogs that develop hypomyelination disorders later in life benefit greatly from careful supportive care. Exercise is endorsed, including “range of motion” exercises and water-based physical therapy. Mobility devices such as special harnesses and wheel-carts can also be used to help keep your dog active longer. Well-padded bedding and soft, comfortable things should be available for your pet to rest on. These disorders can cause some incontinence in dogs as well, so removable covers and washable bedding are vital. As dogs may find have difficulty turning over in bed owners may need to turn them to avoid bedsores or lung collapse.

Myelin Deficiency Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Golden Retriever
3 Weeks
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

very shaky when trying to walk.

Our Golden Retriever named Echo had a litter of 6 puppies 3 weeks ago yesterday. They all seem very healthy, all nursing well.
"Sam" a male, seems to eat and vocalise as well as the other 5, but is VERY shaky when standing and trying to walk.
We first noticed 3 days ago, and has not subsided.

Is this Myelin Deficiency (Shaky Puppy Syndrome)and if so is there anything we can do to help?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Whilst myelin deficiency disorders may cause tremors and shaking, it is documented that this disorder doesn’t affect the central nervous system of Golden Retrievers (see link below). There are many different conditions which may cause shaking in a young pup from congenital disorders, hypothermia, toxins, malnutrition among other causes. You should take him in to your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Italian Greyhound
11 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Our 11 month old Italian greyhound ingested toxic palm tree seeds and toxic aloe’s about 3 weeks ago and became very sick vomiting and refusing any food and water. The Vet admitted her and put her on drip immediately. She was on a course of all of the below meds
Antibiotics Claset 10 days
Cerenia 4 days
Nexiam 5mg 2 weeks
Ulsanic liquid 10 days
About a 10 days ago she started with severe body shaking and balance problems which seemed to worsen every day. Please advise.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
There are different types of palm trees with seeds of varying toxicity, survival rates can be as low as 50:50 or worse; aloe vera poisoning in rare cases may lead to tremors. Supportive and symptomatic care is the best course of action in these cases as there is no cure and it is a case of giving as much support as possible during recovery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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