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What is Shaker Syndrome?

Shaker syndrome occurs suddenly in young, primarily small, primarily white dogs with no preference to gender. Several breeds have a higher occurrence of shaker syndrome: the Bischon Frise, Maltese, West Highland White Terrier, Poodle and Samoyed. The onset of shaker syndrome is marked by a full-body tremors that can be mild or severe; however, despite the appearance, a dog affected with shaker syndrome is likely not in pain and does not affect your dog’s personality.

Shaker syndrome, or white shaker disease syndrome, is a stress-related disorder occurring most commonly in small white dogs that causes incoordination, rapid eye movements and full-body muscle tremors. Shaker syndrome is form of idiopathic cerebellitis, or an inflammation of the cerebellum, which is the portion of the brain that regulates voluntary muscle movements.

Shaker Syndrome Average Cost

From 28 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $6,500

Average Cost

$2,500

Symptoms of Shaker Syndrome in Dogs

The symptom of shaker syndrome is the full-body tremor, often accompanied with random rapid eye movements. At the onset, severity of the tremors will increase for several days and then stabilize until your dog is treated. The tremors are intention tremors, which means they are worse when your dog becomes excited or is trying to execute a specific action, and they diminish or disappear when your dog is resting or relaxed.

At first, you may confuse the tremors with signs of hypothermia (low body temperature) or anxiety, particularly if you have a short-coated dog in winter, or a dog that has exhibited nervous shaking in the past. Additionally, tremors can also be a sign of other conditions of the nervous system, so it is important to identify tremors quickly and seek veterinary help as soon as possible.

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Causes of Shaker Syndrome in Dogs

The exact cause of shaker syndrome is not yet known; however, it is often associated with a mild central nervous system inflammation called nonsuppurative encephalomyelitis. It is not known is the inflammation is the cause of shaker syndrome, or if there is an unknown underlying cause of both. Because of the higher occurrence in certain breeds, there is likelihood that shaker syndrome is congenital.

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Diagnosis of Shaker Syndrome in Dogs

To aid the veterinarian in diagnosis, be sure to provide a thorough account of your dog’s health and behavioral history leading up to the onset of symptoms. The veterinarian will conduct a complete blood count, a biochemistry profile and a urinalysis and electrolyte panel. The results of these tests will be used to rule out other possible diagnosis. Additionally, the veterinarian will conduct a total physical examination.

A sample will be taken of your dog’s cerebrospinal fluid will be taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis of the nervous system and its function. The process of differential diagnosis will be used to rule out other possible causes, such as seizures, hypothermia, anxiety or fear.

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Treatment of Shaker Syndrome in Dogs

In severe cases, your dog may be hospitalized for stabilization, but treatment can often occur on an outpatient basis. Most dogs will respond promptly to immunosuppressive levels of corticosteroids, which have proven effective at suppressing the inflammatory response.

Additionally, tremors can be ameliorated with Valium to diminish anxiety and relax muscles.

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Recovery of Shaker Syndrome in Dogs

Most dogs recover within a week; while some dogs never recover. Corticosteroids will be gradually reduced until they are eliminated. Your dog may remain symptom-free, but if symptoms return, treatment will resume. Some days need to remain on corticosteroid treatment for long periods or the rest of their lives.

After diagnosis and initial treatment, you will need to schedule regular evaluations in order to monitor your dog’s recovery throughout the course of corticosteroid treatment. One reason for this is to monitor for adverse side affects, which include vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, diarrhea and ulcers.

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Shaker Syndrome Average Cost

From 28 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $6,500

Average Cost

$2,500

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Shaker Syndrome Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mauzer

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Approximately 3

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Body And Head Shakes. Panting

Stan Lee is a rescue so his actual age is unknown though he is young. He looks to be a small terrier mix and had no issues before Tuesday. I noticed his back end sway and then some slight shaking. His blood panel came back clean but he was moderately dehydrated. The vet suspected possible poisoning. We searched for anything that he could have gotten into the only possibility being Spectricode Ant Killer. They kept him in an iv with fluids and a sedative the full day. It’s 4 days and his shaking has not lessened. Any ideas or other things we can search for?

Aug. 1, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, it would be an abnormal thing to see in such a young dog but there are neurological issues that could cause these issues. GME, infections, brain tumors, epilepsy are all common neurological issues seen in young animals. Unfortunately, these diseases need many costly tests to help figure out what is going on. Discuss with your vet what other issues could be causing this and what other tests can be done to figure out what is going on. Good Luck.

Aug. 1, 2020

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Chase

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Maltese

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1 Year

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Lame

My dog was diagnosed with a severe case of white dog shakers. We came up with this diagnosis after 2 days of severe shaking, lameness, not wanting to eat, etc. He is getting steroids and has gotten 2 doses. How long does it usually take for this to start working. She said he almost acted seizurelike this morning and didn't want to get up. What is his prognosis? All labs have been fine.

May 23, 2018

Chase's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Typically you would see a response to treatment within two weeks of starting steroids, but each case varies; you should give the treatment as prescribed and monitor for improvement. Two doses is still very early to say how effective the treatment will be or if there would be any response to treatment. Some dogs may require lifelong low dose steroid treatment, but prognosis is too early to call at this point. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

May 24, 2018

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Riley

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miniature poodle

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13 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking, Rapid Breathing, Peeing

I have a 13 year old apricot miniature poodle. He has been shaking and panting heavily, especially at night. He seems very anxious and is awake and trying to sleep near our head at night until 2 or 3 in the morning. Obviously no one is sleeping. He's also wet on the carpet multiple times lately, something he's never done before. We've had him to the vet twice, and both times blood work and urinalysis came back relatively normal, just a small amount of protein in his urine. He was given antibiotics just in case there was a UTI, but cultures came back negative. Could this be shaker syndrome?

April 13, 2018

Riley's Owner

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1 Recommendations

Riley is old to have an onset of shaker syndrome since we normally see this condition presenting in dogs younger than two or three years of age; it sounds more like anxiety brought on during night time but I cannot say for certain. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 13, 2018

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Mya

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Head Tilt

I have a two year old 135lb female lab. We have been to the vet for 6 weeks now trying to figure out what is going on with her. At first we thought it could be epilepsy because she tremors like she is cold only with her legs until she has to lay down before falling. Then possibly inner ear . Her liver count was a little high so we started her on a pill to reduce that and cephalexin for the inner ear infection. She has been on those for 1 1/2 weeks now she has gotten to where she tremors when stimulated by walking or standing etc and so i contacted her doctor and they called in a medication for epilepsy to see if this will help but i was told about the white dog shaker syndrome. Other than the leg tremors and her head tilts to the right somewhat she is perfectly healthy she is alert during the episodes when they happen during eating she continues eat until she can stand again. And she is real clingy to me. Cephalexin 500mg 3tabs every 12hrs zonisamide 100mg 2tabs every 12hrs denamarin 425mg 1 tablet daily after all night fasting

March 13, 2018

Mya's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Shaker syndrome is uncommon in Labs, and it seems to be at this point the next best thing to do would be to seek a referral to a neurology specialist to try and determine the cause of these signs for her. I hope that they are able to get to the bottom of it and return her to a normal health state.

March 13, 2018

I have a ten months old Lab, that started shaking yesterday morning I took her in, thinking maybe she got into poison, she didn't respond to the antidotes or siezure meds. They finally just sedated her and are giving her fluids. I called this morning and she's alert and wagging her tail, but still shaking

March 22, 2018

Little A.

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Dosty

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Shihpoo

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6 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Loss Of Balance

My adopted Puppy gets these shaking episodes once a week. He only shakes his head from side to side. When he tries to walk he seems drunk and unbalanced. Episodes usually last about 3 hours, usually with some rest and sleep. Normally he is a very happy doggie. Could this be Shakers syndrome?

Feb. 28, 2018

Dosty's Owner


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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. There are many reasons that that could be happening, and it would be best to have Dosty examined by a veterinarian to determine if these episodes require any treatment. If you are able to video the episodes, it would be helpful, as these things never seem to happen when they are in the exam room.

Feb. 28, 2018

How is Dosty now? Do you have a diagnosis for her? My puppy has similar symptoms but the vets don't have a diagnosis yet even after several tests.

June 18, 2018

Yogita


My husband will be 81 years old next month and was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 13 months ago. his main symptom were and rigidity or stiffness of his right-hand side.he also had some difficulty writing. The original diagnosis was confirmed three months later by a second neurologist. He was on one tablet of pramipexole (Sifrol), 0.25 mg three times a day. Four months ago his neurologist added Biperiden, 2 mg. he takes half a tablet of Biperiden three times a day. Since the original diagnosis, his stiffness has slowly increased. He lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medication I took him off the Siferol (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started him on PD natural herbal formula we ordered from GREEN HOUSE HERBAL CLINIC, I spoke to few people who used the treatment here in Canada and they all gave a positive response, his symptoms totally declined over a 6 weeks use of the Green House Parkinson’s disease natural herbal formula. He is now almost 81 and doing very well, the disease is totally reversed! (Visit their website www . Greenhouseherbalclinic . com) I am thankful to nature, herbs are truly gift from God. Share with friends!!

March 6, 2018

Donna K.

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Coco

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Maltese

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4 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Tremors All Over Her Body

I have a 4 year old Maltese, who was diagnosed last summer (at the age of 3) with Little White Dog Shaker Syndrome. It is well managed with daily low doses of prednisone. She had been a pet therapy dog for the previous two years. My vet said she shouldn't receive a rabies vaccine, due to her condition. Now she can't do pet therapy. My vet is on medical leave, and I need to know if it is safe to have my dog vaccinated for rabies at this time? There is no information on the web about this. Please, can anyone advise me? Where should I look for more information? I need to make an informed decision. Diane Zaba, Norfolk, VA

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MILO

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Maltese

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2 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Shaker Syndrome

I HAVE MALTESE PUPPY HE IS 2 MONTH ,3 DAYS AGO I DROPPED MYXACORT POLYMIXIN N.H 3 TIMES IN HIS EARS , HIS HEAD STAR SHAKING TILL NOW,, WHATS THE PROBLEM PLEASE HELP ME

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Carly

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Maltese x Pomeranian

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7 Years

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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

Shaking
Stiffness
Loss Of Balance

My Maltese cross was diagnosed with shaker syndrome, but all of the articles I'm reading say that the symptoms last for days. Carly's episodes last just minutes. She'll lose her balance (usually lifting one or both legs on one side and falling over), get stiff, shiver, and usually licks her lips a lot, or pants and drools. The episodes last between 5 and 30 minutes, and then she's fine. Occasionally, she will have an episode a day or two apart, but usually it's weeks or months between. She is 7 years old, and has had them as long as we've had her, just over 2 years. Does this match with a mild case, or should we get a second opinion? The vet said that she doesn't need to take steroids because they happen so infrequently. Thanks!

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Qwinny

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Bichon Frise

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19 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

Shaking

Hello, my 19 months old bichon frise experienced shaking episode as we were preparing for the long trip by plane. Namely, we were not paying attention to her for 4 hours, she was sniffing the suitcases and she squeeked as my husband took her and started shaking for almost 10 minutes. We have noticed significantly less shaky episodes on two occasions - as she was at vet and as she was in the plane cabin. Today she shakes her head few times and it passed quickly. We will bring her to vet for full analysis though she was declared healthy month ago despite shaking that started as we entered the ambulance. Thank you for comment.

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Fergie

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Westie

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2 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Noticeable Shake Or Tremor That Do

We have a 13 week old Westie puppy we adopted from a breeder I found on the AKC website. She has a noticeable shake or tremor at times when she is still. I don't notice it at all when she is active. It happens about 8 -12 times per day. She doesn't lose focus or seem to be in any pain. It is not affecting her eating or playing. Our vet mentioned this syndrome and ordered labs. They were mostly normal (HTC was 34.4, RBC was 5.04, Glob was 1.9) My concern is that she is so young. Will this worsen with time? Is she too young to be properly diagnosed?

Shaker Syndrome Average Cost

From 28 quotes ranging from $1,500 - $6,500

Average Cost

$2,500

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