Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Youtube Play

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.

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

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.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Shaker Syndrome Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,500

arrow-up-icon

Top

Shaker Syndrome Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Mauzer

dog-age-icon

Approximately 3

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

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

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

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

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1 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

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Chase

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

6 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lame
Shaking

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

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

6 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

Was this experience helpful?

Shaker Syndrome Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

Compare plans
advertisement image
Ask a vet
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install