Shaker Syndrome in Dogs

Shaker Syndrome in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Shaker Syndrome in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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.
Youtube Play

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

Worried about the cost of Shaker Syndrome treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

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

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

Lucy

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

16 Months

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking

I have a 16 mo old female Maltese. She seems to have White Dog Shaker Syndrome...head jerks... total body shakes... a few times a day.... more when I pick her up. Otherwise she seems fine. Plays well, eats well, sleeps well. What natural inflammatory is good and what dosage for a 2.5 lb dog?

Feb. 17, 2018

Lucy's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Without examining Lucy and being able to assess her neurologic function, I can't diagnose or recommend any medications for her. It would be best to have her examined by a veterinarian to determine that that is what is going on, and if so, get any recommendations for possible treatments for her, if any are needed. I hope that everything goes well for her.

Feb. 17, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Toby

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

1 Year

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Shaking

Our year and a half old white Terrier/Maltese mix Toby was just diagnosed with Shaker Syndrome yesterday. He had an initial Steroid shot and Valium along with a prescription for both in pills prescribed. This was done at the Emergency clinic and we have not been to our Vet. He is responding well and does very good when not under any stimulus. My question is should I talk to the Dr. about CBD? I would also like your opinion on the oil for him.

Jan. 15, 2018

Toby's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

2 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Without examining him, I can't comment on what medications might be recommended for him, but I'm not sure that CBD oil would be helpful for his condition? Shaker syndrome doesn't tend to be a painful condition, and it isn't really a seizure condition either, so I'm not sure of the usefulness of the oil in his situation. If you want to talk with your veterinarian about it, they may have a different opinion than mine after they've been able to examine him. I hope that he does well.

Jan. 15, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

Shaker Syndrome Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,500

Need pet insurance?
Need pet insurance?

Learn more in the Wag! app

Five starsFive starsFive starsFive starsFive stars

43k+ reviews

Install


© 2023 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved.