Hypomyelination in dogs occurs when the dog’s body doesn’t make enough myelin. Myelin is a material that covers the axon on nerves and is crucial to a correctly functioning nervous system. Since this condition affects the myelin on nerves, it is a central nervous system disease. Another form of this condition is called shaky puppy syndrome, which has many similar symptoms but is caused by a sex-linked trait.
Some of the symptoms that hypomyelination in dogs causes is tremors, weakness, bunny hopping, bad reflexes, and coordination problems. These symptoms will be seen just days after the puppy is born. The dog may have such weakness and lack of muscles in the back legs that the dog is completely unable to stand up by themselves. The symptoms may seem to be worse when the dog is doing physical activity. Most dogs will learn how to cope and symptoms may improve within time. Sometimes dogs with hypomyelination have a complete disappearance of symptoms around the age of one year old. This most commonly happens with the breeds Chow Chows and Weimaraners. If your dog experiences any unusual symptoms, it is always important to contact a veterinarian.
The veterinarian will diagnose hypomyelination in your dog by doing a physical examination of the dog and the dog’s symptoms. The veterinarian will examine a sample of a nerve to check to see how much myelin is on it. The veterinarian may also choose to do an MRI on the dog.
The cause is not known, but it is thought that hypomyelination in dogs may be caused by a toxin or virus in the environment because symptoms usually improve and sometimes even disappear with time. There is not a cure for this disease, and there also is not a treatment. The problem with dogs that are affected with conditions like this is that it is really hard for these puppies to find a home. If you have a dog that has hypomyelination you should provide plenty of care and love for the dog because they are just like every other dog.
If you have a dog that has this condition, you should not breed them because the cause is unknown, so breeding may pass hypomyelination on. It’s important to have the condition diagnosed by a veterinarian because the dog could have a form of hypomyelination, such as shaky puppy syndrome, which is genetic and can be passed on to puppies or a completely different condition entirely. A lot of conditions have similar symptoms so there is a wide range of possibilities.