Diseases & Conditions
What is ataxia?
Ataxia is the inability of your dog to control voluntary muscle movements.
What will ataxia look like in my dog?
The symptoms of ataxia include loss of coordination and/or muscle control that may result in stumbling, staggering, swaying, dizziness or falling.
How does my dog get ataxia?
Any disease of the cerebellum (the part of the brain that controls balance), including infections or brain tumors, can lead to cerebellar ataxia. Ataxia may also be the result of a hereditary birth defect or a brain injury. Hound ataxia which, as the name suggests, is found in hound dogs, is often the result of degenerative myelopathy. Ataxia may also be the result of metabolic disorders, dietary insufficiencies, or an unintended side effect of certain medications.
How is ataxia diagnosed?
Your vet will perform bloodwork and a neurological exam in which some of your dog's spinal fluid will be analyzed and diagnostic imaging techniques such as x-rays and MRIs will be used.
How is ataxia treated?
The treatment of ataxia is based on treating the underlying cause. Afflicted dogs will require special care such as walking aids and physical therapy.
How is ataxia prevented?
Most causes of ataxia are not be preventable.
Can I get ataxia from my dog?
No, you cannot get ataxia from your dog.