Brain Cell Degeneration in Dogs

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Neuroaxonal Dystrophy in Dogs

The term abiotrophy is used to denote loss of function due to degeneration of cells or tissues without known reasons. Neuroaxonal dystrophy is a group of inherited abiotrophies affecting different parts of brain in dogs. Rottweilers, collies, German shepherds, chihuahuas, and boxers are some of the breeds known to be predisposed to this inherited disorder of the brain.

Symptoms and Types

The symptoms depend on the part of brain being affected.

  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Abnormal placement of limbs while walking
  • Strength in limbs is usually normal in affected patients
  • Mild tremor of head and neck
  • Other nervous symptoms


  • No known cause – idiopathic
  • Inherited factors


You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including background history and a descriptions of the onset of symptoms. After taking a complete history, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination. Laboratory tests include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis. The results of these routine laboratory tests are usually within normal ranges. Diagnosis of neuroaxonal dystrophy is usually accomplished by differential diagnosis. That is, by excluding other diseases and conditions until the correct cause for the condition is settled upon. A concrete diagnosis is usually made during postmortem of affected patients.

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An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness


Relating to a disease of unknown origin, which may or may not have arisen spontaneously


A condition in which a muscle or body part grows defectively

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