Like people, dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. There are plenty of special needs dogs out there that need a loving forever home, and the amazing Moby is just one of many! This intrepid pup was born with a condition known as cerebellar hypoplasia, which caused him to wobble, but he hasn’t let that slow him down!
Moby was known as the wobbly pup at every dog rescue he ended up in,. For a long time, nobody could pin down what made him wobble, and, unfortunately, this trait scared many families away from him.
Fortunately, Alex and Jovan saw past the wobbles. They were eager to adopt Moby! After taking him to the vet, they were initially told that he had cerebellar hypoplasia. This, it seemed, caused his wobbling. But that’s not the end of the story!
After taking another look, Moby’s neurologist noticed that he had a small and possibly shrinking cerebellum. This meant that what Moby has is not cerebellar hypoplasia, and nobody really knows what causes his wobbles!
None of this deterred Alex and Jovan, though! Today, Moby lives an amazing life of adventure and fun. He uses his wheelchair to zoom around and play like any other dog, and he’s living his best life!
What Moby Wants You to Know
While he may not actually have cerebellar hypoplasia, Moby’s story is a great launching point for discussing this unique condition.
What is Cerebellar Hypoplasia?
Cerebellar hypoplasia is the medical term used to describe an incomplete development of the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls movement. This condition is always hereditary, which means that pups are born with it.
How Common is Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Dogs?
The Mitsubishi Kasei Institute of Toxicological and Environmental Studies notes that cerebellar hypoplasia is one of the most common birth defects in domestic animals. Because of its hereditary nature, animals with cerebellar hypoplasia will show signs immediately or shortly after birth.
What Causes Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Dogs?
In the majority of cases, cerebellar hypoplasia is caused by a virus or toxin, particularly trichlorfon (found in some pest control products), infecting the mother during pregnancy. The condition may also be a genetically inherited trait. Airedales, chow chows, Boston terriers, and bull terriers are prone to genetic cerebellar hypoplasia.
Cerebellar Abiotrophy in Dogs
Cerebellar hypoplasia is closely related to another condition, known as cerebellar abiotrophy. Unlike cerebellar hypoplasia, cerebellar abiotrophy is degenerative, which means it will worsen with time. Cerebellar abiotrophy presents similarly to cerebellar hypoplasia, but the lifespan of dogs with this condition is much shorter.
What are the Symptoms of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Dogs?
Being a neurological condition, the symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia will vary from pup to pup. What is normal for one may not be normal for another, but there are still some telltale signs of the condition. Many of these signs will be noticeable once the pups hit six weeks old. If you believe a pup may have cerebellar hypoplasia, look out for:
- Nystagmus (a fancy word for rapid side-to-side eye movement)
- Ataxia and dysmetria (medical terms for problems with walking and coordination)
- “Wobbles” or tremors that become worse when performing intentional movement
- Poor balance
How is Cerebellar Hypoplasia Treated?
While medications may be used to lessen tremors and improve overall quality of life, there’s no real cure for cerebellar hypoplasia. Fortunately, the prognosis is great! With the proper care and attention, dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia can live long, awesome lives, just like Moby!
How is Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Dogs Managed?
Dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia will always fall into the “special needs pups” column. This is not a task for everyone, but the right family can give any dog a wonderful life! In addition to medications, dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia benefit from being fitted for a doggy wheelchair.
Pups will quickly adapt to their condition and will love to play and romp!
Can Cerebellar Hypoplasia in Dogs be Prevented?
Preventing cerebellar hypoplasia ultimately comes down to ensuring that all breeding is done in a safe and ethical environment. Dogs must be carefully selected to avoid passing on the genes that cause the disease. Irresponsible breeding is the root cause of most cases of this disease, and you can help prevent it through proper research!
Whenever you’re on the prowl for a new puppy pal, be sure to double and triple check that your source is ethical. Never purchase from pet stores or puppy mills! Instead, if you’re truly set on buying, use a well-known and respected breeder. Otherwise, adoption is always an option!
At the end of the day, dogs with cerebellar hypoplasia are as lovable and fun as any other! They need homes, too, and they’d love to be your new forever friend. They need more attention and work than other pups, but they’ll definitely pay you back in love and fun!