Symptoms of Central Nervous System Diseases in Dogs

There are a number of different nervous system diseases which may affect your pet. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, and any number of diseases, injuries and other affective disorders or conditions can cause problems to this system. The central nervous system is responsible for relaying important information and direction to the outer parts of the nervous system; damage to the central nervous system may cause extreme damage to virtually every other part of your pet's body. Because of this, it can be difficult to tell when the problem that you're seeing symptoms of is actually one having to do wtih your pet's central nervous system at all. Read on for some of the common symptoms to look for if your pet has a central nervous system disease.

Tremors and Shaking

One of the characteristic symptoms of many different types of central nervous system diseases, including cerebellar hypoplasia and other types of hypoplasia, is that your pet will begin to shake without being to control himself. This may be confined to a bobbing of the head, a twitching of the paw or any number of other minor actions. Watch your pet closely for signs of this unusual behavior. At first, it is unlikely that he'll be in any type of pain or discomfort; he may not even notice that something is going on. However, if the disease continues to develop, he may suffer more and more violent tremors and shakes which can eventually disrupt his life considerably.


Somewhat similar to tremors and shaking are seizures. Although the generalized idea of a seizure consists of a full body grand mal seizure experience, in which all of the various muscles of the body tremor without control, in reality most canine seizures are far more subtle. Many seizures will take place with few, if any, physical signs. You may notice that your pet momentarily seems to lose focus. He may begin to behave strangely or to exhibit unusually compulsive behaviors. All of these can occur before, during or after a seizure as well.


Another common symptom of various central nervous system diseases, including Homer's Syndrome and many others, is paralysis of one or more parts of the body. This may be limited to a localized area or it may be as wide spread as a whole side or portion of the body. Look out for changes in your dog's walking pattern, unusual movements, difficulty eating, breathing and drinking and any other signs of paralyzed muscles.


Dogs with certain central nervous system diseases, like the Scotty Cramp, will tend to cramp up and contort their bodies in certain situations. This may occur after exercise or at another time and will likely not cause the pet much if any pain.

For more information about the various types of central nervous system diseases which may affect your pet, speak with a vet.