White Shaker Dog Syndrome Symptoms

White shaker dog syndrome is a little understood condition that primarily affects small breeds with white fur coats, hence the name. Dogs with white shaker syndrome often suddenly develop shaking or tremors for no apparent reason. Symptoms may be mild to severe. Here's what you should know about white shaker dog syndrome. 

Causes of White Shaker Dog Syndrome

Vets don't really understand what causes white shaker dog syndrome, but they have some theories. Some vets believe it may be a disease of the immune system, while others feel that it may be the result of an inflammation or infection of the brain. Vets don't know why small, white dogs seem to be most affected by this disease.

Symptoms of White Shaker Dog Syndrome

Dogs with white shaker syndrome shake and tremble uncontrollably for no apparent reason. This disease usually affects small breed dogs with white fur coats, usually between the ages of one and six years. Shaking and tremors may be very mild, or they may be severe enough to inhibit your dog's ability to walk or stand. Dogs with white shaker syndrome remain alert, and do not appear to have any health problems other than shaking and tremors.

Stress, handling or excitement can make white shaker dog symptoms worse. Symptoms usually appear improved when the dog is asleep or in a relaxed state. 

Diagnosing White Shaker Dog Syndrome

Before your vet can diagnose white shaker dog syndrome, other possible causes of shaking and tremors must be ruled out. Your dog might be exhibiting shaking and tremor symptoms due to toxic exposure or epilepsy. Some nervous system diseases can also cause shaking and tremor symptoms. 

Your vet may perform a range of tests to rule out other possible causes of your dog's shaking symptoms. Blood and other tests often come back perfectly normal in dogs with white shaker dog syndrome. Dogs with white shaker syndrome are also usually found to have normal brain activity, normal spinal fluid and normal CT scans.

If your vet performs all these tests and finds nothing wrong with your dog in spite of shaking and tremor symptoms, he will make a diagnosis of white shaker dog syndrome. Since vets don't know what causes white shaker dog syndrome, they can't perform a specific test to diagnose it. Diagnosis is performed by excluding other possible causes of your dog's symptoms. 

Treating White Shaker Dog Syndrome

Your vet may prescribe steroids like prednisone to treat your dog's white shaker syndrome symptoms. Prednisone is administered twice a day for four weeks. Treatment with prednisone will then be tapered off over an eight-week period. Steroids help many dogs recover from white shaker syndrome. Many dogs recover without treatment, though a relapse is always possible.

While your dog is recovering from white shaker syndrome, keep him as calm as possible. Make sure he has easy access to food and water. Keep him away from stairs and other places where he could fall. Minimize his exercise until symptoms subside.