What is Ataxia?
Ataxia in dogs is a condition in which they show unbalanced walking and loss of coordination. For example, a dog with no ataxia will walk normally with proper balance but a dog having ataxia will face problems while walking as its central nervous system will not communicate properly with the head, body, or legs.
A dog having ataxia will be having a hard time recognizing and feeling whether its feet has taken a step ahead or not. It will drag its feet instead of walking. This can lead to foot damage in dogs too.
There are three types of ataxia: proprioception, vestibular syndrome, and cerebellar, it depends on the part in which the problem occurs. The symptoms of this problem differ in intensity from one dog to another.
Today, we will guide you completely on the symptoms, causes, and treatment so keep on reading and just know the details of this problem in dogs.
Let us first start by checking the symptoms.
The intensity of the symptoms will differ based on the intensity of the problem that your dog is having. The following are the most common symptoms that a dog shows when it is facing from the ataxia.
- Stumbling or swaying
- Weakness in one or more limbs
- Abnormal behaviors
- Head tilting
- Deafness or loss of hearing
- Strange eye movements
- Nausea from a disruption in equilibrium
- Loss of appetite
If you see any unbalance in your dog’s movement then you should immediately contact your veterinarian so that the treatment can be made as soon as possible.
Causes of Ataxia in Dogs
Now, as told earlier that there are three types of ataxia, we will be knowing about the causes of all three of them. A veterinarian can let you know what the ataxia problem is faced by your dog and can go deep into the causes of the problem. It is very important to know the causes to gauge the treatment procedure further.
This type of ataxia is caused by spinal cord compression. Due to this, the dog’s brain doesn’t know where the limbs are and so it results in an unbalanced walk. There are many reasons for the spinal cord compression among some are trauma, tumors, spine infection, etc.
2. Vestibular Syndrome
This problem occurs due to the abnormal function of the inner ear or brainstem and it results in the balance loss. The reason for this can be a fungal infection, ear infection, nerve degeneration, tumors in the ear, etc.
3. Cerebellar Ataxia
When any problem occurs in the cerebellum then it results in the dysfunction in the coordination and movement in the head and eyes. The reason for the damage to the cerebellum is a brain tumor, cellular degeneration in the cerebellum, brain infection, etc.
After checking the causes, let us now have a look at the treatment.
Ataxia treatment is done after knowing the location and cause. If there is a tumor problem then surgery is needed; various therapies are done to cure this. Your veterinarian will check the cause, know the symptoms, and let you know how your dog can be treated. He may provide you with some medications to cure it and sometimes surgeries are also needed.
Even if you get the treatment done, there are chances that your dog still loses the movement and is not able to walk properly.
In the hereditary cases, there are very fewer chances of the dog getting cured as the problem is genetic so it doesn’t get cured. You have to take proper care of the dog to make sure that it doesn’t get injured while walking. Your veterinary will guide you properly and let you know the steps that you need to take to ensure that your dog is alright and doesn’t get injured while walking.
The dangerous and risky steps are the stairs so you have to block it for your dog as if your dog falls from there then it will be big trouble for you. You have to slowly help it to move down the stairs or up and provide support whenever it needs it. The house environment should be safe for your dog so that it doesn’t hurt itself more.
Also Read: A Health Guide on Elbow Dysplasia in Dogs
There are no chances of altogether preventing the problem from occurring but you can take small steps to avoid it. Like you can clean your dog’s ears regularly so that it doesn’t catch ear infection.
So, here was an overview of the problem of ataxia in dogs. Hope you got the clear information about the symptoms, causes, and treatment of this problem. If you see any signs of this problem in your dog then immediately take the action and take your dog to the veterinarian so that he can take the immediate steps for the treatment and your dog can be relieved soon. For more information, visit Petsnurturing.