Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy

or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Brain Cell Degeneration in Dogs


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.




No specific treatment available to alter the course of this disease.


Living and Management


Activity is restricted in affected cats to prevent falls. This disease is not necessarily fatal, but may lead to incapacitation in affected cats. Observe your cat’s activity, and do what you can to make sure that your cat does not injure itself in preventable falls, such as with swimming pools and stairs.




Related Articles

Degeneration of the Cerebellum of the Brain in Dogs

Cerebellar degeneration in dogs is a brain disease. In cerebellar degeneration, the cells within the cerebellum die, causing neurological symptoms...

Incoordination of the Legs in Dogs

Dysmetria and hypermetria are outward symptoms of a dysfunction of the pathways that control voluntary movement in a dog.