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Thread: Cerebelar Abiotrophy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Westen Suburbs, Melbourne

    Default Cerebelar Abiotrophy

    Has anyone had experience with this?
    I have a BC just come into my care with the ailment.
    He's had a vet visit and the condition has been discussed.
    I Initially took him on to be a mate for our other BC but the new little
    guy is very aggressive towards Rambo.
    Anyone else dealt with this?
    Your experiences?
    Any solutions you found?

  2. #2


    Hi 'Rambo'smum' - very very sorry to be reading this.

    What has your vet said about all of this ?

    How old is your new BC and how severe are the symptoms ?

    The prognosis for the dog longterm is not good and there is no known cure. Some dogs can live a somewhat reasonable but limited life - depending on the severity of the symptoms. But - eventually - for their own sake - they need to be given their 'wings'.

    I wish you - Heaps of Good Luck Wishes and Heaps of !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Westen Suburbs, Melbourne


    well thats what I have been wondering.......I've only had him a month, but see a slow deterioration.

    Drover is 6 yrs old. And from information from the last owner he was dumped at their place at "around" 12 months old
    and has this condition. I have no proof to confirm this story either way.
    Vet has said it is a "dying" of the brain so yes, his life expectanty is much shorter.
    My immediate concern is the aggression he shows towards our first dog.
    In the home environment i have to keep both of them separated. Out on walks they get along fine.
    Drover falls down a lot and hits his head a lot on things, but just gets up and keeps going.
    But his wobbliness and the falling down is occuring more and with more gusto.

    I guess I can just make his lfe as comfortable as possible. And do what i have to do when the time calls for it.
    Bit annoyed really. Although I did agree to take him on......the past owner couldn't get rid of him quick enough.
    Anyway, he's with me now so I must deal with it.
    Its just the situation with our other dog that concerns me.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bundaberg QLD


    Ahh so sorry to hear of Drovers condition.....breaks my heart. Poor bugger must be wondering why he hits the deck all of a sudden. Sorry i cant help you...just wanted to wish you both the best of luck.

    Quote Originally Posted by reyzor View Post
    Education is important, but big biceps are more importanter ...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Westen Suburbs, Melbourne


    Thank you Sean.
    And thank you too RileyJ.
    He's such a loving little dog
    and loves human interaction.
    As I said he gets by, most of the time, but the last couple of days he's
    struggled a bit more with things.

  6. #6


    'Rambo'smum' - is the aggression towards your other dog all the time - or are there specific triggers/instances when it happens ?

    Has Drover been like this since day one - or is this something new ? Could he be in pain ?

    Regardless - aggression needs to be looked at by a respected behaviourist and trainer - so I would suggest very strongly that you PM a member on this forum called 'Nekhbet' for advice.

    Again - Good Luck !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Westen Suburbs, Melbourne


    Thank you RileyJ.
    The behaviour has occured from day one.....the main trigger seems to
    be at feed time.
    Then if food is not involved it is to take over Rambo's bed.
    I dont believe it to be pain associated, but being new to this ailment, I'm no expert.
    Today for instance they were together quite a bit......and in the same area at home without incident.
    But i did have Drover restrained.......a situation I'm not fond of but feel i need to keep some control
    of the home situation. It can deteriorate very quickly.
    Rambo is a very obliging submissive dog and would rather give in than fight.
    Sadly for Drover, once the aggression begins, i think it just takes him over completely, and he means business.......
    its growling, fangs and leaping forward to , for want of a better word, attack.
    There hasn't been an incident for quite a while now, but that is because i keep the situation VERY controlled.
    If this didn't occur, I wouldn't be looking to rehome and Drover would be definately be part of this family.
    I only have a regular sized suburban house block and each does have his area, food, and beds.
    For Rambo, being the first dog, we have kept all his things as they have always been and Drover, we have created
    his own area, but he wants to dominate Rambo's area too.

    I will discuss this Nekhbet. Thank you.

  8. #8


    'Rambo'smum' - also have a look at this website on the following link:

    Knowledge Base | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    Really pleased that you are going to contact 'Nekhbet'.

    Good Luck !

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Geelong, Vic


    Hey Rambo's mum.

    Cerebellar abiotrophy attacks the voluntary motor skills first hence the wobbling and wide legged stance. Saying that it can also affect the parts of the brain controlling behavior so you can find aggression, seizures, loss of house training, looking lost etc.

    I think the thing with Drover is to work out whether his behavior is uncontrollable due to his condition or something that he is doing out of a learned response to the situation he's in. A physically weak dog can ramp up their behavior when they perceive threat, almost like making up for the fact they are disabled with a greater response. If he has not felt comfortable since day one his aggressive responses will continue and get worst as he becomes more successful (remember this is what Drover thinks, not what we rationalise as being right or wrong). A dog can find a stressful response rewarding if it get success from it in that situation (eg making Rambo run away or roll over and give up)

    Has the vet given you any indicators as to the degree of his condition and a time frame?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Westen Suburbs, Melbourne


    Nothing official was said, but a passing "moderate to severe" comment was made.
    No time frame was given either, however vet did say his time is much shorter than
    most dogs. I was told to basically take him home and make his life as comfortable
    as possible.
    I have been torn about rehoming him as most people dont understand the condition
    and dont research it. But my priority has been to see that Rambo keeps his life as it
    has always been. To achieve that I've had to restrain Drover in the area allocated to him.
    To me this is not acceptable but it keeps the situation under control, until i can find a better solution.
    My family isn't exactly happy with the situation and I'm having to do everything myself.
    I want to do whats right for both dogs, but Rambo was here first.

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