SUPPORTING A DOG WITH CEREBELLAR HYPOPLASIA
Disclaimer: We are not veterinary professionals – the information provided has been gathered through our own reading as we look to support Holly.
Holly’s general health has been good, although we have noticed a few things that may be connected to her diagnosis of Cerebellar Hypoplasia.
One health concern that has been confirmed in some write-ups about CH has been digestive issues. Holly’s tummy is delicate and she has had a few episodes of diarrhoea. She’s had courses of anti-biotics and pro-biotics. At times she has been close to being dehydrated as she wasn’t taking in fluids. These episodes may have been caused by a bug or something she has eaten (when hooparents weren’t looking). But, we do think she takes a little longer to get over the episodes, and her wobble increases when she isn’t her usual self. It’s very important we keep a close eye on her when she is feeling a little poorly. We have come to the conclusion that Holly is allergic to eggs and we are careful of the composition of doggie biscuits so to avoid her tummy being upset.
Holly loves her kibble by Collard’s that her foster mum introduced her to when she was a pup. The kibble is hypoallergenic and Holly finds it really tasty. She also likes JR Products pate’, this is a high-value treat for Holly and helps a lot with her training. We also give Holly a Whimezee daily to look after her teeth. We have to keep a close eye on her weight as well, as the vets and her chiropractor have informed us that keeping Holly at a healthy weight will hopefully reduce the risk of injury when she falls or tumbles.
It’s important to have your puppy weighed regularly at your veterinary clinic, especially within the first 6 months. Discussions around the puppy’s ability to eat and drink may be needed as sadly dogs with severe Cerebellar Hypoplasia may not be able to develop and euthanasia may need to be considered.
As Holly has grown, one thing that hasn’t changed is Holly’s tiredness. She definitely tires more than a dog without Cerebellar Hypoplasia. Once dogs with Cerebellar Hypoplasia start to manage their condition better and find their walking style etc., it can be easy to forget how much mental effort it takes to keep balanced and coordinated every time they are moving. It’s important for us to always keep in mind how much Holly has done and how much sleep she has had.
Those that have met Holly or have been following her story since day 1 will know that Holly is a very determined pup, she will and does always want to keep going. So getting her to rest isn’t always the easiest thing to do. If Holly doesn’t have a good sleep during the day, she is less likely to balance well and her coordination is affected, this then leads to her being unable to feed so well and she can really struggle.
We have to balance her ongoing training with her going out for walkies. She doesn’t have a walk on the same day she meets with her dog trainer. On the day we concentrate on her training homework, we don’t walk her for so long. It is all about balance for Holly. For her to have good enough balance we have to balance her activities well. Holly doesn’t mind, she is a very happy girl, who loves cuddles and sleepies as much as she loves her walkies.
Holly’s seasons have been close together, her cycle is regular, but short at 18 weeks. We haven’t found any information about whether Cerebellar Hypoplasia can impact on a dog’s reproductive system, so this may be nothing to do with CH, but we felt it’s worth mentioning. Please contact us if you have had any experience of similar issues.
Holly’s Eye Diagnosis and Treatment Timeline
At One Month: It was noted that Holly’s left eyeball was smaller than her right eyeball and the veterinary professionals were unable to see the her retina through the lens in her left eye, which mean there was limited or no vision in her left eye.
At Two Months: It was confirmed by a veterinary optometrist at Debenham Vets that Holly had a condition called persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis (PHTVL), this means that the blood vessels behind the lens didn’t retract, leading to her not being able to see through that eye.
At 16 Months: Holly had a routine check-up on both eyes, it was confirmed that the Cataract in Holly’s left eye and she had a very small Cataract in her right eye. We were informed that Cataract surgery on her left eye was not variable due to the eyeball being small and other possible complication. We were warned that the eye might develop Glaucoma and she is likely the eye will have to removed at some point within the next five years. Holly was prescribed Yellox eye drops and her right eye would be reviewed in six months time
At 18 Months Old: Holly was treated for conjunctivitis in both eyes.
On 12 May 2022: Holly woke up crying and it was very obviously that her left eye was causing her a lot of pain, so we got her to the vets as soon as possible. Holly was diagnosed with secondary glaucoma with her left eye pressure being 64. She had her eye removed on the same day and recovered very well. The histology report identified that she had seven main things wrong with her eye, including glaucoma, Retina detachment and a condition called Goniodysgenesis. It was advised that the right eye may also have Goniodysgenesis and it was wise to check it. Holly’s right eye was checked and it was wonderful to hear that it wasn’t affected by the condition and other than the small cataract her right eye was healthy. It was advised that Holly have 6 monthly checks on her right eye.
At 2 years and 3 months: Holly’s right eye was checked again and it was great to hear that the Cateract in her right eye hadn’t progress at all and it would need to be reviewed in a year’s time.
We have read in some veterinary journals that there is a possible link between Cerebellar Hypoplasia and vision issues. If you have experienced vision issues with your CH dog, we would be grateful if you could contact us.