Holly the Lab is a young dog;
who was born with a rare neurological condition
called Cerebellar Hypoplasia,
which affects her walking, coordination and balance.
Cerebellar Hypoplasia is a non-degenerative neurological condition that affects the development of the Cerebellum, whilst a puppy is in the uterus. The Cerebellum is situated at the back of the brain and is responsible for sending fine-tuned motor signals from the brain to the muscles, allowing for balance and coordination . For puppies with CH, like Holly the Lab, this means that a physical part of the brain is underdeveloped or missing which causes them to have difficulties in walking, coordination and balance. Cerebellar Hypoplasia in itself doesn’t cause pain, the symptoms do not get worse as they get older. As the puppy grows they learn how to manage their conditions. Dogs with CH are more likely to walk with an abnormal gait and may need additional equipment to help with their mobility. Overall, most dogs with the condition can live a happy, fun-filled life with additional support. The symptoms do not get worse as they age. As the kitten or puppy grows it will learn to compensate for its condition but there are usually lifelong signs of a decreased ability to coordinate movement. Almost all dogs and cats with congenital cerebellar hypoplasia can live happily as pets with a little special care to compensate for their disabilities.
Looking after a dog with CH is very fulfilling but it also comes with many challenges. One of those challenges can be finding out how to support a dog with Cerebellar Hypoplasia, especially if you are living in the UK. So we have put together some information about how we have cared for Holly from when she was just a few weeks old into her teenage years.