Cerebellar hypoplasia (non-human)

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Cerebellar hypoplasia is a disorder found in cats and dogs in which the cerebellum is not completely mature at birth.


Usually symptoms of cerebellar hypoplasia can be seen immediately at birth in cats, but sometimes can take two months or so to become apparent in dogs. Cerebellar hypoplasia causes jerky movements, tremors and generally uncoordinated motion. The animal often falls down and has trouble walking.[1] Tremors increase when the animal is excited and subside when at ease.


There are several bacterial infections and viral infections such as feline panleukopenia, caused by feline parvovirus (while in utero),[2] that can result in the disorder in both cats and dogs. The disease can also be caused by malnutrition, poisoning, injury or general accidents during development in the fetus.[3]


The disease does not get better or worse with age, but the cat or dog can usually learn to somewhat compensate for it and should have a normal lifespan. Afflicted animals can, in theory, lead a fairly normal life if special considerations for the animal's disability are taken by the pet's owner. However, the secondary complications, such as accidental injuries that occur as a result of having the condition, may lead to a shorter lifespan. Some affected animals are also euthanized due to the severity of the clinical signs.

There are many ways to avoid injuries for cats or dogs with Cerebral Hypoplasia and to allow them to live full lives as any other pet would. Carpeted flooring allows the animal to move around with much more ease. Essentially "baby proofing" sharp corners or heavy objects that could potentially fall on the animal is also important.

When it comes to feeding and toileting, mainly for cats, it is important to trial different methods. For feeding, some animals do so lying down...this would require maybe a flat dish rather than a high bowl. If the animal requires a standing position while leaning against something, using a food bowl stand could be beneficial. For toileting, again mainly for cats, the litter box may need higher sides with a lower front entrance. Also, choosing the right type of litter is important. I noticed with my cat, the bobbing was having his face end up in the litter and he was getting it in his mouth. I did not like this occurrence with a clumping, clay litter as I felt it was dangerous. I opted for "Yesterday's News" as the pellets are large and do not get stuck to his face. The litter is made from recycled newspaper so it is also environmentally friendly. This litter seems to work well for many cats diagnosed with CH. [4]

Similar conditions[edit]

A related condition seen in cats, dogs, horses, cattle, sheep and other animals is cerebellar abiotrophy. The symptoms are similar, and the two conditions are sometimes confused with each other, but cerebellar abiotrophy occurs due to loss of purkinje cells in the cerebellum that occurs after the animal is born. Cerebellar abiotrophy is usually a genetic condition.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barchas, Eric (May 28, 2014). "Ask a Vet: What Makes Some Cats Uncoordinated and Prone to Staggering?". Catster.com. Archived from the original on Jan 19, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Cerebellar Disorders : Small Animals". The Merck Veterinary Manual. 2008. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  3. ^ Kelley, JaneA (June 3, 2014). "7 Things You Should Know About Cerebellar Hypoplasia". Catster.com. Archived from the original on Jan 19, 2015. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  4. ^ "About CH Cats". Archived from the original on Feb 8, 2015. Retrieved May 18, 2015. 

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