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Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA)

The term cerebellum in Latin means “the little brain”. The cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for coordinating movements. Ataxia comes from a Greek term meaning “without order”. When the cerebellum cannot coordinate movement, the dog can move, but the movement is poorly coordinated.  They are not weak, in fact, often the movements a dog with ataxia makes are too strong.  They have a goose-stepping gait and when excited or running, their legs may appear to be going every which-way. Sometimes they have problems with their balance and will fall frequently.  In order for the cerebellum to control movement, it needs to get feedback about what the muscles are doing.  This feedback comes to the brain through the spinal cord.  When there are changes in the spinal cord in a dog with cerebellar ataxia, the disease is often call spino-cerebellar ataxia (SCA).

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Spinocerebellar Ataxia with Myokymia & Seizures in Jack/Parson/Russell Terriers