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Food or Supplements Helpful To a Dog with Cerebellar Abiotrophy

by Kimberly
(Texas)

I have a one year old Coton de Tulear (Bentley), and I have had him since he was 10 weeks old. Around the time he turned 6 months old, I began to notice shakiness in his hind legs. I took him to my general veterinarian who diagnosed him with bi-lateral luxating patella.


I then went to different orthopedic specialists for opinions. They both told me that Bentley had a sever luxating patella issue, and they both said that doing surgery now would help him not to develop arthritis later, so I went ahead and opted for surgery.

Last month would have been two months since the surgery, and I started to notice that Bentley was developing head tremors. When he had the clearance to run off leash, I then notice his front legs began to show weakness.

I took him back to the orthopedist and he referred me to a neurologist. She took one look at him, checked his menace reaction, and said she suspected it was cerebellar.

The neurologist ran and MRI and did a spinal tap. His CFS fluid came back normal, but the MRI showed that his cerebellum was smaller than it should be. She diagnosed him with cerebellar abiotrophy. She explained that there is no therapy or cure for the condition; it could progress in months or over years.

So...now I am grasping at straws to be able to do something. I feel helpless just sitting here waiting for him to become debilitated.

I have ordered books on holistic diets for dogs. He is already eating Acana dog food, which is grain free, and I mix in fresh chicken, turkey, or salmon.

I have read that there is promise with coenzyme Q10 and cerebellar degeneration. Should I give this a try?

Also, I contacted Washington State University because I read that they have done work with the MDR1 gene. Since heartworm medications can cause rare occurrences of ataxia and neurological problems in dogs, I was wondering if it was worth a shot to have him tested for this gene.

What if is was neurotoxicity from this heartworm medication that set all of this off? After all, his shakiness would have started right when he received an increased dosage of the medication.

Washington State University was kind enough to e-mail back and let me know that they have never had a pure bred Coton test positive for the MDR1 gene. But they did suggest that it would not hurt to try a different brand of heartworm medication. What do you all think about that?

Do you have any recommendations for all natural flea or heartworm preventatives? After all, is it a good idea to give a dog with neurological problems an insecticide?

Basically, I am e-mailing to ask if you have ANY recommendations for food or supplements for a dog with cerebellar abiotrophy. Any advice would be appreciated.

I would visit a holistic vet in person, but we have spent $7,000 on Bentley since April, and my husband is about to cut off the veterinary funds. Any advice you can provide would be great.

Thank you in advance.

Kimberly

Comments for Food or Supplements Helpful To a Dog with Cerebellar Abiotrophy

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Jul 23, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Food or Supplements Helpful To a Dog with Cerebellar Abiotrophy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Kimberly,

Unfortunately, I do not have any clinical experience treating Cerebellar Abiotrophy in a dog. I have seen a few cases of Cerebellar Hypoplasia in cats. In those cases, the condition did not progress, and with a good diet, NO vaccinations, no toxic flea treatments, and kept indoors they did well.

In dogs, it is considered to be congenital, caused by a genetic defect where the cells in the cerebellum continue to degenerate. Therefore, dogs seem to be ok until they are 6 months to one year of age. F

or Bentley, it may have been 'hastened' by vaccinations, neutering (if he was neutered), or the surgery to correct his luxating patellas. I would not expect a neurotoxicity from an adverse reaction to heartworm prevention to shrink his cerebellum. The MDR1 gene, as far as I am aware, is found specifically in the Collie and Collie mix breeds.

I agree that limiting his exposure to ANY unnecessary toxins would be a good idea, including NO VACCINATIONS!

Therefore, stop giving heartworm prevention, and just have him tested every 6 months. Or if that puts him at too much risk, (I notice that you are in Texas), then give the monthly Heartgard every 45 days instead of every 30 days.

Use only natural flea/tick products, see our page on Dog Flea Treatment, and check out Wondercide, their product is a good one.

I have treated progressive degenerative myelopathy in a Pug (Pug Wobbles), and also German Shepherd Degenerative Myelopathy with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I cannot say that I *cured* them, but they did very well for quite a few years. So, I hope that I improved their quality of life for a longer period of time than what was expected.

I am not familiar with using CoEnzyme Q-10 for this condition. I do recommend it for dogs with heart conditions. The dose for a dog Bentley's size would be 20mg one to two times daily.

The diet you have him on is good. Perhaps incorporating some more raw meat into his diet would be beneficial. Adding some immune supplements, such as these listed below might help his over all system:

1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

Seeking the help of a holistic veterinarian for acupuncture and to write an exemption form for vaccinations might help.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Jul 23, 2013
Thank you!
by: Kimberly

Dr. Tillman,

Thank you so much for providing such a substantive response. You have provided direction that makes sense.

I am certainly going to take your advice on giving an immune support supplement and backing off on the vaccinations. I am also going to cease with Trifexus and begin giving Heartgard.

Over the last few days I have read a number of accounts where dogs have suffered seizures and other neurological side effects from this medication. This is not a good medication for Bentley's situation.

Thanks again for your detailed and articulate response.

Jul 24, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Food or Supplements Helpful To a Dog with Cerebellar Abiotrophy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

July 24, 2013

Hi Kimberly,
It sounds like a good start. I will be very interested in how Bentley is doing. Hopefully his condition will not progress, and he will live a long and comfortable life, albeit with a bit of 'clumsiness'.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Sep 11, 2013
Update on Bentley
by: Kimberly

Hi!

I just wanted to let you know that I have found a holistic vet, and Bentley has had two sessions of acupuncture as well as laser light therapy. The vet has also prescribed chinese herbs.

Before the acupuncture, Bentley was starting to fall more often, and he was hitting his face on the ground. After just two sessions, his endurance has improved, and he is not hitting his face as often.

He did get stressed out when I left him with the groomer the other day, so this has set us back a bit, but before this, he definitely had more of a spring in his step.

I have also changed him to a raw diet per your recommendation, and this has made a HUGE difference in his digestive system. His stool is small, firm, and pretty much has no odor. I am a believer in raw diets for dogs now.

I did decide to start him on Heartgard since we live in Texas and mosquitoes are a part of life here, but I have not given him any flea treatment since July, and he has not had one flea!

Anyway, I hope that he does continue to get better with acupuncture. It is really the only thing we have left to try.

The vet also did a test to check for vitamin deficiencies, so we are waiting to hear back about that. I just thought I would provide you with an update.

Thanks!

Sep 11, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Food or Supplements Helpful To a Dog with Cerebellar Abiotrophy
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Kimberly,

What a nice progress report. I am glad to hear that Bentley is responding to acupuncture, and is thriving on a RAW diet.

This certainly provides hope for other dogs that may be suffering from the same problem!

Thank you for the update!

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Related Pages:
- 10 Best Dog Food Options
- Homemade Dog Food Recipes
- Dog Dietary Supplements
- Dog Symptom Checker - Photo, Question & Answer Library for Thousands of Dog Symptoms

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