Scottie Cramp

Scottie Cramp is sufficiently uncommon not to be well known and many breeders and veterinary surgeons may never have come across a case.
Scottie Cramp is a hereditary disorder found very occasionally in the Cesky Terrier but from the dog's point of view it is not serious. Affected dogs are normal at rest and exhibit normal ability to walk until they are stressed. Common stimuli are exercise, hunting, fighting, or courtship. As the dog's level of stress increases, his gait begins to change. The forelegs move out to the side and forward rather than straight forward - called winging. The spine in the lumbar area may arch and the rear legs begin to overflex. If the excitement or exercise continues, the dog begins to exhibit a "goose-stepping" gait. If the dog is running, he may somersault and fall. Severely affected dogs may find their ability to walk or run completely inhibited. This is not a seizure. There is no loss of consciousness. As soon as the stimulus abates, the symptoms disappear almost immediately.

The severity of symptoms in affected dogs varies widely as does the amount and type of stimulation necessary to elicit clinical signs. The symptoms appear to be caused by a buildup or depletion of some chemical compound in the dog's central nervous system, most probably serotonin. In layman's language, the signal from the brain telling the dog how to run gets garbled in transmission on its way to the various muscles. The dog's muscles are not cramping and he is not experiencing pain. He has just temporarily lost the ability to coordinate his movements.
Scottie Cramp is present from birth, but it often takes the eye of an experienced breeder to spot it. Affected dogs soon learn to anticipate the onset of cramping and abruptly stop running or playing. By the time such a puppy is grown, he may never exhibit any signs at all. Similarly, an affected dog with a very laid-back personality is less likely to exhibit symptoms than a more hyperactive Cesky Terrier.

Scottie Cramp is a permanent condition, but it does not worsen with age. Nearly all dogs affected with Scottie Cramp make excellent companions, able to share virtually all activities with their families. Treatment is seldom necessary but, in severe cases, Vitamin E, Diazepam and Prozac have all proven to be effective.

Affected dogs should never be bred from, and owners should be aware that the administration of serotonin inhibitors (eg aspirin, penicillin) can make the condition worse.