Thursday, April 25, 2024

Natural Remedies For White Dog Shaker Syndrome

white maltese dog with shaker syndrome

What Is White Dog Shaker Syndrome?

White Dog Shaker Syndrome, also known as Generalized Tremor Syndrome (GTS) or Idiopathic Tremor Syndrome is a neurological condition primarily affecting small to medium-sized white dog breeds, though it can occur in dogs of other colors as well. Dogs with this syndrome experience involuntary tremors or shaking, typically involving their entire body. It can make them appear agitated or uncomfortable.

Breeds Commonly Affected By White Dog Shaker Syndrome

The exact cause of White Dog Shaker Syndrome is not fully understood, but it is believed to have a genetic component. Here is a list of breeds that may be predisposed, but remember and breed or color dog can have the condition.

  • Maltese
  • West Highland White Terrier (Westie)
  • Bichon Frise
  • Poodle (especially Toy and Miniature varieties)
  • Pomeranian
  • Dachshund (especially the miniature variety)
  • Beagle (less common but reported in some cases)

Symptoms of White Dog Shaker Syndrome

Common symptoms of White Dog Shaker Syndrome include generalized tremors or shaking, particularly affecting the head and body. These tremors are typically more pronounced during times of stress or excitement and may subside when the dog is relaxed or sleeping and symptoms may vary in severity or fluctuate over time. If you observe these signs in your white dog, consulting with a veterinarian is crucial for proper diagnosis and management.

Tremors: The most prominent symptom is tremors, which can range from mild to severe and may be continuous or episodic.

Difficulty walking or standing: Dogs with GTS may exhibit difficulty in maintaining balance or coordination.

Weakness: Some dogs may display signs of weakness, especially in the hind limbs.

Incoordination: Lack of control over movements, leading to clumsiness or unsteady gait.

Generalized discomfort or distress: Dogs with GTS may appear agitated or uncomfortable due to the tremors.

How Is White Dog Shaker Syndrome Treated?  

Conventional veterinary treatment for white dog shaker syndrome often involves medications.  These might include: 

Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids such as prednisone are often prescribed to reduce inflammation in the brain, which can help alleviate tremors and other symptoms associated with White Dog Shaker Syndrome.  Long-term use of corticosteroids can have potential side effects, these medications are usually administered orally and may be tapered down gradually once the symptoms improve to minimize side effects.

Immunosuppressive drugs: In cases where corticosteroids alone are not effective or if the dog experiences adverse side effects, immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine or azathioprine may be prescribed. These medications help modulate the immune system's response and reduce inflammation.

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines may be used to control tremors and muscle spasms in your dog. These medications have a calming effect on the central nervous system and can help reduce the severity of tremors.

hemp extract in a brown bottle

Natural Remedies For White Dog Shaker Syndrome 

While White Dog Shaker Syndrome typically requires veterinary treatment, there are some natural remedies and supportive measures that may help alleviate symptoms or contribute to overall well-being. Here are some natural remedies and supportive measures that may be considered:

Stress Reduction: Minimizing stress and anxiety in your dog's environment may help reduce the frequency and severity of tremors associated with White Dog Shaker Syndrome. Providing a calm and predictable environment, regular exercise, and positive reinforcement training techniques can all contribute to stress reduction.

Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to promote healing and balance energy flow. Some dog owners find acupuncture helpful in managing neurological conditions like White Dog Shaker Syndrome.

Physical therapy: Physical therapy techniques, such as massage, gentle stretching, and range-of-motion exercises, may help improve muscle strength, flexibility, and coordination in dogs with White Dog Shaker Syndrome. A qualified veterinary physiotherapist can design a tailored exercise program to support your dog's mobility and overall well-being.

Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil supplements, have anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the brain and nervous system. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, possess anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties that could help reduce inflammation in the nervous system, support nerve cell health and function, and potentially mitigate tremor symptoms. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids contribute to overall health and well-being, potentially enhancing the resilience and quality of life of affected dogs.  

Organic full sprectrum hemp extract has a calming effect and is often recommended by veterinarians for this condition There are several ways CBD oil may potentially help dogs with White Dog Shaker Syndrome:

Anti-inflammatory properties: CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in both humans and animals. Since inflammation may play a role in the development of tremors in dogs with White Dog Shaker Syndrome, CBD's anti-inflammatory properties could potentially help alleviate symptoms.

Anticonvulsant effects: CBD has been studied for its anticonvulsant properties, which could be beneficial for managing tremors or seizures associated with White Dog Shaker Syndrome.

Anxiolytic effects: CBD is believed to have calming effects, which may help reduce anxiety and stress in dogs. Since stress and anxiety can exacerbate symptoms of White Dog Shaker Syndrome, CBD oil might help manage these symptoms and improve the dog's overall well-being.

Pain relief: Some dogs with White Dog Shaker Syndrome may experience discomfort or pain due to muscle tremors. CBD's analgesic properties may help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

Neuroprotective effects: There is emerging evidence suggesting that CBD may have neuroprotective properties, which could potentially help protect nerve cells and support neurological function in dogs with White Dog Shaker Syndrome.

Author:  Susan Blake Davis

Date:  4/26/2024