Institute of Genetics

Cerebellar ataxia in the Belgian Shepherd

Ongoing research project, contact: med vet Matthias Christen

Belgischer Schäferhund

Several hereditary diseases of the nervous system are known in Belgian Shepherd dogs (mostly in Malinois). They include several distinct forms of cerebellar ataxia with monogenic autosomal recessive interhitance. Affected dogs show neurological symptoms such as uncoordinated movements and difficulties with normal gait at a few weeks of age. As the signs quickly get worse, affected dogs have to be euthanised when they are 3-6 months old. In cooperation with Prof. Kleiter from the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine as well as neorologists and neuropathologists from all over the world we have already been able to solve several of these diseases and develop genetic tests for the reliable diagnosis of carriers of these diseases. In the future, we would like to solve also the other as yet unsolved forms of cerebellar ataxia in Belgian Shepherds and to develop additional genetic tests. For this purpose we need EDTA blood samples from affected dogs, ideally together with their parents and siblings. We therefore ask breeders, owners and veterinarians to donate samples for our research. If you own a Belgian Shepherd with neurological symptoms, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss further options for further investigation.

Scientific publications on solved forms of ataxia in the Belgian Shepherd