Scotty Cramp
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM

Scotty Cramp is an inherited condition seen in the Scottish Terrier breed. The cause is thought to be the result of a neurochemical deficiency. Neurochemicals are what nerves use to communicate with muscles and direct their actions.

What are the symptoms?

Most puppies are six weeks of age and older when first noted with Scotty cramp. Upon exercise or excitement, the puppy tends to 'cramp up' with a characteristic arched back and stiff rear limbs. The dog does not appear to be in pain.

What are the risks and management?

Most dogs with this disorder live normal life spans, but with some restrictions. They should not be placed in dangerous situations, such as swimming, as cramps in the water can cause drowning. Limiting periods of exercise is also recommended.

In severe cases, various drugs such as diazepam (Valium) and Prozac have been used to reduce periods of hyperexcitability. Vitamin E has been beneficial in some dogs in reducing the frequency, but not the severity of the cramping episodes.

Because of the inherited nature of this disease affected, individuals should not be bred.

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