Screening Scheme Description

DNA (linkage) test – Cerebellar Ataxia

Details about the disease

CA is a neurological disorder which affects gait, co-ordination and balance. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that regulates the control and coordination of movement. In this condition, cells in the cerebellum mature normally before birth, but then deteriorate prematurely causing clinical signs associated with poor coordination and lack of balance. The Purkinje cells (nerve cells that transmit nerve impulses across the brain) are the cells in the cerebellum which are primarily involved as they are essential for motor functions; cells in other areas of the brain may also be affected.

Clinical signs

Clinical effects have an early onset and usually present within the first few weeks or months of life. The disease is progressive and affected puppies are often euthanased before the age of one.

How it is inherited?

The cause of CA is variable and may be inherited in some breeds.

Inheritance of cerebellar ataxia may occur via a recessive mutation. This means that a dog must inherit two copies of an abnormal gene (one from its mother and one from its father) before its health is affected. A dog that inherits only one copy of the abnormal gene (from its mother or its father) will have no signs of the disease, but will be a carrier and may pass the gene on to any offspring.

For advice on breeding your dog for health, why not visit our information guide

Which laboratories test for this condition?

A list of laboratories and DNA tests can be found at the following link

How to responsibly breed from your DNA tested dog

If, once your dog is DNA tested, you would like to find out what their DNA test results mean, or how to select the right mate to avoid producing affected puppies, then please read our breeding advice and information on the following link


Copyright © The Kennel Club Limited 2020. The unauthorised reproduction of text and images is strictly prohibited.