DNA test - SLEM (Spongiform leuco-encephalo-myelopathy)

Details about the disease

SLEM (Spongiform leuco-encephalo-myelopathy) or shaking puppy syndrome (SPS) is a relatively new condition associated with the central nervous system which usually affects puppies at around 2 weeks old, when they begin to make attempts to walk. Occasionally some puppies have started to shake at a later age of about 10 weeks old.

Clinical signs

Clinical signs include severe tremors, mainly in the hindquarters, which are seen as an uncoordinated side-to-side movement of the rear end, appearing as an excessive, uncoordinated wagging of the tail and body. These tremors cease when the puppy sleeps. Affected pups have difficulty feeding and often grow slowly. In many cases they are put to sleep because of welfare concerns but a few have recovered with careful nursing and appear to be relatively normal as adults.

How is it inherited?

The disease is described as an autosomal-recessive condition. 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.

Which laboratories we record and publish the results from?

To find out which laboratories The Kennel Club is able to record results from, and which laboratories will send results directly to The Kennel Club, please refer to our website.

Please be aware, The Kennel Club has a set of criteria that we request DNA testing laboratories to meet to enable us to record their results, helping to maintain and protect the integrity of results that appear on a dog’s record. We strongly advise that customers ensure their chosen laboratory is included on our list if they wish The Kennel Club to record and publish the results. Results from laboratories not included on this list will not be recorded.

Breeding advice and what your dog's results mean

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 DNA testing information.

How to find out if a potential mate has been DNA tested

The Kennel Club’s Health Test Results Finder allows you to find the results of DNA tests carried out as part of The Kennel Club's official DNA testing schemes for any dog on The Kennel Club’s Breed Register.