Oliver-DOB-04/27/02. First suspicion something was
wrong was shortly after arrival home at 8 weeks, noticed
a weird head tremor from side to side, especially when
he got over excited, this worsened w/ time. Did steps wonderfully for first few weeks, then this came to a dead stop. My vet thought it was an inner ear infection, since
he had a few, but I kept telling him something was
drastically wrong w/ my dog. Suspicion confirmed after
Great Scots Article on the Wobbly Scottie & hooking up
with Dr Bell and sending a Video for confirmation, shared
w/ my vet, he was surprised. I Told him to share the video
w/ his colleagues in the office. Oliver (Ollie) has progressed steadily w/ his CA, I take a day at a time. He falls a lot, he seems insecure around my other 2 scotties, he is overly sensitive to loud noise, he is aloof, he prefers to be off in
a corner by himself, otherwise he is healthy & loving.
Photos and Tales of our CA Scotties
We picked Scotty up at about 7-8 weeks old and
noticed within a couple of months that he was not
coordinated and thought he was just a clumsy
puppy. By 6-7 months, we were worried about the
way he stood (with back legs so far apart) and he
showed a marked difference quickly. By about
eight months of age he could not go up and down
steps with out falling on his head or back, so he
stopped and has never tried again. By a year old
we sent a video to Dr. Bell and also my own vet had
sent him to Ohio State University for an evaluation.
Scotty was diagnosed at OSU as having the same condition as Dr. Bell stated -- Cerebellar Abiotrophy.
We noticed at about nine months of age he
developed head and body tremors. He has also
been diagnosed with vWD Type III.
On July 29th, 2003, my husband and I made the eight-hour
trip down to Kennesaw, GA right outside of Atlanta to pick
up a 16 week old puppy named Gracenote, technically a
rescue though the breeder still had her. About two weeks
before, she popped up on Petfinder. She was supposedly
about 90% blind and there was concern she might be put
down if a good home could not be found. The plight of this
little one tugged at my heartstrings and I could not bear to
think she might be put down for an infirmity that didn't
necessarily have to compromise the quality of her life. We
paid the adoption fee, collected the paperwork, and took
her back to my sister's house.
It was love, but I had a lot of concerns too. Within hours
we felt she wasn't nearly as blind as we had been led to
believe. We should have been relieved but there were other
signs that something wasn't right. She couldn't walk right
but we thought maybe it was because she was so obese.
She couldn't seem to gauge distances accurately.
To make an already long story shorter, what followed was a year of visits to first our regular vet,
then an ophthalmological specialist who confirmed that she wasn't blind at all. Then, through pure
luck, an aha! moment when I felt certain I'd found what was wrong with Gracie--cerebellar
abiotrophy. Then submitting a video to the genetic specialist at Tufts, Dr. Bell, who has been
retained by the STCA HTF to study the disease in Scotties. And then another day when he told us
what we already knew--that Gracie has CA with a firm clinical diagnosis; she is considered mildly
affected at this time.
The last year has been full of laughter and love; how could one regret that despite what is wrong
with her? So we are grateful for a puppy that was born dead and had to be revived, only to be
discovered to be defective and was not wanted. We are blessed to have been gifted with her
presence in our lives.
What I DO regret is there is nothing I can do for my Gracie. There is no cure for CA. So what I
hope for, through involvement with Dr. Bell and the CA group, is that Gracie and others like her
will help put an end to the birth of more puppies like her. I hope no one else will have to take
a journey like ours or live a challenged life like Gracie does. I hope breeders will take note of this
disease and take whatever steps are necessary to make sure that, precious as she is, there are
no more Gracies.