Spongiform LeucoEncephaloMyelopathy: Symptoms and Diagnosis

What is It?

Spongiform Leukoencephalomyelopathy (SLEM) is a recessive hereditary disease in Border Terriers. It is commonly known as “shaking puppy syndrome”.

What Causes It?

Spongiform Leukoencephalomyelopathy is a gene mutation passed down by both parents which hinders the body’s nerve cell communication pathway.

This lack of nerve communication creates poor coordination and shaking of the entire body.

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What Are The Symptoms?

  • Lack of coordination
  • Hind legs shaking
  • Tremors

Is it Life Threatening?

The quality of life is very low for these dogs, and many chose euthanasia.

Are You Covered When Your Pup Gets Sick?

How is It Diagnosed?

DNA testing is available to help identify the inherited gene.

What Are The Treatments?

The most important form of treatment is to test to see if your Border Terrier is a carrier of this gene. If so, if you plan on using your dog for breeding, pair your dog with another that is not a carrier. There is no known cure. Many owners chose euthanasia over poor quality of life.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pup’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian. Or, consult a virtual vet here.