shaking puppy syndrome: a condition in dogs known as hypomyelination

famous chihuahua editor chihuahua health concerns 10 Comments


shaking puppy syndrome is a disease that effects the central or peripheral nervous system of the brain and is medically termed hypomyelination.  the good news is that your puppy can grow out of it and still grow up to live a happy and healthy life.

at birth, often puppies that develop the syndrome are normal.  they later develop symptoms at 1 – 2 weeks old.  typically they begin to tremor and it’s predominantly more noticeable in the hind legs.

this tremoring can cause them to miss out out on important feedings from their mother as they are less likely to be able to hold their ground when trying to reach their mother’s nipples.  in these cases, they will require hand feeding.


**warning: the chihuahua puppy in this video is okay and in no way being harmed


what causes the shaking?

when an insufficient production of myelin occurs, the substance that insulates and stabilizes nerves, hypomyelination is the result.  a lack of myelin cause the nerves to be sensitive resulting in shakes and tremors.  the more active your puppy is, the more they will shake, the less active, the less they will shake.  in fact, when they sleep, the shaking often goes away completely.

other known causes can be related to:

  • low blood sugar levels,
  • blood birth defects in the vessels of the liver
  • and immature brain development

will your puppy grow out of it?

it depends.  if the syndrome has affected their central nervous system, there is a good chance they will grow out of it within a year.  if it has compromised their peripheral nervous system, they usually don’t get better as they mature.  symptoms usually appear around 5 to 7 weeks when their peripheral central nervous system is affected.

even though most dogs with the condition grow to have normal lifespans and can participate in most activities that a normal dog would, it is important to recognize that puppies with the condition will likely need help eating.

their constant tremoring makes it difficult for them to stand over their food dish to eat.  it is also a good idea not to breed these puppies as the likelihood of them passing on the condition to their offspring is high.

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Comments 10

  1. Lorna Machine

    Hello, I have a teacup Schnauzer, now 15 months old. He has, what I think is hypomylination since I got him at 12 weeks. His owner said he has a mild tremor. Tests were supposedly done, but nothing resulted. On excitement he shakes even more, to the extent that after a walk he cannot drink water from his bowl. On resting he is still. Lying him on his back he is comfortable, calm, but his front paws may tremor slightly. As he’s over a year, I don’t see him growing out of this. He is a happy dog though and knows no better. As long as he’s happy, I’m happy. All I want to know is if there is anything to improve the quality of his life, obviously I’d like to look at options.

  2. Stephanie Michael

    I have a puppy that seems to have this. I watched the video, I did the whole hold her on her back and she stopped shaking. She only shakes when she eats, that time being the worse, when she gets excited, when she moves around it is not as bad, when she sleeps, or lays down in a pounce position not at all. I am concerned cause I did do further research into it and it all fits into this syndrome. The one thing I did not find an answer to is, if the cns is compromised, which at her age, based on everything I read, it is, she isn’t going to grow out of it. What does this mean for her? Meds? Unhappy life?

  3. Liesha

    I have a infant Pitt bull puppy and he’s about 3 and a half weeks now. Today Zeus ate his first helping of puppy food and right after he started to shake real bad. Does anyone know the reason for this…
    Thanking everyone in advance

  4. Kendall Sterns

    I just got a light tan baby boy Chihuahua and he bout 2months now n he has tremors i also have the mother and siblings .but i wanna know will he grow out of it? The problem seems to be in the bvk legs wit all the tumbling n falling ova .he dnt seem to bother him much tho cus he plays along with the other puppies but he doesn’t always up that while.and his symptoms are not that bad as the puppy in the video but thorough your knowledge you i just read i thank you cus i wanna keep him and hope he those okay

  5. Vidfio

    My 4 year old chihuahua shakes ever since we have had him from the pet store, I thought it’s an emotional thing, I was told the same thing at the Pet Store and this came from a veterinarian: two reasons why they might shake: emotionally or when they’re cold. My chihuahua shakes when it’s obviously too cold and it’s noticeable when he’s excited or nervous. I was never told by his veterinarian that he might have a neurological illness.

  6. k.t.

    it seems like a reversal of m.s. in humans where the melyin is destroyed by an auto immune disease. it’s supposed to be very painful in humans w/ un sheved nerves exposed, what about puppies? or since in puppies the exposed nerves are limited to a specific location as opposed to humans having all of their nevorus system exposed?could it not cause any pain?and w/the extreme trembling are these puppies prone to higher body temperatures? thanks

  7. Joy Parrott

    My step daughter bred her Chihuahua and 4 healthy puppies were born. The 5th one had this and a cleft palate. She shook as soon as she was born and would push her front
    legs straight up and her head and body bobbled. I tube fed her but the vet thought it best to be put down. I agreed with a heavy heart. She was 3 weeks old and wasn’t thriving. All that shaking burned up energy. She was 4 ounces. She went from 2.6 to the 4. I loved her so much. RIP Ginger.

  8. Cici

    Yassssssssss. Hush, Becky Reese. This was so helpful in our dog adoption process. Thank you, famous chihuahua!

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  10. Becky Reese

    I appreciate your information about chihuahua disorders, but wonder why your article contains no capital letters (I suspect you copied and pasted a text file without checking it for errors). Your info would be more respected if you used proper capitalization in your sentences. Just a thought.

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