Muscle Cramps in Dogs

A cramp is a painful, involuntary muscle contraction, typically caused by fatigue or strain. Scotty cramp is an inherited neuromuscular disease that is characterized by periodic cramps. This condition causes spasm and hyperflexion and hyperextension of the legs in Scottish Terriers due to serotonin metabolism disorder. This disorder results in low serotonin in the affected scottish terrier. Serotonin acts as neurotransmitter in the body of the dog and is necessary for controlling muscle contraction. 

The condition specially affects young scottish puppies less than one year old.

The symptoms normally appear when the dog is excited or when it has engaged in strenuous exercise.  The episode(s) may continue for up to 30 minutes and include such signs as:

Gasping, shortness of breath; the dog may even stop breathing for a short time

Contraction of facial muscles

Arching of lumbar spine

Stiffening of hind limbs

Sudden collapse

When the stimulus ceases, the symptoms of Scotty Cramp will slowly vanish too. The dog will return to normal, and the general health of the dog is not affected by Scotty Cramp. The opposite is however true; poor general health can lead to more severe episodes of Scotty Cramp.

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