Hereditary Ataxia (HA)
Hereditary Ataxia (HA) is a neurodegenerative disease that affect the cerebellum causing progressive gait disturbance in dogs.
Old English Sheepdogs and Gordon Setters suffer from a juvenile onset, autosomal recessive form of canine hereditary ataxia primarily affecting the Purkinje neuron of the cerebellar cortex. The clinical and histological characteristics are similar to hereditary ataxias in humans.
The cause of the disease has been identified, it is a mutation in the gene associated with the process of autophagy by which cell proteins and organelles are removed and recycled and its critical role in maintenance of the continued health of cells is becoming clear. The defect in the autophagy process results in neuronal death
The disease is caused by a mutation in the RAB24 gene.
Clinical symptoms begins in juvenile to young adult dogs aged from six months to four years. Dogs develop pronounced hypermetria, a truncal sway and intention tremor, and signs progress to cause severe gait disturbances.