The Worrying Thing About Cerebellar Hypoplasia

Holly loves her walkies, but what Holly loves more is meeting other dogs and people. When walking Holly we meet with some great people, some have seen Holly from the early days of her taking little walks and love seeing her progress – Holly has been applauded as she walks through the park as her progress is easy to see. Other people are curious, asking questions about her and her disability; we very much welcome this and Holly wears a vest encouraging people to ask questions if they want to. One of the things that is quite noticeable with Holly’s walking is her backend does have a wobble. I call it her swagger, she sways side to side and it’s quite cute to see. She also has moments when she tumbles and when she does people will hear me go “whoopsie”! It’s not unusual to hear people describe Holly as being drunk, or having one too many; we don’t mind this as it is a way of describing how Holly is, it’s about awareness of the condition and how Holly is and there is a level of laughter as she knocks something over or bumps into something.

However, there is a serious side to this. Last night, Holly seemed absolutely fine walking around the house as she does, enjoying her ball, cuddles a very normal evening. But then, Holly walked towards her bed like she was about to lie in it, but instead she lost her balance and ended up doing what only can be described as a nose-stand. She was literally vertical, hind legs in the air, balancing on her nose. It lasted less than a couple of seconds but it was so scary. I just froze. Fortunately, Holly came down the way she went up, she didn’t go off balance otherwise she’d have landed in her feeding station or against the radiator. If she did she could have had a serious injury. I never imagined that Holly could ever be that off balance to land on her nose and although we joked about catching it on film, it could have been so different.

One of the main issues with a dog having CH is the fact that their balance can be so off, their co-ordination being so unusual that the risk of injuries is so high. We have been advised by both the vets and Chiropractor to keep Holly’s weight at the low end of a healthy weight so to reduce the chance of serious injury if she was to fall awkwardly. We have to be aware of our surroundings and look out for possible injuries, be conscious of the pavement width so to minimize the chances of Holly falling into the road, we like to walk her on the inside of the pavement, but Holly likes to be on grass, or likes to us to be on her seeing side (she is blind in one eye) so it’s not always possible to have her on the inside, so sometimes we turn back so not to go down narrow pathways. We have made the home as safe as possible for her.

So although, we can be light-hearted about her wobbles and falls. We have to be so careful and minimize the chances of injury and last night’s incident is a good reminder of how Holly can be very vulnerable at times. She didn’t seem to notice though and was her usual happy self of course!


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