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 Unexplained loss of motor skills/paralysis

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Rob_Valli Posted - 05/27/2004 : 09:20:34 AM
I am having major problems down here: I have 2 yearlings which have lost motor coordination..... one got sick within a matter of 2 days.... from normal, to on his side, paralyzed, for 4 days. That was the first week of April and its now the end of May. That dog slowly recovered until maybe 2 weeks ago and now has plateaued off at an unacceptable level... very clumsy, slightly drunken gait. The other one, a litter mate, located about 25 yards away in another fenced off kennel, exhibited somewhat similar symptoms within a day or so but never was completely paralyzed. A third neighbor dog down the road just got it less than 2 weeks ago, and I think they just put it down. A chicken in a pen about 100yrds away from the pen exhibited the same type of symptoms and was taken to a diagnostic lab to be killed and tested.... results due very soon, but (most likely) may be completely unrelated to the dogs. And yesterday, to my dismay, my main 3 yr old leader seemed to be having troubles.

The first dog that went down hard went to the vet, was examined, normal temp and blood work. then spinal fluid tap was taken which was also normal. catscan and xrays were not undertaken. The preliminary diagnosis was ‘Coonhound Paralysis’, a very rare disease. However with 2 or more additional dogs going down, this seems more and more unlikely. And, if the chicken has the same thing, well, chickens don't get this disease. All of them, even the chicken, eat and drink water if you put it in front of them. the dogs seems to have no change in personality or temperament, and their heads seem to be pretty normal with one exception.... if you offer food, they will smell it first and then open their mouth to bite it... for some reason they seem to miss it though, and the food will drop to the ground, however, they don't notice this and attempt to chew/bite at the food for a few seconds, as if they think it is still in their mouth but aren’t sure.

Other than this, there seems to be no seizures, normal bowel movements, etc... in fact the dogs are normal except they look like they are drunk. I saw that their reflexes on their rear legs looked normal but that when you pull on one of their front toes, they don’t pull away from you. They also fail the test where you flip their feet over.... these dogs don’t correct and just stand on the top of their feet/wrists, unaware they aren't standing on their pads. As far as food goes, we are feeding straight, fresh, 30/20 dry (since 2 weeks before this occurred) and watering with cold, clear municiple water. I have no idea what the neighbor dog was on. I have a meeting with a neurological specialist tomorrow.... he says he thinks its NOT coonhound paralysis but maybe possibly toxin related... but as to what that toxin is, I don’t know. It could be possible that I somehow brought this back from Russia, but the 2 yearlings didn’t go there and got sick a few days after my return. And Magali and Jaques havent reported anything, so I kind of doubt it.... plus you would think that my main leader would have been the first to get it and the pups later... not wait 7 weeks. But, like I said, I just saw her acting strange yesterday, so I dont know for sure if she is like the yearlings yet... just getting sick with paranoia.

any ideas would be greatly appreciated. We are at a loss here and I’m losing my team as we speak.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
dewclaw Posted - 04/11/2016 : 7:08:38 PM
Thanks, I was just going to post these links. The test is easy, not expensive, and you can send samples directly to UC Davis. I would think it would be well worth it to test any dogs you were even remotely concerned about.

Originally posted by bmumford

Just wanted to update this post with the latest facts and available dna tests for what is now called Alaskan Husky Encephalopathy (AHE).

The tests are available here:

More info here:

YoopItUp Posted - 04/06/2016 : 11:39:47 AM
Are Alaskan Husky Encephalopathy and Subacute necrotising encephalopathy the same thing?

bmumford Posted - 05/19/2013 : 12:38:18 PM
Just wanted to update this post with the latest facts and available dna tests for what is now called Alaskan Husky Encephalopathy (AHE).

The tests are available here:

More info here:

Rob_Valli Posted - 01/14/2005 : 09:51:57 AM
my remaining pups all seem to be healthy. I sat down with Ken Anderson and he asked me about 2 leader puppies that I trained for Charlie and Roxy, named Amos and Andy back in 95. These pups were actually from Gareths kennel, not out of C&R's. These dogs went on to become pretty notable dogs, especially Amos, who was a main leader for years in John Baker's kennel. Gwen and Ken liked them so much, they bought the parents but then the pups from the rebreeding ended up with the disease and ended up at cornell. This is making me think maybe this goes through Gareth's lines, however, I didnt think much paperwork was transferred over when we got the pups... they were given to us because they were freaky and we need needed some pups because we lost a bunch to parvo.

musher81 Posted - 01/04/2005 : 9:09:26 PM

Just wondering how the other pups are doing? I had a 7 month old with SNE (thanks again for the help Joe) four years ago. I remember watching his three littermates every day. After a year, then two, I felt a lot of relief and they'll soon turn five with no signs whatsoever. Pretty much out of the woods.
Hope all is well

John Wood Posted - 07/25/2004 : 8:42:47 PM
In one of my earlier responses to this thread, I thanked Rob and let him know that I would earmark this thread for future use if ever needed. Little did I know that it would be so soon. One of our 5 week old pups developed the exact same type of behavior as described in Rob & Paul's experiences. To make matters more disturbing, the pup had the same paternal grandmother as Paul's pup. I emailed Paul privately and he was so kind to identify the medication that worked for him and we immediately contacted our vet who agreed to prescribe it as a last ditch effort to save the pup. Well, I am here to report that the pup has been on the medications (Clavamox @ 62.5mg and Prednisone @ 5 mg) for four days and has totally regained all functions. He is still weaker than his six siblings but is coming on strong now. This makes me believe and our vet agrees, that our case was most likely a vaccination reaction as we had just gave that litter their first parvo shots. What also prompted that prognosis was the fact that the loss of nervous control started from the lower limbs and worked its way up as each level was affected. We thought for sure that we were going to lose the pup but 2Zeus is now pulling through. Whether he will make it as a sled dog is yet to be seen but at least now he has that opportunity and it is the willingness of Rob and Paul to share their experiences on this forum that led to this recovery. Mucho thanks to Judy, Rob and Paul. JOHN

Black Hole Posted - 06/14/2004 : 1:09:29 PM
I remember reading somewhere on this forum that Charlie and Roxy did not like to breed Bruce to Bruce. Could SNE be the reason why?

joca Posted - 06/13/2004 : 5:23:30 PM
Interesting idea that might tie in the lower spine paralysis with laryngeal paralysis. In Alaskan Malamutes, (and other breeds--) there is a autosomal recessive disorder called polyneuropathy. Usually it shows up in young adults but i have heard of a variant type that is showing up in pups- genetics not determined yet on this early onset type.

But some of the symptoms of PN include loss of motor skills- paralysis- of rear, uncoordinated gait, bunny hopping rear, foot dragging, AND laryngeal paralysis. (no link to eye color since by definition a blue-eyed malamute is not a malamute and more likely a sibe mix).

Not all dogs have both sets of symptoms (motor and larynx) and severity varies across the board with some requiring euthanasia and others being only moderately affected, able to get around but with curtailed activity--ie not able to run in harness.

Either way, whether we're talking PN, SNE or another disease with similar outcome- it's either a death sentence for the affected dogs or reduced quality of life for the others, why breed known carriers when there are so many good dogs to breed to?

Breeding to carriers is usually justified when removing them greatly reduces the gene pool. for eg. Von Willebrand's disease is so common in dobies that breeding a carrier to clear is acceptable, with the recommendation that breeders select a clear offspring to replace the carrier parent. Tests are available to identify clear dogs vs carriers, but when there aren't any tests, is it worth the risk with a disease that often leads to euthanasia of young dogs? Especially since the Alaskan gene pool is wide-open, not restricted by AKC purebred rules.


magali Posted - 06/12/2004 : 02:33:02 AM
The wheezer problems is due to the "blue merle color gene" in the dog...
I understood (without ever proof) that Pluto had some Bordercollie behind and this is how it go into the bloodline...
We have a Pluto pup at home (Lois) to who we OWE some of our best dogs, but one time we bred hom to a bleu eye female (didn't know better) and out fo 3 pups one was a wheezer. We neutered the two males and gave the wheezer to Carol Kleckner. All three pups are alive and well and turning 6 years old! The two we have are some of the KEY dogs in our team.

Jacques did some research on the genetics and on the "books" it come from the "blue merle color gene" which is a "rececive " (sp?) gene which mean is not automatic and can jump genration and depends on the other parent if she/he is carrier or suseptible I guess...

Since this problems no blue eye female was allowed to be bred by Lois. Never had a problem with breeding him to brown eyer females.


This is the ONLY we ever had with the Pluto bloodline.

Magali PHILIP, Nenana, AK
huskyaddict Posted - 06/11/2004 : 5:36:33 PM
I asked Charlie about wheezers and he said that he would suspect it came in through Star and not Bruce. He said he had wheezer puppies from Pluto but not Bruce. Star (Pluto's dam) was a white-faced blue-eyed bitch which fits the wheezer phenotype. This makes the puzzle even more interesting. Would support the idea of the wheezer/early onset neuro disease being genetically distinct from SNE. Star bringing in one and Bruce the other. And now through common dog breeding practice of breeding everything to the winning kennels of the day it spread like wild fire through the breed. By compiling pedigrees we may reasonably hope to avoid breeding carrier to carrier but eliminating it is a much more difficult problem. Lets hope it is not like wheezers where it has been demonstrated that only one carrier may be needed to pass on the disease. My vet told me about the breeding of a wheezer carrier to a setter and producing affected offspring. Was this done at Cornell?

Joe, how many SNE cases have come through Bruce but not Pluto?


Edited by - huskyaddict on 06/11/2004 5:37:44 PM
Rob_Valli Posted - 06/11/2004 : 5:18:46 PM
I dont know anything about wheezers other than I heard it came from 'bald faced, blue eyed dogs'.... Pluto was not 'bald faced', but he did have a white blaze and blue eyes... The blue eyes, BTW, came from his mother's side, because there were no blue eyes in Bruce's line (I know of).... I asked about this once.

Joe, any other dogs to look for? Attla circa 68 and Bruce 77, thats it?

Bobby Lee is in Nome, I hear, but I'll try to get an email to him... maybe he can get us back farther on bruce's side. If there is something upstream of Bruce I would have to guess it was a common dog between Gareth and George.... maybe.

Joe Wakshlag Posted - 06/11/2004 : 3:50:17 PM
Not to say that there in not a link, there may be when it comes to what you refer to as the early onset form. But that is different from SNE. SNE is a Brain problem and the early onset spastic paraparesis is more of a spinal cord problem. The spastic paraparesis problem may be related since they seem to both be perperuated by Pluto, and they have similar etiologies. The wheezer problem is due to improper innervation to the larynx, much like "roarers" in the horse industry. While spatic paraparesis is improper distal innervation down the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves. A dying back disorder of sorts, much like wheezers which is localized to one specific nerve. But at this time I cannot directly link Bruce to this spastic paraparesis, it may actually be coming from Pluto's maternal side. Also don't forget you are talking about the two "hottest" dogs as far as breeding is concerned over the past 20 years, if there is anything recessive it is likely to pop up at sometime.

I don't know of anyone studying wheezers at this time at Cornell. They study surgical intervention for "roarers' in horses which is likely similar to the problem in alaskans. Other than Alaskans it is not recognized as a major problem in athletic dogs and there is no significant research money in studying obscure dog diseases unless there is a direct link to human health in general.

huskyaddict Posted - 06/11/2004 : 1:06:37 PM
I find it very interesting that you don't see a link between the early/late onset diseases yet they seem to both come from the WC line. Wheezers are thought to come through Pluto (Bruce son) and that is likely linked to the early onset version. Now we know that Bruce is a carrier of the late onset version. Seems an amazing coincidence if they are not related.

Is there someone doing wheezer research at Cornell?


Joe Wakshlag Posted - 06/11/2004 : 10:28:13 AM
Gotta agree with you Rob, it likely goes way back to the 50's, and like any good recessive trait it is luck of the draw. These were very good dogs (Bruce and Scotty) and like any breed, we are going to stumble across these types of things now and again breeding to these major studs. We are all probably carrying a lethal recessive gene here and there, but it never rears its ugly head since we don't marry our cousins (at least we are discouraged from doing so). In sled dogs, and any other dog breed we are often looking for traits from a certain line so we breed close or distant cousins, should we stop doing it? Probably not, but being aware of the possible consequences allows us to make educated decisions in breeding. If you had a Bruce kid and a Mike kid, that had equal qualities that you were looking for, it might sway you to breed the Mike kid Gypsy rather than the Bruce Kid. (which is what Rob just did), hoping to prevent this from occuring again. No hard fast rules, just fast dogs hopefully! I remember a thread when someone suggested breeding a bitch and then taking the son of that bitch and breeding him back to her to get 75% of the same genetics and keep doing this to get as close to the bich as possible if she was THE Dog for you. Genetically you can't recommend that, I wouldn't do it, but some may try this to get as close to that dog as possible. Breeder beware!

But, when two people who are known to carry a lethal gene can go and roll the dice hoping for a normal child, I'm not about the sit back and say don't breed Bruce again. I had a Bruce kid (a carrier) and a two Bruce grand kids who were great dogs in their day, phenomenal work ethics. I would personally trade the risk for the performance to some degree. Just my 2 cents.

Rob_Valli Posted - 06/11/2004 : 09:08:17 AM
You know, Jo, I have no idea... I'm just posting everything I find with hopes that we might be able to actually get to the bottom of this, or that the next person that gets hit with this might come across this post and pick it up from here.

With the help of this community, I was able to track down my pedigrees, and followed them back to scotty 2x. The problem is now I've gone as far as I can and there are simply is no way to fill in some of my blanks due to misbreedings in Adkins kennel.... and my guess is those males go back to attla as well, so there very well may be other connections to dogs like scotty.

But it must go back even farther... but at some point we lose the trail... also, I dont know who to follow.... this is like one of those logic games, and I don't do well with this type of thing. For example, Chris and Freckles were mentioned... now are they carriers? I cant tell from the information... if you were looking at a pedigrees and saw chris come up a few times you might say there is a connection... however, if chris is there because you are looking up Lingo, then maybe the problem is simply with Scotty. But if you go think Chris is hot, then her littermate Freckles and their parents, Rex and Lonely, come into play... the problem may still lie with Attla, so you need to find out Rex's parents, which I cant find so far. (remember, this is Attla's Rex, not Gareths)

If you follow Scotty, you dead end with Coolie and Blue. There *might* be a way to follow it back and connect dogs, but you are moving into the fifties.

So thats Attla, but how does Bruce fit? What is known about him doesnt really connect over to Attla.... is it supposed to? If it did, I would have to think it happened many generations back... maybe Gareth's Princess '64? Maybe Attla's 'Lady'?... that is as far as I know about. maybe they connect back to Scotty's parents Attla's Coolie, or Gareth's Blue.

Anyway, I'm going to try and make a few last calls to see if these lines are dead or just forgotten. However, does any of this tell anyone anything? Is the only lesson dont beed to Bruce if you have Scotty in your background? But Ginger's pups are fine, so far, and she has the same background, so there isnt a hard in fast rule, is there?

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