Cerebral Dysfunction

Cerebral Dysfunction is a brain disorder that causes affected puppies to show severe mental depression, odd behaviors, and limb weakness.

Key Signs

Depression, Circling, Excessive sniffing, Limb weakness

Age of Onset

At birth

Present at birth


Autosomal Recessive

For autosomal recessive disorders, dogs with two copies of the variant are at risk of developing the condition. Dogs with one copy of the variant are considered carriers and are usually not at risk of developing the disorder. However, carriers of some complex variants grouped in this category may be associated with a low risk of developing the disorder. Individuals with one or two copies may pass the disorder-associated variant to their puppies if bred.

Likelihood of the Condition

High likelihood

At risk dogs are highly likely to show signs of this disease in their lifetime.

What to Do

Here’s how to care for a dog with Cerebral Dysfunction

Partner with your veterinarian to make a plan regarding your dog’s well-being, including any insights provided through genetic testing. If your pet is at risk or is showing signs of this disorder, then the first step is to speak with your veterinarian.

For Veterinarians

Here’s what a vet needs to know about Cerebral Dysfunction

The disease causes severe, progressing cerebral signs including mental depression, excessive sniffing and circling, walking backwards, and limb weakness. Affected puppies do not exhibit any abnormalities in routine blood work, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, or magnetic resonance imaging and are typically euthanized before 4 months of age.

Treatment is supportive care. Humane euthanasia for affected dogs is often elected.

For Breeders

Planning to breed a dog with this genetic variant?

There are many responsibilities to consider when breeding dogs. Regardless of test results it is important that your dog is in good general health and that you are in a position to care for the puppies if new responsible owners are not found. For first time or novice breeders, advice can be found at most kennel club websites.

This disease is autosomal recessive meaning that two copies of the mutation are needed for disease signs to develop. A carrier dog with one copy of the Cerebral Dysfunction mutation can be safely bred with a clear dog with no copies of the Cerebral Dysfunction mutation. About half of the puppies will have one copy (carriers) and half will have no copies of the Cerebral Dysfunction mutation. Puppies in a litter which is expected to contain carriers should be tested prior to breeding. Please note: It is possible that disease signs similar to the ones caused by the Cerebral Dysfunction mutation could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Gene SLC6A3
Variant G>A
Chromosome 34
Coordinate 11,225,693

All coordinates reference CanFam3.1

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Arata, S., Ogata, N., Shimozuru, M., Takeuchi, Y., & Mori, Y. (2008). Sequences and polymorphisms of the canine monoamine transporter genes SLC6A2, SLC6A3, and SLC6A4 among five dog breeds. Journal of Veterinary Medical Science. View the article