Sensory Neuropathy

Sensory neuropathy is a rare, severe neurological disorder caused by the degeneration of nerve cells. Affected dogs lack pain sensation, resulting in injury and self harm.

Found in

1 in 5,000 dogs

in our testing

Key Signs

Uncoordinated gait, Knuckling of hindpaws, Self-mutilation

Age of Onset

0 to 2 yrs

Juvenile onset


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 Sensory Neuropathy

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 Sensory Neuropathy

Clinical signs are detectable in puppies from two to seven months of age. Clinical signs include incoordination of gait (ataxia), knuckling of the paws, hyperextension of the limbs, and self-mutilation of the limbs. The hind legs are usually most severely affected. Loss of sensation is progressive and affects all limbs. Urinary incontinence and regurgitation can occur in the later stages of the disorder.

There is no curative treatment for the disorder. Treatment is supportive and the prognosis is poor.

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 Sensory Neuropathy mutation can be safely bred with a clear dog with no copies of the Sensory Neuropathy mutation. About half of the puppies will have one copy (carriers) and half will have no copies of the Sensory Neuropathy mutation. Puppies in a litter which is expected to contain carriers should be tested prior to breeding. Carrier to carrier matings are not advised as the resulting litter may contain affected puppies. Please note: It is possible that disease signs similar to the ones caused by the Sensory Neuropathy mutation could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Gene FAM134B
Variant Insertion
Chromosome 4
Coordinate Start 80,439,639
Coordinate End 86,910,351

All coordinates reference CanFam3.1

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Forman, O. P., Hitti, R. J., Pettitt, L., Jenkins, C. A., O’Brien, D. P., Shelton, G. D., … Mellersh, C. (2016). An inversion disrupting FAM134B is associated with sensory neuropathy in the border collie dog breed. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 6(9), 2687–2692. View the article