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X-Linked Tremors

X-Linked Tremors is a neurologic disorder where affected dogs lack the protective covering over the nerves of the central nervous system, resulting in tremors and often leading to premature death.

Key Signs

Generalized tremor, Reduced weight and body size, Convulsions

Age of Onset

At birth

Present at birth


X-linked Recessive

For X-linked recessive disorders, the genetic variant is found on the X chromosome. Female dogs must have two copies of the variant to be at risk of developing the condition, whereas male dogs only need one copy to be at risk. Males and females with any copies of the variant 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 X-Linked Tremors

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 X-Linked Tremors

The first signs of X-linked tremors are usually observed by 2 weeks of age. Affected males suffer from severe tremors in the body, head, and limbs. The tremors tend to worsen with activity and decline during rest. Affected puppies suffering from tremors have difficulties standing, moving, and eating. The condition is progressive and leads to seizures. The affected dogs are smaller in size than their unaffected littermates. The life expectancy of affected dogs is not likely to be over 3-4 months.

Humane euthanasia for affected male dogs is often elected. Female carriers of the disorder may have mild tremors during puppyhood that resolve by the age of 4 to 6 weeks of age.

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 disorder is X-linked recessive, meaning the genetic variant is found on the X chromosome. Given males only have one X chromosome, a single affected copy will increase the risk of being diagnosed with the disorder. Females typically require two copies to be at an elevated risk for full clinical signs but are not generally seen due to the poor prognosis for affected males. Use of dogs with one or two copies of the variant is not recommended for breeding as there is a risk that the resulting litter will contain affected puppies. Please note: It is possible that clinical signs similar to the ones caused by this variant could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Gene PLP1
Variant A>C
Chromosome X
Coordinate 77,200,833

All coordinates reference CanFam3.1

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Nadon, N. L., Duncan, I. D., & Hudson, L. D. (1990). A point mutation in the proteolipid protein gene of the “shaking pup” interrupts oligodendrocyte development. Development. View the article

Griffiths, I. R., Duncan, I. D., & McCulloch, M. (1981). Shaking pups: a disorder of central myelination in the spaniel dog. II. Ultrastructural observations on the white matter of the cervical spinal cord. Journal of Neurocytology. View the article