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The Scottish Terrier is widely regarded as one of the most noble breeds of dog. The "Diehard", as they're known, are renowned for their courage and ferocity in spite of their small size, as well as the strong degree of loyalty that they possess for the the humans to whom they become bonded. This degree of nobility, however, does not come without its price. The Scottish Terrier has the distinction of having a disease named after it in particular, for among all dogs, only the Scottie is said to suffer from it. This disease is known as the Scottie Cramp.
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Scottie Cramp is the result of a shortage of serotonin, which causes some type of disturbance in the signals sent between the brain and the muscles of a Scottie's hind quarters. The nerve impulses are out of synchronization, and the result is a strange scenario in which the rear legs seize up and become immobile for a short period of time. In its most severe cases, Scottie Cramp can spread from the back legs all the way up to the spine itself. When this happens, spinal arching can occur as well as a habitual loss of balance.
Despite it's grim sounding nature, Scottie Cramp is not a particularly serious disease. There's no chance of the animal dying from it, nor does there seem to be much pain associating with the attacks. It's not likely that your animal's quality of life will be reduced in any significant way by the presence of Scottie Cramp, but even so it is a medical mystery and an annoyance to our faithful friends, and thus we should try our best to understand it. After all, in some cases, an animal's personality may make it nearly impossible for them to lead the more sedentary lifestyle that is imposed upon a dog with Scottie Cramp, and to them this disease can be a cruel limitation.
Scottie Cramp is diagnosed through observing the animal for the manifestation of the above symptoms. In addition, a blood test that reveals low levels of serotonin can be a very positive indicator that Scottie Cramp is what you're facing.
There's no cure for Scottie Cramp, but there is treatment. This usually amounts to observing the animal to find out what kinds of behavior usually lead to an attack of Scottie Cramp and then restricting that activity. If your animal is resistant to such behavior modification, they might respond well to a mild sedative like diazepam and prozac. In general, a dog with Scottie Cramp will perform best in an atmosphere where he or she can be laid back and subdued and get his or her exercise through light-impact means like going for walks.
Though Scottie Cramp is not a very inhibiting disease, it still amounts to a poorly understood genetic abnormality and dogs that carry this disorder should not be used for breeding.
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