Clinical characteristics of Scottie Cramp in 31 cases

J Small Anim Pract. 2015 Apr;56(4):276-80. doi: 10.1111/jsap.12317. Epub 2015 Jan 20.


Objective: To report the clinical features, with response to therapy and long-term outcome of Scottie Cramp as described by owners.

Methods: Owners of affected dogs provided a description of clinical signs, age of onset and disease progression. Medical records, pedigrees and videotapes of cramp episodes were evaluated.

Results: Thirty-one dogs were recruited; 19 showed generalised spasticity and 12 exhibited only hind limb spasticity and skipping. Episodes were noted in the first year of life in 76% of dogs and were triggered by excitement, stress and exercise. Episode frequency and severity decreased over time with behaviour modification and decreased exposure to triggers playing a role in their development. One dog was euthanased because of severe refractory signs. Fluoxetine reduced the frequency and duration of episodes in seven dogs, but not in one severely affected dog. Female dogs were over-represented with only eight affected males in the study cohort, and the presence of dogs with cerebellar degeneration in the same pedigrees may suggest a more complex mode of inheritance than previously reported.

Clinical significance: The disorder recognised as Scottie Cramp by dog owners includes dogs with hind limb spasticity in addition to generalised cramping. Signs usually improve over time without specific treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breeding
  • Cerebellum / pathology
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy
  • Dog Diseases / genetics
  • Dog Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Fluoxetine / therapeutic use
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Male
  • Muscle Cramp / drug therapy
  • Muscle Cramp / genetics
  • Muscle Cramp / physiopathology
  • Muscle Cramp / veterinary*
  • Muscle Hypertonia / drug therapy
  • Muscle Hypertonia / genetics
  • Muscle Hypertonia / physiopathology
  • Muscle Hypertonia / veterinary*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / genetics
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / physiopathology
  • Spinocerebellar Degenerations / veterinary


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine