Does Oliver, the video dog, have Scottie Cramp?

Oliver the Scottish Terrier’s owners posted this video and two follow-ups on YouTube with the following message:

This is Oliver my rescue Scottie. Oliver may have Scottie Cramp or C.A. (Wobbly Scottie). Does anybody have a Scottie with this condition. Would like your comments. Oliver lives a normal and active life and we love him and his brother OJ to pieces.

The Scottish Terrier and Dog News would be grateful if you can point us to authoritative sources on Scottie cramp.

Update: Please see the comments for resources as well as this later post on Scottie cramp or cerebellar ataxia.

15 thoughts on “Does Oliver, the video dog, have Scottie Cramp?

  1. I watched this video three times. I don’t think this is Scottie Cramp. Everything I’ve read about “SC” says the dog becomes literally immobile and unable to walk. Check out the website “wobblyscotties” … there is a great article on the differences between SC and something called “CA”

  2. Oliver does not appear to have cramp. When my Scottie cramps it’s her FRONT legs that “goose step”, and it only happens when she is REALLY excited. Oliver seems fairly calm and is doing fine with his front legs.Have you had his hips checked?

  3. Information about Scottie Cramp and Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA)(Wobbly Scotties) can be found on the Scottish Terrier Club of America web site

    My personal opinion, and I have seen and video taped many of these dogs, is that he has CA.

    For a diagnosis, you need to send a video to Dr. Jerold Bell( info on site above). You will need it to be about 15 minutes long. You need more time on his gait from the side, going up and down stairs from the front and side if possible. (I use a front porch for this that is open on the side.) If you can video him running off lead, that would also be helpful. This service is free, but of course, you will have to take the time to make the video.

  4. Hi, my scottie does have scottie cramp (confirmed by the breeder) and suffers mostly in his hind legs like Oliver. I’d say that only in extreme cases does Scottie Cramp results in becoming literally immobile and the scottie usually adjusts to the condition (keeping his excitement level in check) so that the level of immobility is much less. But from what I’ve read, scottie cramp only exhibits periodically, so if Oliver’s goose stepping is at constant then it might be Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA).

    I found some good information here:
    I wouldn’t say it’s authoritative, but thought it was helpful. It also has some links to more authoritative websites.

    Scottie cramp usually affects my dog when he’s at dog parks. From the background noise, it sounds like the video was shot at a similar location. My scottie otherwise shows no symptoms, which leads me to believe he has scottie cramp and not cerebellar abiotrophy (CA) which is a constant problem. He can run circles and around my home with no problem and I’ve never seen symptoms other than at the dog park. But just as it says at the link above, it usually seems to come up when he gets really excited (when playing chase with a lot of dogs in my situation) and the brain misfires chemical signals to his legs, possibly immobilizing him.

    It’s gotten a lot better though as my scottie ages (he’s 9 months now). As a puppy, he face-planted almost every time he tried to run at the dog park and now he only goose steps in a game of chase with multiple dogs.

    Hope this information helps and good luck to Oliver and his owners!

  5. My 6 year old Scottie has cramp, but as a previous poster mentioned, it is only in her back legs and only occurs when she is running while very excited. If she slows down the “hopping” stops. Sometimes it seems her legs are going all different directions at once. In more severe cases, the dog can stiffen and fall over. It can be triggered by the slightest noise.
    It’s a condition that comes and goes – it is not constant.
    The Scottish Terrier Club of America has a very good article by Carole Fry Owen on cramp. It’s in 3 parts, and must be ordered from them, but it can be sent via email. Some symptoms mentioned enabled me to definitely confirm Scottie Cramp – looks like they are running in place, hopping like a bunny, etc.

  6. I wish all you folks with goose stepping Scotties would get back to the Scottiephile pages and read Carole Fry Owen’s articles on Cerebellar Abiotrophy.
    Goose stepping is found in Scotties with CA. Scottie pups who plant their faces every day when running learn to adjust so that they do this less often. Their rear stance widens and the goose stepping begins. The reason they goose step happens because of the problem with spatial orientation.

    If you think your Scottie has cramp, please go to the STCA site and read about CA.

    Please send a video to Dr. Bell to get an authoritative diagnosis. Most vets don’t know the difference between CA and cramp. Dr. Bell will tell you if your Scottie has Cramp or CA.

    In the early stages of CA, falling seems episodic. CA progresses with age, sometime very slowly. Don’t be fooled by the wording of the cramp description. Most folks thought CA was Cramp until only a couple of years ago. This is why most vets don’t know the difference.

  7. Yes he does. Absolutely. My dog, Persephone, walked just like this and was the hit of our neighborhood. It was worse than the dog shown when she was younger- a real bucking bronco look, but it settled down with age and was only a mild hop like Oliver in her later life.

  8. I think it resembles what happens to my scottie – he has a luxating patella and hikes up his leg like this when walking sometime. It is intermittent and only when his knee cap is luxating more frequently. Otherwise, he walks perfectly normally. It only acts up sometime.

    – Jan

  9. My 6 year old Scottie, Mac, was just diagnosed with Scottie Cramp. He’s only affected after long walks or in stressfull situations, and he’s only been showing symtoms (that I’ve noticed) over the past few weeks. The first vet who looked at him thought it was a herniated disc (which made sense, even more so because Mac expressed some sensitivity by flinging during the spinal check), but I brought him in to have his teeth cleaned today and the second vet recognized the symptoms for Scottie Cramp. After watching some of the videos that are online it was a 100% sure for me… Mac presents with a way higher arching of his back though. He kinda looks like an angry cat even… And please remember there is a difference between cramp and CA people. Having cramp for a diagnosis was actualy a relief for me. At least he’s not in any pain (I didn’t think he was, since he never lashed out at anything or anyone during the attacks, but hey, ya never know what’s going on in those pretty little stoic looking heads right?)

    1. Some people will insist Scottie Cramp and CA are different, others say they’re the same. I’ll admit I’m stumped.

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