"Hypermetria and Dysmetria in Dogs

"Hypermetria and Dysmetria in Dogs

Health & Safety

Both hypermetria and dysmetria are conditions that negatively impact a dog's movements. While dysmetria describes how a dog cannot judge either the rate, force or range of their movements, hypermetria on the other hand describes how they have the tendency to overreach and how their gait is affected which sees dogs high stepping rather than walking normally.

Symptoms Associated with the Disorders

When dogs suffer from the conditions, there are certain signs to watch out for which are associated with both hypermetria and dysmetria. These are as follows:

  • Dogs typically have a strange tilt of the head
  • They often sway and are unable to stop swaying
  • Dogs suffer tremours which are a lot more noticeable when they move than when they are standing still
  • They stand with their legs wide apart
  • Their reflexes are slow or unresponsive
  • Their pupils are a different size which is referred to as anisocoria
  • A dog’s movements are abnormally jerky

The Causes

All too often the primary cause of dogs developing the condition are as follows:

  • Trauma which involves an injury of some kind to the spine
  • Trauma which involves an injury of some sort to the brain
  • Lesions on a dog's cerebellum which can be caused by strokes or tumours that form close to nerves

Diagnosing the Condition

A vet would ideally need to know a dog's full medical history and how the first signs of there being something wrong first presented themselves. They would also need to know if a dog has been involved in any sort of incident which could have led to them injuring either their spines or brains. The kind of tests a vet would recommend carrying out on a dog suspected of suffering from the condition which would help confirm a diagnosis could include the following:

  • X-ray of the brain and spine to establish if these have been negatively impacted in any way
  • Ultrasound of the brain and spine to establish if these have been negatively impacted in any way

Should the tests come back showing no signs of any sort of cerebellar disease, a vet would check a dog's reflexes bearing in mind that some dogs naturally have a high stepping gait which must be taken into consideration when carrying out an examination. Should the vet find that a dog's menace response is slow or non-existent which is done by gently stabbing a finger towards a dog’s eye, it usually means that their vision has been seriously impaired or that a dog has suffered a neurological dysfunction.

Treatment Options

If a dog's condition is deemed severe, a vet would recommend they be hospitalised so tests can be carried out on them and this allows a vet to keep a close eye on a dog’s condition. However, if the symptoms are only mild, dogs can usually be treated as outpatients. With this said, any dog that suffers from the condition should be kept safe and not allowed to roam around outside which could result in them injuring themselves. As such, it's important to keep a dog as quiet as possible and to set up a nice quiet area in a home during their recovery period.

Occasionally, a vet would recommend restricting a dog's movements altogether even if it is only for a while, but it's also important that dogs with the condition are not left on their own for any length of time as this can stress them out which in turn could slow their healing process down considerably. It is also crucial for dogs that have suffered from hypermetria and dysmetria to be taken for follow up visits to the vet so their condition can be assessed on a regular basis.

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