Myotonia Congenita in Dogs


What is Myotonia Congenita?

Dogs with myotonia congenita will frequently experience unusual muscle tightness and trouble getting up, as the illness effects their muscles through duplicated contraction of muscle fibers. There is a lot of lab and medical evidence revealing that the abnormality triggering the condition lies in the muscle cell membrane. This illness can affect dogs, together with people, horses and goats. Myotonia might likewise provide as an obtained condition. It might be connected with Cushing’s illness, and must your pet be identified with that condition, treatment for it might fix their signs of myotonia.

Myotonia congenita is an uncommon condition triggering muscle hypertrophy in dogs along with obvious tightness upon increasing to a standing position.

Signs of Myotonia Congenita in Dogs

Dogs that have myotonia congenita will show clinical signs at a couple of weeks of age. These consist of:

  • Muscle tightness
  • An unusual gait (like a bunny hop)
  • Bigger tongue which might make it harder to swallow
  • Craniofacial structure abnormalities
  • Furrowing on numerous muscles when they are struck


There seem numerous kinds of membrane sores that can cause the condition of myotonia. In the type that affects goats, together with a minimum of one type that affects people, the illness can be connected to a shortage in chloride having the ability to permeate throughout the muscle membrane. The shortage will trigger an electrical instability in the membrane that will lead the muscle fiber to have self-generated action capacities after any frequently produced action capacity. It is because of these recurring additional capacities that stiffness establishes. 

In the type that impacts dogs, horses (and the more serious cases in people), chloride conductance appears common; nevertheless, the secondary recurring action capacities take location, resulting in the advancement of muscle tightness. 

While myotonia congenita is an acquired condition, myotonia can likewise be gotten, frequently as an outcome of a main condition that your pet is experiencing.

Reasons For Myotonia Congenita in Dogs

Myotonia congenita is an autosomal recessive illness that can be seen in Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chow Chows, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Australian Livestock dogs, Jack Russell Terriers, Mini Schnauzers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Chloride channels generally permit appropriate conduction of electrical impulses from the nerves to the muscles. In cases of myotonia congenita, the chloride channels are lacking this capability. The illness is triggered by a myocyte chloride conductance problem, which results in continuous contraction or a hold-up in the relaxation of your pet’s voluntary muscles.  

Some dogs develop myotonia as a secondary condition to a main illness (for instance, Cushing’s illness, a contagious illness or an immune-mediated condition). In these cases, the main illness that your pet is experiencing might be adding to chloride channel disruptions.

Medical Diagnosis of Myotonia Congenita in Dogs

The vet will identify your pet based upon the clinical signs he is showing and the findings of an electromyography (EMG). A muscle biopsy would reveal moderate and nonspecific modifications in the muscle.

Must your pet be identified with myotonia, specific if your vet presumes the condition has actually been gotten, instead of hereditary, additional examination will likely be performed to be sure that the myotonia is not being triggered by another problem that your pet is experiencing.

Treatment of Myotonia Congenita in Dogs

Treatment alternatives for myotonia consist of quinidine, mexiletine, and procainamide. All 3 of these are medications that support the membrane and have actually been discovered to minimize the signs in dogs with this condition. If it is figured out that your pet has Cushing’s illness or another condition that might be resulting in the myotonia he is experiencing, the vet will wish to deal with that condition initially. In many cases, the treatment for this other condition might deal with the signs of myotonia that exist in your pet. Need to there be no resolution or if it is figured out that your pet does not have another problem, your vet will take a look at dealing with the myotonia with the medications noted above. With medication, your pet will have a great diagnosis.

Healing of Myotonia Congenita in Dogs

If your pet has actually been identified with myotonia congenita, you will wish to administer the medication suggested by your vet and alert him to any modifications you see in your pet’s condition. Must your pet be identified with Cushing’s illness or another main condition, it is necessary to follow the directions of your vet in order to assist the condition of your pet to end up being supported. Preferably, solving the condition will fix his myotonia. Sadly, that is not constantly the case. Must he not have a contributing condition or if treatment for the condition does not fix his myotonia, your vet will advise treatment particularly for myotonia. It is most likely that signs will not be gotten rid of with medication however will be enhanced. To guarantee the very best result for your pet, you will wish to work carefully with your vet and go to follow up visits as required.

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