Krabbe disease (also known as globoid cell leukedystrophy or galactosylceramide lipidosis) is a congenital disease, said to be a recessive hereditary defect. This degenerative disorder affects the nervous system. Symptoms first appear between 2 and six months of age and include muscle weakness and ataxia (a lack of coordination). It often starts with pelvic limbs: legs are stiff or puppies simply fall over onto their sides. Other symptoms include head tremors, blindness, weakened or complete loss of spinal reflexes, muscle atrophy and behavior changes. As a degenerative disorder, the disease progressively worsens and dogs are usually euthanized between 10 months to 2 years of age. Krabbe disease is diagnosed by a clinical evaluation, neurological testing or MRI.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Krabbe disease. The breeds affected are Cairn Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, Miniature Poodles, Irish Setter, Bluetick Coonhounds and Australian Kelpies. The interesting thing is each breed has a different mutation that causes the disease, but all breeds have the same result.