Scottie Cramp is a disorder in serotonin metabolism that causes either a shortage or an overdose of serotonin. It only affects Scottish Terriers — and occasionally affect Cesky Terriers, which were developed from Scottish Terriers. Scottie Cramp is an inherited autosomal recessive trait and begins occurring in puppyhood or in a dog’s early years. The condition does not progress as a dog ages, remaining at the same level throughout his life span. Your Scottish Terrier will either exhibit a “goose-stepping gait” and/or arched spine after exercise or a period of overexcitement. It’s recommended that a Scottish Terrier exhibiting Scottie Cramp to not take part in breeding programs.
A similar disorder is known as cerebellar abiotrophy (CA). Scottie Cramp and CA are often confused with each other as the symptoms of both are similar. The main difference is that CA is a progressive degenerative disease that results from the premature loss of brain cells in the cerebellum that cause ataxia (the inability to coordinate movement). CA is also a hereditary condition. CA generally is a late onset disorder and you may not even notice it when your Scottish Terrier is young. As he ages and loses more brain cells normally, you should see the disorder more clearly. Don’t fret, if your Scottish Terrier does have CA, he can still live a full life. His mind remains normal throughout his life, he will simply require more assistance or supports to get around.