Punatassun Nebulosa AC, or vilma as we used to call her, was born 7.12 2002 and passed away 7.4 2003 suffering from Cerebella
Abiotrophy. They treated Vilma at The Helsinki Univesrity departement of veterinary medicine. Here she also was euthanised
and they did do an histopathological examination, as well.
The sad story about Vilma...
Hi to all Lagottos and Lagotto people. Iīm a chick called Vilma, and Iīm 4 months old. I live with my Mum, dad and
two human-sisters. They have made the backyard all for me and my needs. Mum doesnīt even get mad if Iīm playing the gardener
with her, what they used to call, flowers. But the best of all is our summer cottage. There Iīm free to explore the mystery
of the earth. The summer has just begun, so I have a lot to explore.
It was at the summer cottage mum noticed
that there was something really wrong with me. Dad was up North in Lapland snowmobiling. Mum and I had helped out granny carrying
out wood from the forrest and mum thought at first that I was too tired, my backleggs did slipp and shake. But the condision
got worse on Sunday when we got home, I started to fall ower.
At first they blamed I got so much worms in my
belly, but mum had allready given me medication for that. So mum took me to the veterinarian, as worried as she was.
veterinarian examinated me properly, and as I was her first Lagotto-patient she didnīt argue with the information of the worms
by the breeder and put Stronghold-medicine in my neck to prevent worms. She did, though, talk about something like a need
to see a neurologist if I didnīt get any better in a couple of days. I didnīt worry a thing, the vet was a really nice person,
she told me I was a very brave and nice little doggie, and I just LOVE people. Dad got home and I was thrilled. He always
takes me with him to the sauna and I love it. But now I couldnīt manage to get all the way up to the seats, but dad
helped me as nice as he is, and we had a great time in the hot sauna.
I had allready learned what the refrigerator-door sounded like. So nobody could open it without me near by. I was that
guard, you know. Mum and dad got sometimes a little nervous with me hanging around the frigerator all the time.
I can allready do "my things" outside. You should know how proud they are! So I donīt have to read the old newspapers
by the door anymoore.
The problem with me, you see, is that I donīt have the balance like you other Lagottos. I try to
play and run but always fall to the groud. Mum is afraid I might broke a leg someday. My whole body is shaking and itīs a
big job to try to stand up without falling all the time.
Mum took me back to that nice veterinarian, cause I got worse.
I was just so happy seeing her again. But she was very sad and the next day we went to The Helsinki Univesity pet-hospital
to see a neurologist.
So off we went the very next day by car. The neurologist was a really nice guy, even
though they spoke english, and I just understand Finnish, you see. The neurologist examinated me by different methods, walking,
runing and the best was that I saw a BIG horse, too. Dad was also with us. The neurologist told mum and dad that I had
some problems with my cerebellum. They came to the conclusion that I had to spend the night at the hospital and theyīll run
some tests and take a MRI-scan out of my brain.
The very nest day the bomb exploded! I had Cerebellar Abiotrophia, and thereīs no cure for this, and nobody knows how
So I can never ever be a normal Lagotto...
My family was devastated, even though I was trilled of going home, home
sweet home. My tail almost broke as much I had to move it in the happiness I felt. This disease hasnīt changed my mood at
all. I can do a lot of tricks. Iīm still a Lagotto, you know... I just can not do everything. Now we are waitng and observing
The last couple of days has been horrible. I canīt even do my pee without some help from mum or dad.
Thank Good, they help me out, otherwise ...
Eating has become difficult as well. Iīm falling in to the food cup.
Nothing does matter as long as my family loves me! They are going trough a very hard time as well, and I do try to cheer
them up. They have to laugh at me, as silly as I can be. But the atmosphere at home is sad. They are crying a lot.
Today we went back to the neurologist and they made some more examinations. They calmed me down with drugs...mummy kissed
me goodbye and held me for the last time...
Now Iīm playing up here in Dogs Heaven. Iīm nolonger a sick Lagotto!!! I just feel so bad for my family...they DO
I send Lagotto-greetings to you all,
Love from me, Vilma
...here is the final report on Vilma...
History: abnormal gait since about 3 weeks.
General clinical and orthopedical examination: normal.
Neurological examination: generalised ataxia, hypermetria in the front, deficits in the postrual reactions,
normal reflexes, decreased menance reaction on both sides.
Blood examination: normal.
Magnetic reconance imaging: the cerebellum seems to be somewhat smaller as expected; hypointense areas in T2
in the white matter of the cerebellum and mesecephalon; these changes seems to be symmetrical and do not enchance after the
gadolinium aplication. These lesions are isointense or even mildly hypointense in T1.
Cerebrospinal fluid examination: normal.
Necropsy: the cerebellum weighed about 7% of the total brain (normal 10-12%). No lesions were found in any of
the brain or spinal cord parts except the cerebellum. Here there is a profound loss of the granular layer. This lesion is
through all of the folia of the vermis and paravermis and the medial part of the lateral aspect of the hemisphere but the
most lateral folia of the hemisphere are spared bilaterally.
Histopathological diagnosis: cerebellar abiotrophy
Conclusion: described degenerative cerebellar disorders in Vilma most likely have an inherited pathogenesis
as it is described in other dog breeds.
An abiotrophy means that neurons that should last for life of the animal die prematurely - usually
at a few weeks to months of age - due to some intrinisc abnormality in their cell bodies. The spesific intracellular abnormality
is unknown and most circumstances the abnormality is due to a gene defect which is inherited. This diagnosis can only be confrimed
by necropsy and it is important to be sure of your diagnosis before you incriminate the breeding.
These wise words are e-mailed to me by:
Alexander de Lahunta DVM,PhD
Department of Biomedical Scienses - College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, New York 14853