Cerebellar Hypoplasia, CH, is a neurological condition affecting balance. With CH, the cerebellum, which is the part of the brain that controls coordination and fine motor skills, has not developed normally.
Causes of CH can be trauma to kittens in the womb, disease to the mother such as bacterial infections, viral infections (feline panleukopenia) during pregnancy. Severity of the condition varies even among litter mates.
Cats with CH can have a wobbly gait, tremors, head shaking, leaning to one side, sometimes vision problems. But they can live normal lives since the condition does not progress and is not contagious.
Diagnosis is made by using a CT scan or MRI to make sure the cause is CH and not a disease with similar symptoms.
There is no treatment for CH, but cats with the condition adjust remarkably well and learn to compensate and have a normal lifespan. These cats should be kept indoors to help avoid any accidental injuries.
Sadly, many cats with CH wind up in shelters and are euthanized, not given a chance at adoption. If you are interested in adopting a cat with CH, check online or at your local shelter for a list of adoptable cats.
CH can occur in dogs as well and have the same prognosis with normal lifespans.