Neurological problems in miniature schnauzers

miniature schnauzer image by Alison Bowden from

Miniature schnauzers are a relatively healthy breed of dog. Though some neurological issues are known to exist in the breed, with responsible breeding programs, these problems are becoming less common.

Known neurological problems for miniature schnauzers include neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinoses, fibrocartilaginous embolism and hyperlipidemia.

Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses (NCLs)

The neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinoses are inherited neurological disorders causing pathological degenerative changes in the central nervous system. In miniature schnauzers the onset of the NCL symptoms begins between ages 2 and 4 and first present as vision abnormalities leading to blindness, confusion, loss of memory and bouts of trembling. No treatment is available for NCLs, but research is being performed to identify the genes responsible for the condition.

Fibrocartilaginous Embolism (FCE)

A fibrocartilaginous embolism is an obstruction of bloodflow to the spinal cord resulting in paralysis of one or more limbs. The condition is initially very painful, but the pain typically disappears within a few hours. No proven form of treatment is available, but success has been found with steroid treatments and rehabilitation therapy.


Hyperlipidemia causes seizures in miniature schnauzers. This disorder is caused by a failure to break down chylomicrons, which in turn results in an elevated concentration of tryglycerides responsible for seizures. This condition typically presents in middle-aged dogs and may be intermittent or occur as acute, severe distress. Manifestation of this disorder may include seizures, as well as gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain or pancreatitis. Treatment for hyperlipidemia is typically diet-based, but administration of medication may be required in some cases.