Myotonia Congenita (Discovered in Australian Cattle Dog)

Myotonia Congenita is a muscle disorder affecting dogs from birth. The condition causes affected dogs to have muscles that contract and cramp easily.

Key Signs

Delayed muscle reaction, Stiff movements, Hypertrophic skeletal muscles, Bunny-hop-like movement

Age of Onset

0 to 2 yrs

Juvenile onset


Autosomal Recessive

For autosomal recessive disorders, dogs with two copies of the variant are at risk of developing the condition. Dogs with one copy of the variant are considered carriers and are usually not at risk of developing the disorder. However, carriers of some complex variants grouped in this category may be associated with a low risk of developing the disorder. Individuals with one or two copies may pass the disorder-associated variant to their puppies if bred.

Likelihood of the Condition

High likelihood

At risk dogs are highly likely to show signs of this disease in their lifetime.

What to Do

Here’s how to care for a dog with Myotonia Congenita

Partner with your veterinarian to make a plan regarding your dog’s well-being, including any insights provided through genetic testing. If your pet is at risk or is showing signs of this disorder, then the first step is to speak with your veterinarian.

For Veterinarians

Here’s what a vet needs to know about Myotonia Congenita

The clinical signs can be seen in puppies only a few weeks old. An affected dog suffers from muscle hypertrophy and has stiff movements. It can have difficulties rising after rest and in rapid changes of posture. The disorder is characterized by a bunny-hopping gait. An affected dog may also suffer from superior prognathism (protrusion of one or both jaws), ptyalism (excessive salivation), dental abnormalities, and increased respiratory sounds during exercise. The tongue of affected dogs is enlarged and stiffens when touched.

Affected dogs may need assistance after rest or during muscle cramping to allow them to get to their feet and move normally. Some assistance may also be needed for everyday tasks such as stair climbing.

For Breeders

Planning to breed a dog with this genetic variant?

There are many responsibilities to consider when breeding dogs. Regardless of test results it is important that your dog is in good general health and that you are in a position to care for the puppies if new responsible owners are not found. For first time or novice breeders, advice can be found at most kennel club websites.

This disease is autosomal recessive meaning that two copies of the mutation are needed for disease signs to occur. A carrier dog with one copy of the Myotonia Congenita (Discovered in Australian Cattle Dog) mutation can be safely bred with a clear dog with no copies of the Myotonia Congenita (Discovered in Australian Cattle Dog) mutation. About half of the puppies will have one copy (carriers) and half will have no copies of the Myotonia Congenita mutation. Puppies in a litter which is expected to contain carriers should be tested prior to breeding. Carrier to carrier matings are not advised as the resulting litter may contain affected puppies. Please note: It is possible that disease signs similar to the ones caused by the Myotonia Congenita mutation could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Gene CLCN1
Variant Insertion
Chromosome 16
Coordinate Start 6,344,730
Coordinate End 6,344,731

All coordinates reference CanFam3.1

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Rhodes, T. H., Vite, C. H., Giger, U., Patterson, D. F., Fahlke, C., & George, A. L. (1999). A missense mutation in canine ClC-1 causes recessive myotonia congenita in the dog. FEBS Letters, 456(1), 54–58. View the article