Cramping syndrome (CECS)

Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome (CECS), Spike's disease


Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome is an episodic movement disorder with an unknown cause.

CECS is most commonly reported to affect Border Terriers, but dogs of other breeds, other Terriers in particular, can also be affected. 

CECS onsets at early adulthood, but also younger or older dogs can become affected. The duration of CECS episodes typically ranges between a couple of minutes and a half an hour. The most common symptoms are difficulties in moving, mild tremor and muscle cramps, repetitive movements and atypical postures.

Genes are likely to play a role in the susceptibility to CECS, but the mode of inheritance and the causative genes are unknown. The disease is diagnosed by so-called exclusion diagnostics, which means that if the dog has no other diseases which could cause such episodes; it is possible that the dog has CECS. It may be difficult to distinguish between a focal epileptic seizure and CECS episode, and it is possible that CECS is one form of canine epilepsy. During CECS episode, the dog has normal consciousness even if both body sides were affected. The dog does not have excessive drooling, urination or defecation.


Study breeds:

Border Terriers, but also other Terrier breeds. We are also interested in hearing about this condition in other breeds. 


Dogs eligible for study:

We collect samples from dogs affected with CECS.


Copies of diagnoses and other information needed:

CECS diary, results from clinical examinations, possible post-mortem report.



Further information on sending blood samples.

A sample form to be sent along with the blood samples.

An electronic form for details and updates of dog's health and owner's contact information.

We collect detailed information from all sampled dogs with dyskinesia episodes with an epilepsy questionnaire. Please download the questionnaire from this web page, fill it out and send to us by e-mail.


Contact person: Tiina Heinonen (tiina.heinonen(at)



Black et al. 2013: Phenotypic characterisation of canine epileptoid cramping syndrome in the Border terrier. Journal of Small Animal Practise 55, 102–107.