Tremors in Dogs: Does your dog have the shakes?

Tremors in Dogs: Does your dog have the shakes?

There are many reasons why your dog has tremors. Before you take your four-legged friend to the veterinarian, you might want to check for the obvious: is your dog cold, scared, or is it asleep and dreaming? In senior dogs, shaking can be caused by muscle fatigue.

These types of tremors can be easily addressed. But what if your dog is not cold, afraid, asleep or tired? What if the shaking is constant? Or what if the shaking is intermittent, but frequent enough to affect your dog’s quality of life? Then, it is time to take your pooch to the veterinarian to get down to causes and conditions.

Dogs suffer from two types of tremors: specific body part tremor and entire body tremor.

Specific Body Parts Tremor in Dogs – as the name implies this type of tremor affects certain areas of a dog’s body. Primarily, the dog’s head and hind legs are afflicted. If your dog is exhibiting signs of specific body part tremors, it could be due to a neuromuscular disease. The most common forms of tremors associated with neuromuscular diseases are Intention Tremors, Idiopathic Tremors, and Distemper Myoclonus.

  • Intention Tremors in Dogs are caused by diseases that attack the cerebellum. A dog with Intention Tremors will appear normal, but when the dog has to focus its attention on a specific task its head and neck will shake.
  • Idiopathic Head Tremors in Dogs is present when a dog bobs its head up and down or side-to-side. Veterinarians and scientists have yet to figure out what causes this type of tremor. Idiopathic head tremors are most prevalent in beagles, boxers, Doberman pinschers, and English bulldogs. Anti-seizure medications have proven ineffective against Idiopathic Head tremors.
  • Distemper Myoclonus in Dogs can occur when a dog has suffered through a bout of canine distemper. Signs your dog might have Distemper Myoclonus include seizures, paralysis or long-term twitching of the muscle. The twitching can occur in one or more areas of the body. The use of anti-seizure medication has proven to be ineffective against Distemper myoclonus.

Entire Body Tremor in Dogs is when the dog’s whole body starts to shake. Seizures/epilepsy, hypocalcemia (low blood calcium), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), and toxins (such as insecticides and pesticides) can cause your dog to shake. If your dog’s entire body shakes take it to a veterinarian right away.

In conclusion, tremors in dogs can be classified as specific body parts tremor and entire body tremor. A dog with specific body parts tremor will display shaking in one or more areas of the body. This type of tremor is caused by trauma, tumor or infection. Entire body tremor is indicative of a dog with low blood calcium, low blood sugar, toxins, or seizures/epilepsy. Dogs exhibiting tremors should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and a course of treatment.

Do you have a dog with tremors?  How do you deal with it? 


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