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Ask Dr. Stacy Your Own Question
Dr. Stacy
Dr. Stacy, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1555
Experience:  10 years of experience in general practice.
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My american bulldog seems to shake like she is

Customer Question

my american bulldog seems to shake like she is freezing...esp when it thunders ...but now she does it even on nice days...what could this be?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the bulldog's name and age?
Customer: chloe...june 1st 2years old...i know she is afraid of the thunder...but now it is coming more freq the last couple of days ...last about 45 min....breathes heavy...like she just ran...then stops
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Chloe?
Customer: no ...
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is***** I have been a small animal veterinarian for 14 years and I'd like to help with your question.

Can you tell me a bit more about what is going on. For example, in between trembling episodes, is she perfectly normal? How often are the episodes? And is it primarily her head or her whole body that shakes?

Give me a few minutes to work on an answer for you, but it will help if you can tell me more details.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
she is normal between episodes - eating, drinking, playful, acting normal. episodes occur once a day for the last 3 (that i've noticed) - its her whole body, not her head. it started after a thunder storm that occurred a few weeks ago that is all started.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
dr stacy - would you be able to call me?
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

I am not set up to make phone calls. I can try to refer your question to someone who is if you would like.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
no then...continue
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

Bulldogs (usually english, but american too) can be prone to something called idiopathic head tremors, but this condition is truly limited to just the head so I don't think that is what is going on.

Generalized trembling can be from pain or anxiety, but I also don't think that is the case since she seems to be so normal in between episodes and I wouldn't expect pain or anxiety to come and go in that fashion.

The challenge is that all the other potential causes of tremors like this are either muscle or nerve diseases/problems and these can be very difficult to diagnose. There are some infections... such as neopora or toxoplasma that can effect the brain and cause intermittent tremors. There are some rare metabolic disorders that can cause substances to build up in the muscles and cause occasional tremors. But most commonly there are epileptic type changes in the brain that could potentially cause this. Cancer is also a possibility, but less likely at this age.

Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

The reason that these things are such a challenge is that any testing of the brain/nerves/muscles is difficult. There are not simple blood tests for these problems. You really need an MRI and spinal tap to get to the bottom of it.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
should i have her go to the vet for blood work...or give it a couple of days and see if it continues? otherwise she is acting fine playing ..ect...
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

Sometimes what I like to do is try some pain relief and/or anti anxiety medications to see if the tremors stop. This is just to make sure that these things are not factors before we send dogs for a very expensive workup. You would probably need to ask your veterinarian about prescription pain relief, but you can try some of the homeopathic anti anxiety treatments you will find at most pet stores. They usually involved DAP (dog appeasement hormone) or some blend of chamomile.

Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

If the pain relief and anti anxiety don't help then bloodwork is next. If that is normal, then MRI, spinal tap, etc. If you can't afford that kind of work up then your veterinarian may do a trial with medications they would use for epilepsy.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
is the drug under a certain name?
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

Phenobarbital is the first choice, but there are others. I'm glad that she is normal in between, but it is still probably important to try to stop them because they could get worse over time.

I hope that helps, but if you have more questions please let me know.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
thank u
Expert:  Dr. Stacy replied 6 months ago.

Best wishes!