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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25650
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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He is a 14 year old standard Poodle who started to have

Customer Question

He is a 14 year old standard Poodle who started to have violent head shaking after his grooming a week ago. For the first five days, it was only when he woke up in the morning - and it was accompanied by reckless running. We've seen this before in the last year but it usually resolves in a day or two. As of last night, he was up every hour doing a walk through of the bedroom with shaking. The reckless running is mostly gone. But when he's awake and standing, he has very little if none shaking. Vet was here Tuesday, ears appear fine. We knew he could have a deeper infection, but seemed strange to everyone that during the daytime and while standing - he's just about fine.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Have you looked to see if there is a wound on their foot?
Customer: No foot wound that I see - why? With the ears shaking?
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the standard poodle?
Customer: History of very occaisonal petit mal seizures maybe and one large seizure 3 months ago. Some arthritis and back pain, weak back legs. sensitive to blow drying in grooming heat as he's gotten older, entire touching / sensory stuff much more sensitive now. Hearing loss. Had entropian surgery 7 mos. ago
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. To summarize, for the first 5 days following grooming, your poodle violently shook his head and ran recklessly. As of last night he was still restless and shaking but very little reckless running was seen. When he's still and during the day he rarely shakes. Ears were checked and found to be unremarkable.

There are two important differentials in such cases. His history of seizure disorder shouldn't be ignored. Complex partial seizure (also called psychomotor seizure and previously called petit mal) activity can explain what you're seeing. Complex partial seizures are described as abnormal focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body and which may be associated with autonomic signs, (salivation, vomiting, e.g.) and iareassociated with a change in mentation (mental status) and/or behavioral abnormalities. Secondly, sundowner's syndrome might at least be contributory to his behavior. This is a form of cognitive dysfunction in dogs and humans. It's conjectured that the dark and quiet of night magnifies the sensory loss in these patients which results in their anxiety and subsequent aimless wandering. Other indications of cognitive dysfunction include disorientation, changes in social and interactive behavior - becoming "needier" or, conversely, more aloof - changes in locomotor and sleep cycle behaviors, and loss of housetraining.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
agreed but because this immediately followed the grooming, I suspect his head was held too tightly, or he got water in the ear and he stood too long causing further back and neck issues, and he was probably shaved too closely -- all causing discomfort and restlessness. My question is really about the shaking the head after getting up from the bed and not shaking when walking around or standing up. I assume that means it's very unlikely to be an infection (there are no signs of one, no smell or discharge) ...right? Because if it was an infection - he'd shake when standing too, yes? And could he have water in the ear bothering him only when lying down 8 days post a bath? If yes, how would one help work that water out, considering he's very sensitive right now about being touched?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

Correct, if his ears were the problem why don't they bother him all the time? His vet would have seen water in his ears or evidence of middle ear infection - a bulging eardrum, e.g. I think his ears are a red herring and he's experiencing episodic head pain or perhaps dizziness.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Well the vet didn't look in the ears with a scope - he was too sensitive. But I've peered in and they are clean and apparently dry. He couldn't still have water stuck in the ear drum, right? And it gets irritated laying down on his side? To be clear it's not that he's never shaking standing - it's just very infrequent, but is sometimes walking with one side of his head down/tilted, occasionally, like 4x a day. We're doing to try some Metacam, along with the CBD he is one, as well he's on Melatonin. If you have any other ideas of how to rule things out or decrease the shaking/lack of normal long sleeping periods, let me know.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

I believe that you meant fluid behind the ear drum. If you were to pursue a middle ear infection, his ears would need to be scoped and in some instances, X-rays of the middle ears are necessary. It seems odd to me to be spending so much time conjecturing what's going on without having had his ears scoped. He may need to be restrained because of the sensitivity but it takes less than minute to scope both ears.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
they didn't scope because he literally was not able to be restrained with 3 people. The vet comes to the house because he's so old.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 months ago.

Ah! I understand.