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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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My dog is shaking and twitching but not whining (just laying

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My dog is shaking and twitching but not whining (just laying on a pillow) He has just started doing this in the last 10 minutes but he has seemed like he had a cold for the past few days. This is the first time it has happened, what could be the problem?

Dr. John :

Thank you for your question. Is he aware of his environment? Responsive to you?

Customer:

Yes, but very lethargic

Customer:

slow movements

Dr. John :

And shaking and twitching?

Dr. John :

Full body?

Dr. John :

Is he eating and drinking?

Dr. John :

Any vomiting and/or diarrhea?

Customer:

Yeah full body

Customer:

not that I have noticed

Customer:

he has been eating and drinking no problem

Dr. John :

Is it possible he has gotten into any toxins?

Dr. John :

Are you able to take a body temperature (rectal unfortunately only way it is accurate, with a soft digital thermometer)

Customer:

that's what I wondered but I haven't seen anything he could have gotten into. How long would that take to take effect? He was outside all day yesterday and could have eaten something

Customer:

he has been with me all day and hasn't eaten anything today

Customer:

no i don't have a thermometer

Dr. John :

Toxins typically take anywhere from 6-24 hours to see symptoms due to the toxin ingestion

Customer:

I see, it's possible he ate something yesterday

Dr. John :

Well the symptoms you describe are certainly concerning. My top two concerns would be a toxin ingestion/exposure or a central neurologic disease

Dr. John :

If he is so cold to the point of shivering this could be something else, but still would be very concerning as animals should be able to maintain their body temperature very well

Customer:

if it was a neurological disease wouldn't we have shown in before?

Dr. John :

Not necessarily. It could be from an infection or an immune-mediated process.

Dr. John :

It doesn't sound like seizures (because he is aware and responsive), however seizure disorders such as epilepsy can show up at any age, and typically between age 1-5 for the first time

Customer:

Hmm - it doesn't seem to be significant shaking. More like he's shivering, especially when he lays down

Customer:

Ok, well he just jumped up and ran outside to pee and he seems to be a little better already. he is moving around and wagging his tail again

Customer:

the shaking seems to be gone already

Customer:

i don't know why it changed so fast

Dr. John :

Well that is a good sign. Any limping or painful areas? Sometimes shaking is a sign of pain as well.

Dr. John :

Will he take a treat from you?

Customer:

yeah, I just gave him one and he ate it right away

Customer:

and drank some water right after

Customer:

no limping and the shaking seems to be gone

Dr. John :

Feel him all around and make sure there are no painful areas...

Dr. John :

If you aren't able to elicit any pain from him whatsoever, then this is possible this was either a toxin ingestion (that hopefully is being cleared well since you saw such a dramatic improvement) or a waxing and waning neurologic condition.

Customer:

I checked him everywhere, no pain noises

Customer:

right now he is 100% back to normal

Dr. John :

If you don't see any further abnormal behavior, I wouldn't worry about this and just assume he possibly got into something that has resolved (assuming he continues to eat and drink, have energy, act completely normal)

Customer:

Ok, i'll keep an eye on him for the rest of the night. Thank-you!

Dr. John :

If you do see relapse of this behavior, I would strongly consider having him evaluated for neurologic disease

Dr. John :

Any drugs in the house or that he could be exposed to such as marijuana?

Customer:

no, not any that I can think of

Dr. John :

Marijuana can cause ataxia and some shaking, but in a dog his size probably wouldn't cause anything else and would resolve on its own..

Dr. John :

Okay, just wanted to check - we see this all the time at the emergency clinic!!

Customer:

no nothing like that

Customer:

and I checked the cabinets and there was nothing that looked like he might have gotten into (cleaners and such)

Dr. John :

Well good luck with everything, if the shaking/tremoring relapses, have a neurologic workup to rule out concerning underlying things such as immune mediated disease and central nervous system infection

Dr. John :

Okay great

Customer:

ok I will do that.

Dr. John :

Well hopefully this was an isolated incident and you won't see anything further, glad it resolved so rapidly (that is often a good sign)

Dr. John :

Good luck with him!

Dr. John :

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Customer:

thanks again!

Dr. John :

welcome :-)

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