How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Gabby Your Own Question

Dr. Gabby
Dr. Gabby, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9200
Experience:  15 years working as a full time veterinarian
2263760
Type Your Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Gabby is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a 7 year old Medium sized Rat Terrier that has just

Resolved Question:

I have a 7 year old Medium sized Rat Terrier that has just bitten my 23 year old daughter. Queenie was sleeping next to her on the couch and my daughter put her hand down and touched her back paw. The dog woke up and grabbed onto her hand and would not let go. This just happened. Queenie has bitten me and my son while sleeping next to us. Always unprovoked but it is always when she awakes suddenly. I am not letting her on the couch or on the bed as this is more than I can take. She has a very nice life here and we all love her but this is getting too much. I have another 12 year old, much smaller Rat Terrier, and Queenie is submissive to her. I got Queenie at 4 months of age from a chaotic home but she did adjust well after a few months. When she does not sleep in the bed or couch, she sleeps under my bed. Any other suggestions? Should I consider putting her down? She does not seem aggressive towards other dogs and this only happens when she wakes up suddenly. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 1 year ago.
Hello. Thank you for asking your question. My name isXXXXX will try to help.
Does it only happen when she is woken up from sleeping?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes--she has only done this if she is sleeping.

Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,

The most likely cause is a sleep disorder. It is called a "rapid eye movement" disorder in dogs because that is the part of the sleep cycle in which the disorder occurs. When she is attacking you, part of her brain is turned off so she does not know what she is doing. Dogs with this problem, can be very aggressive, and bite, when woken up.

During dreaming, the brain is electrically very active This includes the portion of the brain that controls movement. During this stage of sleep, a region in the brain stem actively paralyzes motor neurons to prevent that activity in the motor center from causing movement. The exception to this are the motor neurons that control breathing and eye movements. That's why you see the rapid eye movement (REM) during certain stages of sleep. In some patients, this active paralysis of motor neurons fails. This results in excessive, sometimes violent motor activity during dreaming. In some cases this is associated with vocalizations such as growling and even biting/attacking movements. The dog is basically acting out his dreams.
The main risk is the dog hurts themselves or hurts anyone or anybody nearby. Management consists of having the dog sleep in a confined, well-padded area, such as a crate to prevent any injury.

There are two medications, clonazepam and bromide, that can be used to treat it. Your vet can prescribe those medications for you.

Seizure activity can cause this type of behavior as well.

If it is seizure activity, you can not wake the dog up during a seizure.

If you google "REM sleep disorder" you can see some videos, on YouTube, of dogs and people with this problem which may help you tell the difference.

You will need to video tape a couple of episodes so your vet can see what is going on and to help your determine the cause as well as a treatment.

Your vet will want to do blood work, and a urinalysis, to make sure there is not an underlying medical cause as well.

I hope this helps.

If you have additional questions, please click "reply."

Dr. Gabby, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9200
Experience: 15 years working as a full time veterinarian
Dr. Gabby and 4 other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Queenie does alot of moving and pseudobarking when she is in a deep sleep. I will take this under advisement and contact my Vet. I think you may be correct with this as she doesn't seem to know what she is doing when she bites. Thank you for your time.

Expert:  Dr. Gabby replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. I have a feeling she is a sweet girl and can not help it.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    2630
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    2630
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1656
    12 years of small animal veterinary medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1451
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PC/pcbobber/photo.64x64.JPG Dr. Bob's Avatar

    Dr. Bob

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1306
    35 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    865
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1889
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • /img/icons/shirt.jpg Dr. Jenn's Avatar

    Dr. Jenn

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1225
    Practicing small animal medicine since 2004 , also involved in working with animal rescue groups.