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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30398
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our 14 year old female Anatolian Shepherd that we rescued

Customer Question

Our 14 year old female Anatolian Shepherd that we rescued 01/2015 was diagnosed with DM. Her back legs are weak from the disease but we are coping with that. We have noticed a tick and vibrating or tremors on the scalp when she sleeps which wakes her up and she paces. This will go on all night therefore nobody is sleeping. We have tried Tramadol, Gabapentin, Trazadone and Diazapan to help her sleep but she developed gastro-intestinal problems and is now on Carafate. She takes Primor for chronic UTI. Would Phenobarbital help with the tick and tremors. and relax her enough to help her sleep? I hope you can help us because we are truly "Sleepless in Philadelphia."
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with your shepherd. The tick/tremors may represent either simple partial seizures (previously called petit mal) or senile tremors which, however, don't usually interfere with normal function. To answer you directly, yes, an anticonvulsant such as phenobarbital should be considered but because it would likely be highly sedating in such an aged dog, the anticonvulsants levetiracetam or zonisamide would be my initial choices. My primary concern at this time is her pacing which is highly suggestive of an encephalopathy (brain disorder) involving her cerebrum and thalamus and brain tumor is the most common of the encephalopathies at her advanced age.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.