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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28991
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a rescue dog. We rescued her at 8 months (She is now

Customer Question

I have a rescue dog. We rescued her at 8 months (She is now 2 yrs), she had already been vetted twice and we also took her for her yearly shots. We have notice that every few month or so she has this spasm where she clenches her jaw, all the muscles in the top of her head begin to contract and release as if shes chewing. They episodes only last about five seconds and she acts completely normal. Is it possible she was exposed to distemper as a puppy? She has no signs of distemper and has been given her shots. Could this be a seizure from allergies? She also chews a licks her paws and forearms, even taking her limbs in her mouth and gently biting down on them. I ask about allergies because we live in North Florida where everything is in bloom. Thank you - Cheryl
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Veterinarian. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Cheryl?
Customer: No -she is full of energy at all times so I do not think she is ever weak or fevered. She has become a picky eater recently and had bad diarrhea last weekend but the head spasms have been since we adopted her. I am currently (since the upset stomach last weekend) feeding her boiled chicken, rice and veggies. She was on Pedigree.
JA: Our top Veterinarian is ready to take your case. Just pay the $5 fully refundable deposit and I'll fill the Veterinarian in on everything we've discussed. You can go back and forth with the Veterinarian until you're 100% satisfied. We guarantee it.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Yes, Cheryl, those "spasms" are likely to represent simple partial seizures (previously called petit mal) which are described as abnormal sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body and which may be accompanied by autonomic signs (salivation, vomiting, e.g.). The neurologic form of distemper should always be a consideration in such an 8 month old patient. The prognosis for these patients is uncertain because this form of distemper is unpredictable.

Seizures accompanying allergic skin disease are very rare. Her pruritic (itchy) extremities is a hallmark for both atopy (allergies to environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, dust, and dust mites, etc.) and food intolerance. The initial approach to atopy usually involves prescribing a glucocorticosteroid such as prednisone. The new cytokine antagonist oclacitinib should be considered as well. Hypoallergenic diet trials are used to test for food intolerance.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin