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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28474
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our 7 year old Chow mix has started involuntary movements of

Customer Question

Our 7 year old Chow mix has started involuntary movements of her hind legs while she is asleep and awake. The hind legs move up and down as if she was scratching a flea but she doesn't make contact with her body. It is most noticeable when she is asleep because on the downward stroke she hits the floor making a thumping sound as he leg hits the floor. We thought she was scratching to rid herself of an annoying flea but this morning I saw her lying on the floor and this is an involuntary movement When I came home tonight I went outside to give her some love and watched her alternate the movement between both hind legs while she was sitting up. She walks without pain and runs with her buddy our Jindo but this behavior is very concerning to my wife and I.
Is this neurological?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 10 months ago.

To answer you directly, most likely yes. The challenge, however, is to clarify if this behavior indicates a tremor syndrome called sporadic myoclonus - sudden contraction of a muscle group such as a facial twitch or limb jerk which may be benign or instead may represent focal partial seizure activity.

Partial seizure (previously called petit mal) is described as abnormal focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body. Mark your calendar for these events and for just what you witnessed. Video events for your vet to see. Lotus's vet will need all the information you can gather when deciding if Lotus should be prescribed an anticonvulsive drug. Most of us will accept one mild (lasting less than 5 minutes, no thrashing about, no loss of consciousness) event monthly before prescribing such a drug. Watch for worsening in severity and/or frequency which can become clustering - another event within 24 hours of another which then might presage status epilepticus - the state in which seizure activity doesn't abate unless I heavily sedate or anesthetize my patient. She would then need the attention of a vet at your earliest convenience.

Seizures first arising between the ages of 1-5 years are usually considered idiopathic (unknown cause) epilepsy. Seizures arising after 6 years of age are often caused by brain tumor or, less commonly, adult onset epilepsy. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.