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ChristineLVT, Certified Veterinary Technician
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3307
Experience:  Licensed veterinary technician (B.S. Mercy College), 10 yrs in animal medicine and training
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My 8 year old shih-tzu just started to twitch. Every few minutes

Resolved Question:

My 8 year old shih-tzu just started to twitch. Every few minutes he will have a couple of twitches. He is awake appears to be in no pain.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 8 years ago.
Is this all over or just in a certain part of the body?

Has he had any recent baths or topical meds applied?

Is he on any medications?

How does his skin look? Any redness, inflammation, brown spots or specs, or crusty areas?

Is his stool normal?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The twitches are in the middle of his back. He is own no medication. No inflammation or redness. His stool is normal. His skin looks fine.
Expert:  ChristineLVT replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for replying.

The most common reason for this to occur is itchiness. This can range from sudden skin problems, inflammations, a flea bite, a mosquito bite, lack of grooming, matted fur, etc. I would take a comb and brush him over, taking a good look at the skin and making sure any 'bugs' which may have been there are no longer there.

Another reason this can occur is if your dog had a mild reaction to anything topical: usually this is from a topical med, like a flea/tick preventative or such, but can also be from a recently used shampoo, either on the dog or on a carpet in the household, a freshly washed bedding/ linen the dog was just on, or other 'new' substance that touched the skin. Like with the above, it's a reaction to an 'itch'.

Less commonly, and usually more on than off, can be localized seizures. They can start mild and progress. If this is the case, and they do not appear to fade, you will want a vet visit.

Another reason would be discomfort or pain causing twitching. You'd most likely notice other changes if this were true: inappetance, change in water intake (usually more but could be less), straining, hacking or vomiting, hunching his back, walking slower, changes in behavior, etc. Keep our eyes open for any other changes to make sure he is not uncomfortable.

Pinched nerves can also cause twitching, but again, the twiching is often more 'on' than 'off' and he may show a hunched back with this or failure of this twiching to stop.

So best move from here is to keep an eye on him and if it continues to have him checked out. It is not an emergency unless he shows other symptoms or problems, but not something to ignore indefinitely.

Good luck,


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