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LSU-Vet, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2088
Experience:  Veterinarian, Dog/Cat Veterinarian
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I have a 3 year old, 42 pound mixed breed dog. She is likely

Customer Question

I have a 3 year old, 42 pound mixed breed dog. She is likely to be a rhodesian ridgeback/shepherd mix. She has recently starting having episodes of muscle tremors and shaking. Prior to an episode, she is very needy and won't leave my side. During the episode, she is responsive to me, but appears very scared. She often pants or drools a little (which she does infrequently otherwise). Afterward, she seems a little shaky, but is able to move and walk without a problem. I reassure her during the episode and have recently tried to "snap her out of it" by calling her to walk or move, which she does but sits or lays back down as soon as she can. The episodes last 2 -5 minutes. She is an otherwise very healthy and fit dog and has never had these until a few weeks ago. They don't seem to fit the description of a seizure. What do you think is happening?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  LSU-Vet replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for writing in,

Sorry to hear about your girls situation. There are a few things that could be going on here. First is of course seizures. Given her age range it is usually do to idiopathic, or unknown causes. Of course with a seizuring dog though you do want to rule out potential causes of this such as toxins, abnormal liver function, low blood glucose etc. Other possibiliites is that this is actually syncope which is often confused as seizures but is typically more of a collapsing episode, they lie there a few mins then return to normal. This is typically due to a heart condition that causes an irregular heart beat. Another possibility is that this is a condition called Addison's disease which is an adrenal insufficiency. I have seen dogs present like this and owners feel it is a seizure but labwork indicates otherwise. So I would strongly suggest you take your girl to your vet asap to have her checked out, an ECG done on her heart to rule out abnormalities as well as some labwork to look for any underlying problems. Based on what they find they will institute treatment or take more of a wait and see approach. I hope this helps!
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for your advice. I looked up syncope and I don't thing that's the problem as she doesn't collapse. She just shakes. As well, she doesn't present with typical seizure-like movements - paddling of the paws, chomping. She just looks as if she's cold and shaking (she looks the same way when she gets cold at the beach from swimming in the ocean although I wouldn't categorize that as an episode). This comes on without warning and usually happens in the morning when we're home and quiet. It's within 3 hours of her eating her morning meal as well. I would like to take her to the specialty vet here in San Francisco as their care is the best in the city and it may take a few days to get her in there. Is that okay?
Expert:  LSU-Vet replied 8 years ago.
Yes, but you generally need a referral to go to specialty hospitals so you will likely need to go to your regular vet first. Seizures can present from anything from full out paddeling, salivating, convulsions to something as mild as a face twitch so we can't rule out seizures just because its not the typical presentation. Best of luck!