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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16545
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My dog (r 4 year old chihuahua ) keeps opening & closing

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My dog (r 4 year old chihuahua ) keeps opening & closing his mouth. First he licks his front legs and then his head bobs up and down and his tongue goes in and out. It started a few months ago. I took him to a neighborhood Vet.
He took x-rays of his head and neck, took a blood panel. Nothing showed. He thought he may be having seizures. My dog was given antibiotics and prednisone. It did not help. He suggested I take my dog to a neurologist. I did.
The neurologist examined him and said, it very well be seizures. She prescribed phenobarbital. When the prescription was finished, I took my dog back to see her and explained that the medication did work. My dog was doing this motion constantly all day and night. Bobbing his head up and down .He is not in any pain. We just can’t figure it out. The veterinarian gave my dog a light dose of anesthesia and checked his mouth, teeth, and tonsils. She did not find anything. I was told it may be behavioral. She thought it best that I take my dog to an animal behaviorist. If not she would give him a different medication for the seizures other than phenobarbital. If it is not seizures, and just something he has developed, I would rather he not be put on any medication due to the many side effects?
Hello! My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to help you with your dog today.

I want to make sure that I know exactly what is going on with Neuve....

You said that the Phenobarbital did work?

Did it stop the motions completely?

May I ask what your concern about Phenobarbital?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I do not have a concern about Phenobarbital, but it did not stop the motions completely. How can you know they are seizures without the proper test. I think it is called EGG.. This test is not available for animals in this state. Before I was offered an alternative medication, I was advised to seek out a behaviornist. I don't know about this. These motions he makes are all day, every day. If it is behavior. Why give him medication?

Also, I was let to believe this was a one time thing. I did not want to open an account that would automatically charge me a fee every month. I do not want to carry an extra expense.





Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How can they tell if your dog has seizures. What if it is a tumor.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I can not find my answer!

Sorry for the wait...I was at my other job. Thanks for answering my questions. I appreciate it.

I don't think that this is a behavioral issue. From your description of the behaviors and the fact that the Pheno did help a bit, I really, really do feel like this is a seizure activity.


Normally when we think of seizures, we think of the grand mal type, where the whole body spasms and the dog loses consciousness. However, there is another kind, called a petite mal where only one muscle group is affected or the dog exhibits some kind of strange behavior. I suspect this is what is going on with your dog.


The cause of these kinds of seizures can be anything from ingestion of a toxin to low blood sugar to some kind of organic brain disease or organ disease. At 4 years old, he's at the perfect age for things like epilepsy to start to show up. Obviously, there's no way to know for sure which is going on with your dog without being able to see him.

Unfortunately often the cause of the seizure isn't found. They call that a "seizure of unknown eitology", which essentially means that yes, the dog had a seizure, but we don't really know why.


Sometimes a seizure can be a one time only episode and no further treatment is needed. This is clearly not the case with your dog. The ongoing behavior tells me that he absolutely does need to be on some kind of medication. I know that the best testing is with an EGG at a veterinary neurologist, but truthfully, the majority of vets don't bother testing for it...especially if they can see the behavior happening. If your dog hasn't had one of these episodes in the vet clinic, then if you have a video feature on your cellphone or digital camera, you may want to videotape that episode so that your vet can see exactly what is going on with him. Unfortunately, seizures are one of the hardest things to diagnose since there are so many possible causes, but having a video of the episode will help your vet a great deal.


Getting him on medication like Pheno (and I realize this medication didn't stop the seizures completely, but this is one of those medications that often takes several weeks to get just the right therapeutic dose) will get them under control.


I hope this helps.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I did bring a video to the doctor. It is very strange because it happens all day and night every day. She told me there is another medication she could try because Nueve had been given the Pheno for two weeks, and it didn't help. Yesterday, she said, it could be behavior. I am willing to try a different medication. I am afraid of side-effects. Still I feel so terrible watching him. He wakes up licking his front legs and then moves his head up and down. He can't be pleasant for him, even if he does not seem to be in pain. Do you think the medication would be the best way to go?

I do think that medication would be the best way to go. If this were a behavior rather than a medical issue, then he'd be able to control it. If he could stop doing these motions, he'd be able to when he was eating, drinking, going for walks, ect. It sounds like he's unable to control this behavior, which makes me think it's neurologic.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Usually, he is a house dog. He goes to the bathroom on a wee pad. I have lung cancer and can't walk he too often. When I take him for short walks and in car service when I take to the vet. Two different vets, they have not seen it. I think we are not look enough. After he eats it seems to happen quickly and more severe. Checked out his mouth and did not find anything. Oh, it does not do it when he is eating, but as soon as he is finished. I sat with him on the outside porch, he stopped for a short time, I think he was a little frightened and inquisitive, but after a time, he started again when he was outside.

Maybe, I should go back to the animal hospital and ask the doctor to try the other medication she had in mind. But, why ask me to take him to a doctor who specializes in behavior problems. I can't even find on. It would probable cost a lot of money and who know if he is qualified. Do you think I should make an appointment with the Neuro Vet. and ask her to try the medication she had in mind other than the Pheno.


I think that's a great plan Ann. Veterinary neurologists will know with no question the best way to treat this.
Lisa and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

But, are the side effects dangerous?