Is Your Dog Head Twisting While Awake?
When awake, a dog may twitch in response to loud stimuli like thunder, anxiety, or generalized terror. This could involve having anxiety about a recently brought pet. The best course of action is to assist in maintaining the dog’s calm and acclimate it to various rooms in the house.
If you notice your dog’s head twitching while awake, it could signify several health issues. While twitching during sleep is usually normal, you might also wonder what your dog thinks. There are several potential causes of twitching in dogs, including the distemper virus and the canine shaker syndrome.
Canine distemper virus
Canine distemper is a contagious disease characterized by neurological signs. These signs may include twitching, seizures, and muscle rigidity. The disease can progress to permanent disability or death. In severe cases, medical surgery may be necessary. Distemper is not curable, but treatment is usually available. In addition, a dog can be vaccinated against it to protect itself from the disease.
A veterinarian will suspect your puppy of distemper if he experiences fever and a generalized infection. The characteristic symptoms may not appear until later in the disease, especially if the animal also has other underlying infections. A blood test may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Canine distemper is a contagious disease caused by a virus that affects a dog’s respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems. It is spread through airborne contact. Dogs with the virus may be infected for months before they develop symptoms.
Distemper virus is an RNA virus. Infected dogs will have a high antibody level called titers. The IgM titer will indicate a recent infection. A high IgG titer indicates that the dog has been vaccinated recently. If the dog’s immune system is low, distemper will likely not be a cause of the twitching while awake.
Distemper vaccinations are recommended to prevent distemper. Puppies should receive the first vaccine at six weeks and boosters every three to four weeks until they reach 16 weeks. Then, the second dose should be administered one year later. Finally, the third booster should be administered every three years. Vaccination is an ongoing process, but it is essential for your dog’s health and well-being.
If you notice your dog twitching while awake, you should take it to a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. If the twitching is persistent and other symptoms accompany it, it may be a sign of distemper. It is essential to see a veterinarian to rule out other medical conditions and prevent the disease from progressing.
Idiopathic head tremors
Dogs can develop idiopathic head tremors while awake. This condition is often triggered by stress or panic. It is not life-threatening but can be highly distracting and uncomfortable. There are no known cures for idiopathic tremors. Since the condition is unrelated to seizures, anti-seizure medications won’t be effective. However, most cases are harmless and do not progress to other neurological concerns. Additionally, two-thirds of affected dogs improve over time.
A complete neurologic workup will be required to determine the underlying cause of the tremors. Other conditions that can cause these episodes should be ruled out first. A complete workup will rule out any other causes of the symptoms, such as a stroke, tumors, or heart disease.
Idiopathic head tremors can be challenging to diagnose and misdiagnosed as seizures. The primary symptom of this disorder is head shaking, and episodes usually last for about five minutes. However, the frequency and severity of tremors vary from dog to dog. If you think your dog is experiencing this condition, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.
Physical support or soft physical contact with the head can stop the shaking. Some owners of Boxers report that lying against a neighboring Boxer will stop the tremors. Sometimes, a veterinarian may prescribe phenobarbital to treat idiopathic head tremors. In some cases, the tremors may be due to toxicity or an imbalance of vitamin B.
There is no single cure for idiopathic head tremors. The most effective treatment is to distract the patient from head tremors. Although there is no proven cure for idiopathic head tremors, the treatment is not without side effects.
There is no definitive test for idiopathic head tremors in dogs while awake. Diagnosis depends on breed, history, and presence of characteristic head tremors. A veterinarian should be familiar with IHTS to diagnose it. They should know how to identify patients and discuss the prognosis.
Most dogs with IHTS do not require treatment. The episodes will gradually decrease in frequency and severity, and many will heal spontaneously. Fortunately, two-thirds of affected Boxers will improve on their own. While it is not considered normal, the tremors in Boxers are not considered a sign of neurological dysfunction.
Canine shaker syndrome
If your dog shakes its head while awake, he may have shaker syndrome. This neurological disorder is most common in young and middle-aged dogs. However, any breed can develop tremors, including mixed breeds. Breeds prone to this problem include Doberman pinschers, Bulldogs, Boxers, and Labrador retrievers.
Treating shaker syndrome involves giving your dog corticosteroids, a type of medication that helps reduce inflammation in the body. Initially, the steroids are given for a week and then gradually tapered off. If your dog is still experiencing tremors, visit your veterinarian regularly.
Dogs with this syndrome typically exhibit frequent, brief episodes of head tremors while awake. An episode typically lasts approximately three minutes. The episodes do not cause pain or other adverse effects, and your dog is awake and fully conscious. This syndrome can signify a medical condition such as a distemper or another ailment.
Affected dogs are usually young and white, but male and female dogs are equally susceptible. Breeds with white hair coats and the West Highland white terrier seem predisposed to this disease. While male dogs are more likely to experience shaker syndrome, it has also been reported in puppies and adults of both genders. Canine shaker syndrome is an inherited disorder of the central nervous system in dogs. Symptoms usually occur between six months and three years of age.
The cause of this condition is not entirely understood. In many cases, it is just an annoying condition, but the symptoms eventually fade on their own. Although head bobbing isn’t harmful, it is best to consult a veterinarian if your dog is entirely unresponsive or if you notice neurological damage.
Symptoms of canine shaker syndrome are similar to those of motion sickness. In some cases, your dog may experience vomiting. It can be a symptom of an underlying illness, such as an infection. Your veterinarian may prescribe a steroid to reduce the effects of the condition. However, if symptoms continue, you may have to continue the medication for longer.
Dogs affected by head tremors are generally young and middle-aged, but any breed may develop the condition. However, certain breeds, such as Dobermans and Bulldogs, are more susceptible than others. If you suspect your pet has this condition, you may want to seek medical attention.
If you notice that your dog’s head tremors are happening irregularly, your best bet is to see a veterinarian. Idiopathic head tremors are not dangerous to your dog and usually go away after a few minutes. The good news is that they do not affect your dog’s appetite, energy level, or temperament. Therefore, treatment for dog head tremors is usually unnecessary, though you may want to consult a veterinary professional if your dog continues to have the symptoms.
A simple distraction method can help your dog stop IHTS in its tracks. For example, providing a treat or calling its name will temporarily distract the dog from the problem. If this does not work, try a medication that focuses on treating the condition’s underlying cause. For example, the underlying disease or environmental stressor may have affected the dog’s symptoms.
Idiopathic head tremors are relatively rare. Nevertheless, they can be frightening to watch. Some dogs experience this problem during various stages of sleep, so it’s essential to seek medical attention immediately. If the twitching continues for an extended period, the underlying cause is likely something more serious.
Although idiopathic head tremors can be a warning sign of other health issues, it’s best to consult a veterinary neurologist as soon as possible. Unlike seizures, these episodes usually last for a few seconds and subside when your dog is busy.
Generalized seizures affect the entire brain, so if your dog shows a twitching or vocalizing behavior while awake, it could be a generalized seizure. The most common type of tonic-clonic seizures affects the entire body. In these cases, your dog may fall over, writhe around, or start urinating or defecating. Other seizures may manifest in varying degrees, but they all have similar symptoms.