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Muscle Tremors, Seizures or what; and why?

October 3rd, 2005, 11:07 AM
My dog, Cassie - a 6 yr old maltese/cocker mix (we think), started having what appear to muscle tremors or petit seizures about 2 weeks ago. Following are the incidents to date:
9/18 20 min
9/20 30 min
9/21 30 min
9/22-26, according to the petsitter, none but we are not confident this is true
9/27 30 min
9/29 50 min
9/30 not sure on time but mild
10/1 10 minutes
The "seizures" involve a tightening of the muscles starting at her neck and shoulder and dissipate as they run down her back. The tremoring seems to be happening in the shoulder neck front leg area. During the "seizures" she is very lethargic, eyes seem droopy, does not appear to be in pain. She is very aware, makes eye contact, will give kisses, can eat dinner, go to the bathroom. We have had all of her bloodwork run and an x-ray of her back done, all came back normal. We checked with the city on the type of rat-poisoning in the area, Maki, which is an anticoagulant. The symptoms are not consistent with Cassie's so we have ruled this out. We don't believe she could have gotten into other toxins. She has no other symptoms aside from the muscle tremors/seizures. Any thoughts??

Lucky Rescue
October 3rd, 2005, 11:16 AM
The problem with diagnosing this sort of problem is often the vet must see it happening, which can be very difficult to do unless your vet is very close and you rush her there during an espisode.

Maybe the vet could keep her for a day, and have someone observe her?

October 4th, 2005, 10:24 AM
We were able to get her into the vet while it was happening, unfortunately the vet wasn't able to provide us any more insight, other than she felt it more of a tremor than a seizure (which could have been attributed to the fact that Cassie shakes terribly anytime she is at a vet's office). As the vet said "she's a mystery". I will be taking her to a specialist this week but before I did so I was hoping to have some educated ideas around possible problems to discuss with the specialist.

October 4th, 2005, 11:09 AM
Has she ever had a high fall.

October 4th, 2005, 11:12 AM
I expect you are taking your pup to see a neurologist (?) If so, my advice is just to describe the symptoms as you have in your post and I expect that as your vet has seen an attack - and most likely made the specialist appointment for you - will also have advised specialist of symptoms noted. I have major experience with neurologists - although in my cases there was absolutely no doubt as to what was wrong - just extent of it - but I think you will be better off not to offer suggestions as to what the problem might be - just to describe the symptoms - maybe have a written list. You know how it is, you go to a doctor and forget to ask the one thing you meant to. After the specialist has examined your dog and has given preliminary diagnosis (or not) - this is the time to suggest other possible causes. Your profile doesn't say where you live. Perhaps you are going to "our" neurologist.

October 4th, 2005, 02:32 PM
There is a syndrome called small dog shaker syndrome that, many times, can correct itself over time. Sometimes the dog can continue to live with it without any further effects. Sometimes medication is given to control it. It occurs more readily among small white dogs and is exacerbated by stress or excitement. Lead poisoning can look very much like this syndrome. So can organophosphate poisoning , neurologic, muscular and skeletal problems and hypocalcemia. Diazepam is usually prescribed for small dog shaker syndrome to keep the tremors under control. You might ask for a referral to an internal medicine specialist and bring along a video tape of your dog during one of the episodes.

October 4th, 2005, 03:52 PM
No high falls. We are in the downtown Chicago area, the nearest neurologist is quite a ways away but there are some internal medicine vets around. Thanks for everyone's feedback.

October 4th, 2005, 10:36 PM
Is there a way to videotape the tremors and bring that to the neurologist or specialist? That might aid in the diagnosis but a good history is eqially important. I mean a good history given to the doctor - so that s/he will have all the relevant data. Write down everything before you go and questions you want to ask so you don't leave the dr's office and discover later there is something you wanted to ask.

I have no idea what could be causing this if all the values are normal - not that I am a vet!!! But I would think if it was epilepsy or some neurological illness, certain results would help to determine that.

Good luck!!!