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Peculiar behavior in my dog recently

November 11th, 2006, 10:54 PM
I have an almost 3 year old Lemon Beagle named Copper who has recently been acting very strangly. He keeps biting in the air at imaginary things. At first I thought he might have a flea problem and only he saw the fleas flying in front of him but upon closer inspection of his coat......I don't see anything. He'll come over to me while i'm on the computer and sit by my chair just lapping into the air rocking back and forth on his butt. This can last for quite some time until I pet him or distract him in some other way. If I call his name's as though he doesn't hear me. I have to actually touch his body for him to come out of this At first it started where he would be sitting on his bed and he would quickly turn his head to his front paws and legs as if he saw something jumping and then start biting and licking his front paws and legs. This is why I thought he might have fleas at first. He would just sit there and stare at his legs and the area around them for some period of time snapping the air from time to time. I gave him a flea bath at this point, washed and dried his bedding, vacuumed the house and sprayed Siphotrol Premise Spray around to kill any flea eggs that might have fallen off of him. Now it seems like he goes into full blown snapping into the air like a frog catching flies on his tongue and I am doubting it has anything to do with fleas at all. I plan on taking him to the vet on Thursday but was wondering if anyone has ever heard of this behavior before? I feel so bad for him because it seems like he is in a trance when he does this ritual. It doesn't seem to be hurting him physically as he is not wimpering to indicate he is in any pain or anything. At first I also thought he might have had impacted anal glands because of the way he was rocking back and forth on his butt but tend to doubt that after reading up on "scooting". He doesn't actually "scoot".........he rocks while trying to catch imaginary things in front of him.

If anyone has every heard of this before, I would appreciate any information you can give me on this condition. I will keep you posted as to what the vet tells me on Thursday.



November 11th, 2006, 11:30 PM
This was discussed here a couple of months ago. Hope this helps. :fingerscr

November 11th, 2006, 11:31 PM
It's likely that it's seizures. Look up "fly-biting" on the internet... There's quite a bit of info out there, even though it's still a bit of a mysterious ailment...

Good luck.

Oh and don't forget to tell your vet exactly what flea meds you used, just in case they interfere with the new meds your dog gets.

November 12th, 2006, 07:04 AM
Thank you guys so much for your quick responses. I watched the video and even though it is very short (or at least it was on my computer), it does resemble what Copper has been doing lately. I am going to call my Vet tomorrow and see if I can give him a post-dated check for Thursday. Due to personal changes in my household recently, cash has been pretty tight lately. I get paid on Thursday so that is the reason why I was planning on taking him then. Hopefully, once I tell him how he's been acting, he will have no problem with me bringing him in earlier.

I was wondering if the flea spray I've been spraying around might have something to do with it. I haven't given him any HW medicine lately so it can't be due to that.

I'll have to sit back and think of when this started and what changes in my household have been make in the recent weeks and write it all down.

Thanx again for all your help and if anyone else out there has anymore suggestions or anything else that might help........I'd appreciate that.


Rob n Cody
November 13th, 2006, 08:24 AM
HI Patty
Cody started having seizures in 1998, and that was one of the things that i noticed her doing. Can be part of the "pre-ictal" stage of seizing before the actual physical seizure. There are amazing websites and groups (just like this one) specifically for dogs with seizures and epilepsy that you can get lots of information from.
My vet put her on Potassium Bromide (KBr) as it was the least harmful in other areas. Unfortunately, you can really only diagnose canine epilepsy through trial and error, but it's treatable (though not fixable)
I found with Cody that she had them fairly regularly for about a year and they seem to have stopped (haven't seen anything in a couple of years with the exception of the occasional starinng session with the carpet) so hopefully this is a temporary thing as well.
Good luck, and let me know if you have any other questions
Take care
Rob and Cody

November 13th, 2006, 05:27 PM
Thank you Rob and Cody for your response. I called the vet today and I have an appointment for Thursday at 4:00. I don't know if this is a good thing or not but I didn't actually talk to the doctor. I talked to the receptionist/vet assist. and she didn't make it sound like it was anything really serious. She did ask me if he has been scratching lately and a few other questions but she didn't make it seem like he had to come into the office immediately. His new thing now is to go under my chair when i'm on the computer and instead of sitting and fly-biting........he rubs the top of his butt across the bottom of the seat and fly-bites. He's doing it right now as I type this. Anyway, the receptionist did make it sound like it could be fleas as she said this is something they do when they have fleas. I'll take fleas over epilepsy or a tumor anyday. At least I know fleas are treatable and, hopefully, the behavior will stop. Like I said in a earlier post.....I also suspected fleas at first, myself. Hopefully this is all it is. I will keep everyone posted. :fingerscr

Thanx again. :fingerscr


November 13th, 2006, 05:34 PM
Hmm... not sure that receptionist was qualified enough to diagnose over the phone. Most vets would never allow a receptionist to "downgrade" a condition over the phone either. Is there another vet you can call for a second opinion?:o

November 13th, 2006, 06:59 PM
I was kind of thinking the same thing as I was talking to her but I figure I'd wait until Thursday and see what the doctor has to say. This is my first time as an adult having a dog. Of course, when I was a young girl......I would bring home every stray I could find and tell my Mom they "followed" me home. My Mom was always insistant in telling me we cannot have animals in the apartment we lived in but we would keep them for a few months until we found a home for them. It always broke my heart when we had to give them up.


Rob n Cody
November 14th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Glad you're going in to the vet....I would also be leery of the vet tech giving advice over the phone...they really shouldn't do that, as they haven't seen the behaviour, and are not vets (they're wonderful...don't get me wrong, but they are not qualified to diagnose an animal)
I would also mention it to your vet when you go in...they should be aware of it. That can be extremely dangerous if they are providing unqualified information to someone if the problem is serious.
Please let me know how it turns out and give your baby a scratch behind the ears for us

November 14th, 2006, 09:09 PM i don't know if I'm crazy or not but today, I was really keeping an eye on Copper so I can tell the doctor come Thursday how often and when his fly-snapping starts. When I came home at 5:00 a.m. (I work nights), I let him in the yard as usual for his quick pee and whatever else he might have to do and then we came in the house and I went on the computer for an hour before I had to get my son up for school. This is usually when he goes under my chair and starts his little episodes but for some reason, he didn't do it this morning. He was calm all morning long until I fed him his breakfast at around 8:30. He ate his food and right after, he came over to my chair and started doing his fly-biting thing. I let him out and then I got him to lay down as I went upstairs to lay down myself and he was fine all day long. I woke up around 2:30 this afternoon, as did Copper, and.......again......he was fine all afternoon long. I fed him his dinner around 7:00 p.m. but he was being stubborn and not eating it because it was plain ol' dry food and I'm sure he wanted some mushy food mixed in with it. I didn't give in because in the morning, I gave him the mushy food and he started his episode right after he ate it. I thought maybe his episodes might have something to do with the soft food I've been adding to his dry lately. He's always eaten strictly dry food but when I was dog-sitting my friend's elderly Sheltie for about 3 months....I gave in and started adding 1/3 of a can of soft food to his dry. She had switched her Sheltie's food to the mushy kind because at 14 years of age.......his teeth bother him when he eats the hard dry stuff. Anyway, finally at about 9:00 this evening, he realized he wasn't going to get any mushy food mixed in with his dry food so he decided to eat it. Do you know........sure enough after he finished eating, he came over to my chair and started doing his fly-snapping again. I'm wondering if he might be allergic to his food and this is what is causing him to behave like this.

I will be sure to mention this to the doctor when he goes on Thursday but I was wondering if anybody else ever had a problem all of a sudden with the food they feed their dog? Is it possible for them to suddenly be allegic to the food they've been feeding them all along? He's always eaten the foods you buy in the supermarket (Gravy Train, usually) with no problem although I've read a lot of posts on here how most of them do not have the proper nutrients a dog needs for a balanced diet.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.