Dog Symptoms: Shaking

by admin on July 17, 2010

Why is my dog shaking?

Shaking in a dog can have many causes ranging from the animal simply being cold or wet to being symptomatic of underlying illness. It depends too on what part of the animal is shaking, for instance, if the dog shakes its head vigorously and repeatedly, there could be some mite infestation in its ears. If its rear-end shakes seemingly independently of the rest of the body, it could be that the dog is experiencing some kidney/liver disorder or has a compression to an area of its spine. Similarly, there could be some narrowing of the vertebra; only your veterinarian can confirm diagnosis in these cases, so always seek medical treatment if these symptoms present themselves.

In addition to parasitic or bacterial infections, head shaking may be indicative of an inner-ear fluid imbalance called ‘Vestibular Syndrome’. Alongside the shaking, the dog may exhibit poor balance and may tilt its head and experience loss of co-ordination. The animal may also roll its eyes or upwards or side-to-side and while this is distressing for both the dog and its owner, the best way to help the dog is to calm it and reassure the animal. A darkened and quiet room with a comfortable place for the dog to rest will help also. Vestibular Syndrome is unfortunately very difficult to treat and is likely to recur. Your vet will give you advice on how to deal with symptomatic episodes.

Another cause of head shaking is epilepsy, and this often involves the entire body shaking too. These fits may last anything from seconds to minutes and despite the dog seeming somewhat dazed afterwards, most usually recover rapidly. It is likely that the fits will continue for the rest of the animal’s life. While there are many causes of epilepsy, most often it is simply some anomaly within the individual dog and doesn’t have any particular cause. The condition can be controlled with medication however.

Generalized shaking may also be caused by low levels of glucose in the blood, and may be an indication of diabetes. Border Collies, for instance, are especially prone to low blood sugar levels post-exercise, and your vet will be able to advise you as to whether treatment is required. As with epilepsy, diabetes can be controlled with medication however simply a change in diet may also ease the symptoms of diabetes.

Dogs may experience episodes of fainting if they are diabetic but may also shake and faint if they have heart disease or some neurological (brain related) disorder. Likewise, generalized shaking may indicate some underlying toxicity or hypomyelination, which is a disease affecting the sheath covering the nerves. Any such symptoms warrant medical attention in order to establish a diagnosis and expedite relief for the dog.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

leah thompson January 2, 2012 at 1:35 am

My dog Max is 5 years old. The old owners said that he has seizures but he lies on his tummy not the side. also when max is having his “seizure” they last about 5min or more. After there done he shows no signs of being confused and acts normal. I was wondering is this a seizure? If so are there cures? what is causes this? Also, this could be that he is diabetic because he does drink a lot of water and maybe new food could help this? please help! thanks.

Satnick March 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

My dog is shaking. When I came home yesterday, she was ‘squatting’ close to the ground with her tail between her legs. She didn’t give me the customary welcome home, by dancing around. We went on a short walk. She was slow, but was able to urinate. She is 13 years old. Weighs 13 pounds. She is a bishon/terrior mix. She has been eating a C/D diet since she was a puppy when she had a bladder stone. It was removed surgically. She has had no other major symptons. In February, she had a full check up and she was clear of everything. Today, she didn’t wake us up for her walk and she has eaten very little. She is still shaking and wants to cuddle most of the time.

Heidi April 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Hello, We have a Miniature Jack Russell (aged approx 4) she has just had her first “season” since she has been with us, and has now started shaking (whole body) – can anyone help?? with regard to what this might be.

Thank you in advance.

admin April 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm

The shaking is most likely a sign of pain. This can be taken care of with a mild pain reliever prescribed by a veterinarian.

admin April 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Shaking can be a sign of pain. It’s a good idea because of her age and history with bladder stones to bring her back for another exam.

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