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Can anyone please tell me what's happening with my fur baby?
08-29-2016, 12:40 AM,
Can anyone please tell me what's happening with my fur baby?

For at least three nights out of the last two weeks my pit bull Mack has been randomly bobbing his head. It typically happens when he sleeps and he wakes up with his head bobbing or shaking. His eyes are normal and he's fully responsive. It only lasts about 5 minutes and he's normal the whole time, aside from his head shaking. I've taken him to the vet and she told me to keep an eye on him but it happened again tonight and I'm worried that it is something im unable to see internally. He is about 3 years old, fixed, has heart worms but other wise he is completely fine. I'm feeding him diamond naturals large dog food. Even though he is a gotti pit bull and short, he is 65 lbs of pure muscle.
08-29-2016, 10:01 AM,
RE: Can anyone please tell me what's happening with my fur baby?
Idiopathic Head Tremors. Usually a genetic defect. In order to eliminate potential undiagnosed problems, and/or place your mind at ease, you could ask the Vet to run diagnostic tests such as: A MRI of the head, a cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and a general Chemo panel. The MRI is expensive.

If the tests come back negative then you have a genetic or Idiopathic syndrome. Likely to stay constant, although it could get slightly worse or better with age. Here's an article that discusses it:


Note the article says the condition is likely to start occurring before the age of 4. Also note one "treatment" for it is for you to try to distract the dog when he is having one of his episodes. Offer him food such as peanut butter, melted cheese (e.g. dogs can't resist either) to distract the dog from his symptoms. Get out his favorite toy. Apparently that helps to shorten the episodes.

Assumed he has been successfully treated for "heart worms", as opposed to being treated with Ivermectin to cure a current heart worm infection. Larger doses of Ivermectin (i.e. not the monthly pill) used to treat heart worm infection can cause neurological problems.
08-30-2016, 06:08 PM,
RE: Can anyone please tell me what's happening with my fur baby?
I had a boxer with idiopathic head tremors (quite common in this breed). They were more annoying for me to witness them than bothering the dog. You can record the episode and then show these episodes to the vet. I recorded the events so that my vet could determine whether it was to be classified as idiopathic head tremor or a partial seizure such as those causing a slight facial twitch or head tremor. Having a veterinary neurologist review it can be even better if you want peace of mind.

I was told that it would be worrisome if it progressed lasting longer and happening more and more often and causing problems to the dog afterward which could then could be suggestive that it was a seizure. Since in my dog's case the episodes were limited and my dog was conscious and acted normal otherwise, vet said it was just an annoyance more to me than the dog.

It's good that your dog is fully responsive afterward and doesn't show any signs such as stumbling or appearing tired afterward. But again if you want peace of mind, you can ask your vet a referral to neurologist who can do a neuro exam.

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