My dog, Misty, exhibited neurological signs. I hope to educate fellow dog guardians about neurological disorders in dogs.
How to Tell If Your Dog Has a Neurological Disorder
Like every pet owner, I confess that I am sometimes guilty of missing the signs that my dog is having health problems. I lost my Jack Russell to cancer and had a heart-stopping experience with my dog, Misty. This experience made me realize how important it is to know what's going on with my dog's health to prevent the heartache of losing yet another pet.
In this case, I'm speaking specifically of neurological disorders, the signs of which are often ignored as finicky or frivolous. This is often the case with neurological disorders in humans as well.
Neurological Disorders Are Difficult to Diagnose
The difficulty with neurological disorders is that some of their symptoms can also be signs of other problems your pet may be having. Difficulty walking, for example, can be caused by pain in other areas of the body, just like head-shaking can be caused by mites in the ears or an inner ear infection. While many of these signs are not specific to neurological disorders, you should not rule out these disorders. If you suspect there's a problem, take your dog to the vet right away.
Signs of Neurological Disorders in Dogs
- Stumbling, Lack of Balance, or Coordination
- Shaking of the Head
- Persistent Trembling
- Dragging of the Paws
- Darting or "Flickering" Eyes (Nystagmus)
- Visual Disturbances
- Disorientation, e.g. Staring at Blank Walls
- Chronic Tail-Chasing
- Lack of Appetite or Anorexia
Video: Neurological Veterinary Exam
1. Stumbling, Lack of Balance or Coordination
Any dog with a neurological disorder will be uncoordinated. This could be caused by any combination of factors, such as the onset of conditions like Parkinson's disease (yes, it affects dogs, too), chemical imbalances in the brain, infection, or a tumor of the brain.
Signs that your dog is having trouble with balance:
- Head tilt
- Falling or rolling
- Eyeballs that shake (nystagmus)
- Lack of coordination
Misty had several episodes of not being able to walk and falling on all fours every time she got up. I had to carry her to be weighed at the vets, where she again tumbled over in a vain attempt to stand. She finally managed to stand, and my husband and I heaved huge sighs of relief, at least for that minute!
The most important aspects of caring for a dog with a neurologic disorder are to follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations and to stay in close contact with him/her so you can quickly adapt to what might be a changing situation. At home, focus on your dog’s comfort and quality of life. Ensure that your dog is safe (you may need to block off stairs to prevent falls, for example), eating, drinking, has ample opportunities to go to the bathroom, and still feels like part of the family.
— Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, serves on the Pet Life Today advisory board.
2. Shaking of the Head
No, the dog is not plugged into its earphones. Head-shaking is another sign of a neurological problem, and perhaps one that is fairly severe. A dog will shake its head occasionally to get rid of excess water in its ears or when its head is wet. When it shakes its head to and fro without stopping, however, or without apparent cause (like an inner ear infection), raise the alarm immediately.
That is exactly what happened to Misty when she experienced seizures. It took time for the head-shaking to stop.
3. Persistent Trembling
It is not just the head that will shake uncontrollably, the rest of the muscles in the dog's body might tremor as well. It was certainly what happened in Misty’s case. That, together with a little whining, means you should seek emergency veterinary care. Be sure to rule out the other causes of shivering and trembling in dogs, like white dog shaker syndrome.
Video: A Dog With Neurological Signs
4. Dragging of the Paws
If your dog suddenly starts to drag its feet instead of walking, go see the vet. This sudden deterioration of motor skills is a cause of concern and is a symptom of limb paresis, paralysis, or weakness.
Paresis is the reduced ability of an animal to move a limb, and paralysis is the complete inability to move a limb. Though difficulty moving can also be the result of physical symptoms, in some cases, it can indicate trouble between the brain and the rest of the body.
Other symptoms include:
- Abnormal gait
- Difficulty moving or paralysis of one limb, both limbs, or all four legs
It was certainly disconcerting to witness Misty stumbling and dragging her paws as the veterinary clinician tried to weigh her.
Video: Vestibular Disease or Abnormal Eye Movements
5. Darting or "Flickering" Eyes (Nystagmus)
Your dog’s eyes may "flicker" if it has an inherent neurological problem. Your dog may not be able to focus properly on its surroundings, and it may not be able to recognize you temporarily either. Similarly, vestibular disease patients often present with characteristic "darting eyes." This is a common condition in older dogs but may be idiopathic or without a known origin.
Misty’s eyes were turned in two directions and "flickering"—it was quite a traumatic sight. Thankfully, that episode is over!
6. Visual Disturbances
If your dog is suddenly having vision problems like blindness or walking into objects, it's possible that there is an underlying neurological problem. A neurologic dog will experience visual field defects, double vision, fluctuating vision (good one day and not the other), reduced clarity of vision, or may exhibit squinting and misalignment.
7. Disorientation (Staring at Blank Walls)
I remember asking this question once because I saw Misty starting at blank walls from time to time. I had originally thought, as did the vet, that it was due to the pain she was already experiencing as a result of an infected womb.
I now know that improper brain function and disorientation is the cause of her staring (without reason) at the walls around her. This is also a condition that older dogs can exhibit (without neurological causes), simply due to age. It's important to note whether or not this behavior is new, as similar types of disorientation can also be associated with senior dog conditions or stroke.
8. Chronic Tail-Chasing
All dogs love chasing their tails. But when a dog exhibits this behavior too often, it is not just play—it is time to take them to the vet. Although dogs that are experiencing pain may exhibit this type of behavior, it is also a strong sign of a neurological disorder, especially if this behavior is chronic.
Being a Schnauzer, Misty has no tail to chase since it was docked as a puppy before we acquired her. Should tail-spinning become obsessive, do consult a veterinarian at once.
Video: A Dog Having a Seizure
Chances are you that you know what a seizure is. If you see your dog seizing, make sure they're safe and won't hit anything, let the seizure pass, and take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you can, take a video of the event to show to the veterinarian since it might help them with a diagnosis. Be sure to watch your fingers and limbs as your pet is seizing because disoriented dogs can accidentally bite.
Symptoms of seizures:
- Sudden or violent shaking
- Dilation of pupils
- Unresponsiveness or staring
- Loss of consciousness
- Salivation or drooling
- Involuntary urination or defecation
Seizures may be secondary to conditions like systemic infections in dogs, which is why it's important to obtain a proper diagnostic workup from your vet.
What are the signs of infection in dogs?
Some signs of infection in dogs include: sudden fever and illness, sore muscles, reluctance to move, stiffness in muscles, legs, and gait, shivering, weakness, depression, lack of appetite, increased thirst, and urination.
Pain can be caused by many things, and some pain is caused by neurological issues. Be sure to rule out arthritis and injury.
Common signs of pain (this is not an all-inclusive list):
- Crying out
- Holding a limb up
- Low head carriage
If your dog is experiencing pain from normal sensations or touch, like putting on a collar, that's also a warning sign that something neurological is going on.
11. Lack of Appetite or Anorexia
Persistent nausea is yet another sign of a malfunction of the brain. Misty had bouts of nausea before her seizure. There are many causes of nausea, so if you observe this together with other symptoms, do not wait too long before taking your pet in for medical examination.
There are so many different types of neurological disorders, each with its own set of symptoms, that it’s impossible to come up with a definitive list of telltale signs. Add this to the fact that many non-neurological conditions can cause neurological symptoms (seizures as a result of low blood sugar levels, for example) and it’s safest to say that when dogs have persistent or severe abnormalities of any sort, owners should talk to their veterinarians.
— Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, serves on the Pet Life Today advisory board.
Other Signs of Nervous System Disorders
Misty’s symptoms remind me of some that I had when I suffered from brain tumors. I may not have spun around trying to catch a tail, but I did have inexplicable difficulty walking. Dogs and humans can mirror each other where certain conditions and illnesses are concerned.
Here are some other symptoms that might indicate neurological trouble with your dog:
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Decreased facial movement
- Vocal abnormalities and changes
- Muscular atrophy of the head
- Hearing loss
- Behavioral changes (e.g. confusion, pacing, and wandering)
- Inability to open the mouth
- A dropped or droopy jaw
How Does the Nervous System Function?
The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and several different kinds of nerves that are found throughout the body. These create complex circuits through which animals experience and respond to sensations.
More Neurological Disorders in Dogs
Acquired myasthenia gravis interrupts communication between the nerves and muscles. The body’s immune system turns on itself, attacking junctions where neurons and muscles interconnect. Once this happens, the adjacent muscles cannot be controlled.
A dog may experience muscular weakness of the eyes, face, and esophagus. He or she may be easily fatigued.
Deterioration of the cerebellum or the brain; causes premature aging. The cerebellum controls movement, and when functioning normally in puppyhood, specific cells known as the Purkinje cells, deteriorate after birth. Occasionally, other cells in the brain are affected as well.
Your pet may will not be able to walk properly—exhibiting incoordination, balancing problems, and an abnormal gait.
This term covers a group of disorders that affect the nerves in any combination. Myeline, a fatty liquid that acts as an insulator, is lost through a process called demyelination. Signals in the nerves are lost, impeding function, and causing a lack of orientation and improper motor coordination. The degeneration of myeline can result in spatial nerve disorders (inability to negotiate space), sensory nerve disorders (weakness or paralysis), and a malfunctioning thyroid gland. Do note that if your pet is being medicated for cancer, polyneuropathy may be a side effect of the medication. Inherited polyneuropathy has a genetic component.
Muscle weakness (especially in the feet and legs). Foot deformities. Muscle wasting (shrinking and weakness) in the legs. Curved spine. Loss of sensation.
This is an inherited condition that manifests as constant seizures. It has varied causes and is common in many dogs.
Symptoms include amnesia, anxiety, depression, headache, sleepiness, staring spells, or temporary paralysis after a seizure.
Caused by a loss of a neurotransmitter, dopamine, in nerve cells. Symptoms include tremors, stiff muscles or movement, and difficulty with balancing and walking. Parkinson's can affect young dogs or pups.
Symptoms include slow movement, stiffness, and loss of balance.
This is a common neurological disease that affects the spinal cord in adult dogs. Typically, the dog will lose function of its rear legs and eventually become paralyzed.
Progressive weakness of the hind limbs, worn nails, difficulty rising, stumbling, knuckling of the toes, scuffing of the hind feet, wearing of the inner digits of the rear paws, and loss of muscle in the rear legs.
My Dog's Neurological Symptoms and Treatment
My pet Schnauzer, Misty, had just undergone a hysterectomy due to infection. One day she went to the bathroom and began shaking her head uncontrollably. When it happened, the trembling sent waves of panic through me because it reminded me of an episode I'd gone through myself. My husband and I rushed her to the vet immediately.
Misty had a seizure and was quaking, trembling, and shaking. It was quite traumatic to witness. She was hospitalized and awaited further diagnosis. Her head continued to shake, though she was eating and drinking well. The sad part of the whole episode was that I should have recognized the signs much earlier, even more so because I have been the victim of brain tumors and seizures myself.
I wanted to share my experience so that others can read the signs before it is too late. I wrote this article to help you recognize the symptoms of what might be neurological problems in your dog so you can take him or her to the vet and have them diagnosed. Everything in the amazing phenomenon of life begins with the brain. I hope that sharing this information with you will provide hope for a happier, healthier canine best friend!
- James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Colorado State University, 2015. "Pet Health: An animal’s neurological problems are not all in your head."
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Melissa Jordan on August 16, 2020:
My dog has loss of balance stiffness of all four legs tanning hard disorientation dance and half the one side falls down but she has her name but she still coherent
Margaret on August 14, 2020:
My dog started about 6 months he’s 4 yrs old he’s goes in circles twitching licks everything head tilting cry’s barks it last a whole day 4 times aweek
BrandyRobnett on June 20, 2020:
So my dog is just 1 and has had these spells that last many hours sometimes full 24 about 1 x wk. She will run around very quick following me wanting to be held she is fully aware but not herself when sitting she will turn her head from side to side and thrust her body forward she acts very scared also a few times she has lost her sight only during the spell once it is over she is back to good. Due to the fact that it lasts for hours or days and she stays aware I question that this is a seizure. Any help or thoughts oh she has had this from 6wks old blood work has shown no issues
Grace on May 18, 2020:
My dog presents with symptoms of vestibular disorder but it happens when he gets excited, as soon as calms down it passes. Started about 2 weeks ago, he's nearly 5 and its never happened before
Maxgia on May 17, 2020:
My 10yo schnauzer max was just in IUC for pancreatitis and diabetes. 3 weeks in hes totally a different dog. Barley wants to do anything, looks drunk to me sometimes and having trouble walking. Seems like his back right leg is lazy... he def falls to the side when he walks sometimes. I’m already over my head with the amount of money spent but watching him like this is starting to effect me big time... I don’t know what else to do....
sharon gardner on December 30, 2019:
about twice a year our 5yr. old schnauzer will jerk her head up abt. 10 times every few minutes. She has done this for as many as three days. No pain.It is just like she is looking up at ceiling and down at floor. She did have a couple of short seizures a couple of months apart abt. 3 years ago. She eats well when this goes on, plays and acts normal. Occassionaly she will bite at he but area. She has been checked for worms but was o.k. We are at a loss and cannot find any symptoms like this online. We have also taken her off wheat and other grains. Thanks.
email@example.com on November 30, 2019:
We have just had our dog Toro put to sleep, he obviously had Parkinson's. I wish I had found your site earlier.
Hanweiling on October 26, 2019:
@Kerri and @Kimberly Robinson, here I am reading your posts several months on from when you left your comments feeling like I’m in the same situation. I started my dog on Nexgard 3 months ago, and in the last 6 weeks, he has pretty much lost all use of 3 of his 4 legs. The vet has done xrays and say his limbs are all really healthy and so he now believes it’s a neurological problem.
After reading your posts I physically want to be sick at the thought that I may have brought this on my own pet by giving him Nexgard. He has always been on other treatment and the vet recently prescribed Nexgard instead. Is the damage reversible? My baby just turned 6years old. I’m heartbroken...
May I ask what happened to your dogs?
Linda Compau on July 05, 2019:
I wish I d read your article sooner. My boy crossed the bridge April 29. He appeared to be fine but after seeing this I realize he wasn t. He had some of the things you ve mentioned going on. Within 2 weeks from the time I took him to vet for the first because he was stumbling he became paralized and I had to let him go. He was almost 7. My heart is still broken.
Luka Kegley on January 20, 2019:
My first ALS symptom appeared in 2011. 4 years ago I learnt about ALS/MND successful chinese medicine from Rich Herbs Foundation (ww w. richherbsfoundation.c om), the treatment made a tremendous difference for me. Few weeks into the treatment I had improved muscle strength and coordination, improved speech, improved walking balance, increased appetite, improved eyesight and improved mood swings. 4 years since the treatment, i still feel stronger than ever with no symptoms at all, only occasional tingling on my right foot at night. I feel cured from the disease!
Patti on November 08, 2018:
Gave my Rottweiler Bravecto and he hasn't been the same for months. I am giving him Chlorophyll.. Any suggestions..
Audra on October 17, 2018:
My dog had bulging disc surgery 7 months ago and has never been the same. It may be PTSD or something neurological. He whines excessively, growls and bites. Please help him if u have the same experience. Maltese poodle cross
Kerri on October 10, 2018:
Kimberly Robinson, I gave my pomchi nextgard, and she is currently at the vet being tested due to some sort of neurological issue. What was the result for your dog? How is she doing?
kimberly robinson on September 09, 2018:
My dog Bella, a pompoo, started exhibiting neurological symptoms hours after I gave her Nexgard. She began walking in circles, not responding to her name, lost interest in drinking and eating. Heartbreaking. I am taking her to the vet. in the am. please beware of Nexgard and other oral flea meds.
danette riddle on August 04, 2018:
One disease not mentioned here is Vestibular Disease. This happened to my Tibetan Terrier mix at age 10/11. It's an "old dog" type disease typically, but it presents like a brain tumor and seizure. Eyes will dart side to side, they may roll around unable to stand. The first symptom in retrospect was her being unable to flip one paw back in place when she walked. I thought it was age. There's no cure, it has to run its course, but there are things you can do to help your dog recover. Mine lived another 4 years, although her quality of life was never the same. She did however have lots of comfort and love. Cancer finally caused her death at nearly 16.
Sashamae on June 20, 2018:
Unfortunately inbreeding is a real problem. Puppy Mills and bad breeders will inbreed to make more money and have more litters. This creates animals that can have a lot of disorders that don't show up until the puppy is long gone with the new owner. Not all breeders are doing this but you must investigate, get references, and personally check where the mother and father are held to verify their conditions. Better yet, check out pure-breed rescues and save a life or adopt from your local shelter.
Kimberly Noble on June 19, 2018:
I went to the vet this past saturday to take my pit to the vet, because she noticably mopping around and not being very active as she normally is for a 10mo puppy. Now they diagnosed her with a simple ear infection and I thought everything was going to be fine afterwards.....unfortunately not, the symptoms got and she progressively got worse too. To the point where she couldn't even stand up, didn't even recognize I was sitting right beside her, like she was completely spacing out. I guess I took her to the vet too late after the fact because she sadly did not make through the day, I'm not sure if it was parvo, or a neurological disorder beyond irreconcilability by the vet or something she may have gotten into, I want answers to her passing, I want to know why.
lucy on June 10, 2018:
My dog was a cavalier king Charles spaniel and she all of a sudden stopped walking as she came off the sofa, we had to bring her to bed every night but I suspect that she had these problems when she was young because she could never get up on the sofa we always had to put a step for her and we had to feed her with a fork. one day I put her on the floor gently but I think its my fault she passed away. can someone please tell me what was going on ?
toccata on May 27, 2018:
My 2 year old labradoodle started having these spells about 2 months ago. She's had about 8 of them with this last one being the worst and lasting about 5 minutes. They have all happened outside while playing ball. Has anyone seen anything like this?
Mary on April 18, 2018:
What can I do my shih tzu stare at nothing especially at night
Dennis on April 17, 2018:
Caley and Diane
I'll bet it was the type or method of anesthesia used ......
Caley on March 24, 2018:
The same thing has happened to our 14 year old Beagle this week
He had dental work and now his back leg isn’t working properly
Diane on March 24, 2018:
I have a 10yr kld collie and he had no issue's than l had his teeth cleaned and than all of a sudden he lost his appetite and then his back legs aren't working took him back to the vet and they ran blood work and it came back good so now my vet said it's mental really? All I keep doing is research because it makes no sense. If anyone can help I would appreciate it
Kim Bryan on March 13, 2018:
This very informative. I arrived here because something is terribly wrong with my dog this morning. I don’t think it’s seizures but I’m definitely getting him to an ER now.
patricia duncan on February 18, 2018:
I find this post very informative .but I cantell see a answer to my dogproblem .HE is 9yrs old and has started to put his head down only in the house .and when he sleeping he would suddenly shoot out of his bed
Tess on February 15, 2018:
My dog walks circles around out table and stares she started doing this 2 days ago she will not drink she does eat but not much please I need help to what is going on
Teresa adams on January 05, 2018:
10 yr old dashound been doing great all of sudden collapses legs wont move wont blink wont swollow what could be problem
An on December 28, 2017:
Wondering how many people in this forum use flea treatments for their dogs? I contacted a drug manufacturer and was advised that the flea treatment I was using "interferes with a fleas neurological system". Gee, what about a dogs neurological system. Seizures are adverse reactions to many flea treatments. In other countries people use garlic, natural flea treatment although too much is not good. Sounds better than chemicals!
maj on November 27, 2017:
My pug lady is nearly 17-years old and slowing down. She has arthritis in her hips, a bulging disc in her back, she does the walk/sit dance and sometimes stares into space. She drags herself around then suddenly pops to her feet when she sees something she wants. The other day, while in the back yard, she say a squirrel and to my surprise jumped to her feet and chased the thing up a telephone pole. Wonders ill never cease -- funny as anything. She loves to eat but only has back teeth yet she'll sit at her dish until she finishes. She's 15-lbs with grey streaks and patches on her ears and paws. She still barks and wags her tail. She was a rescued animal. Like the energizer bunny...going and going and ... :)
Barbara on September 16, 2017:
My dog is six years old. She jerks her head and stares upwards as if she has floaters in her eyes. She sees things that are not there. It is painful to watch. Any ideas.
Julie on September 11, 2017:
So my dog is 13 years old. He has had a tremor in his hind legs since he was a puppy. It wasn't until he was about 3 years old when vet asked about it. She decided to run some tests and then determined that it was parkinson. He is now 13 years old and has had it for his entire life, but my family noticed something a few weeks ago. His tremor has stopped. His hind legs no longer shake uncontrollably. We were very shocked to notice this. We want to bring him to the vet as soon as possible to see if he has possibly cured himself from parkinson. I just want to share his story because parkinson is not the end of a dogs life. My dog has lived a perfectly good life even with his condition.
Jessica M Reveal from spokane on July 10, 2017:
so my puppy is 8 months old he gets tremors in his hind legg alot he seems happy runs around like crazy but he also gets confused and doesnt recognise people even me and my husband and will start barking till we get closer and when he does chase his tail it goes on for like 5 minutes and he gets confused and runs into stuff alot. should i be conserned? because i dont know what i would do i just got a new job and have no way to take him in right now as im facing eviction and i already ;pst a dog in a car crash and not ready to lose another one
Tara on July 02, 2017:
My pug has all the symptoms of degenerative myelopathy. There is no cure yet and the treatment is comfort care, monitor for uti symptoms. Really difficult to watch the progress.
Fraceswade613@gmail.com on July 01, 2017:
My dog just started rolling on her back and will just at there upside down with all her legs up and just lay till I call her. What is she doing? She don't shake or anything once you rub her belly, she gets up all happy. But she just had her first puppy leave her care.
carolyn worthington on May 20, 2017:
5 month old puppie, healthy, active, will sit still with head dropped on to floor. will stand this way for a while, then jerky movemet and drop head again. last night this lasted at least 1 hour or more. she is like in a trance while this is happening. takes a while for movements to return to normal.
Linda Bain on April 28, 2017:
15 month old, heathy, active dog, stands still, looks down at the floor, not moving for 5-10 seconds.
Chazini on April 19, 2017:
My 15 yr old female Rar Terrier often has quick, uncontrolled jaw tremors. You can heat her teeth clatter for a few seconds & she stops. Then she will often repeat this many times. Usually first thing in the morning. Sometimes it's accompanied with her tongue swishing or moving around with her mouth open. She eats, sleeps & potties normal. She doesn't appear to be in pain.
Can anyone help me out?
Samantha on April 05, 2017:
I have a 15 year old jack Russell cross Pom and just recently she has had a few episodes of what I can only explain as weird tics. Eg: she would be walking and then all of a sudden run or scamper for a second and then go back walking and continue in that manor for a while. It's almost like she's confused or is seeing something I can't. She can see but not very well and her hearing isn't the best either. I'm not too sure if she fits any of the symptoms. Have here been any cases with a similar symptom
Heather on March 15, 2017:
Jack - my dog has the exact same symptoms. Did you ever find out what was going on with your pup?
jackie on March 09, 2017:
My dog has ulcerative collits and started with seizures july 16 they seem to have got it under control but shes showing signs of being confused aggression leg weakness the first mri was aborted as she would not breath on her own her weight dropped from 16.4 to 15.5 ive increased her meat but shes not putti g on weight this mri i gave her her epilepsy meds they didnt give her anasetic and she stopped breathing again but they got her to breath on her own and did the mri they say they cant find anything wrong and have sentit to the specialists but there is muscle wastage as well can anyone shine light on the problem as we are growing concerned
Karen on March 08, 2017:
I have a 2year old cocker spaniel....just this week he started starring up at shadows and fixating on some fleck or whatever he was seeing. Almost like hallucinating... any insight?
Gail on February 25, 2017:
My daughters 10 year old Silky Terrier seems to be slowing down. In the past few weeks this dog that usually has a pep in her step on her walks is now walking slowly and stopping frequently. It takes so long to walk her now that I often pick her up and carry her home. I'm concerned that I may be missing an early sign. Is she just getting old or should I be concerned? She also has digestive issues. I often hear noises like a baby whining from her stomach. The vet has had her on Hill Science digestive hard kibble and twice daily canned soft food.
Other than taking her once again to the vet is there any early warning signs that I may be missing? This is my daughters baby and I don't want to alarm her. Thoughts?
jad on February 14, 2017:
My Samoyed 9 years old. Had a stroke last week, leaving his right in mobile. He has been at the vets office since this happen. They have to put sheets under him a strong guy helps him to go outside to re-leave himself. Put he still is not showing any signs of being able to walk again on this own. I'm I living with false hope that he will be able to walk again. Do I give it more time, or is this making my pet suffer needlessly? - Anyone had a good outcome? What is the human thing to do. I feel so sorry for him, and want what is best for my best friend.
Auspiciousinaz on February 13, 2017:
So what was the remedy? Was there anything they could do to remedy neurological problems?
Jack on January 27, 2017:
We have an 8 yo Jack Russell that has started recently to yelp & looks like what seems to be holding out on a right angle to his body, his front right leg as if it is cramping.
He seems to be in extreme pain for a moment the whole while yelping. Eventually it passes then he seems to run for cover trying to force his way behind furniture or in tight cramped spaces as if traumatized from the ordeal.
He eventually settles down & sleeps, I have taken him to the vet for x-rays at the tune of $900 dollars.
They couldn't really determine the cause or issue but now they want to send him for MRI scans at a cost of $2000 plus before we know anything of the cause if at all.
Just wondering if anyone has experienced similar with their pets If so what diagnosis was given? Getting desperate for some answers also broke along the way but we love his as one of the family & god willing will find a way to get him some help.
jerry cleary on January 27, 2017:
my dog a Puggle has recently started not to sleep at night I get up a few times a night to use the bathroom & find her sitting up in the middle of the bed, I've tried to get her to lay back down & go to sleep but within minutes she's back sitting up on the bed & looking or staring at god only knows what, but then pretty much sleeps the day away, she just recently had her blood work done for a tooth abcess & extraction all of her blood work came back normal & her urine was also tested also normal, she is adopted & about 12 to 13 years old, she also had a x ray because of excessive panting during a night they said that was probably due to the pain from her teeth, x ray showed start of some arthritis in her elbows, other then this she's eating & go's
for her walks everything else seems to be normal except for overnite & not being able to settle down for the night.
debbieg on December 01, 2016:
my dog is approximately 13-14 yrs old (i rescued him from the human society) and have had him for 9 years. he is a terrier chow mix - always energetic and loves playing with his younger brothers. however lately he has started being extremely possessive of me and stays right up under me...this is not a true problem but at night around midnight (for the last week) he has gotten me p shivering uncontrolably as if cold but not and drooling --i cover and curl up with him but he struggles and climbs all over me (which he never did - I took him to the vet - exam and bloodwork were fine. he prescribed nausa medicine thinking maybe virus but that did not help at all. during the day he seems fine -any suggestions? i am very concerned and don't know what else to do
Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org on November 24, 2016:
when we brush his back or rub him his back bone he shriveres and twitches. as well when you touch one side of his hip he leans into it no matter what side you touch,
Katiesmon on November 19, 2016:
My lab-catahoula mix is 8 yrs old. Lady night I believe she had a seizure. I couldn't see what was happening because it was dark, but I could here her. She was digging her feet at the side of her dog house, whimpering, panting heavily, and drooling. The she jumped up and ran off. She growled at my husband, when he found her she was laying on her side in the grass. Then she ran off into the pasture and started barking at us. This morning she seemed fine, but as the day went on she started wandering in circles, seems confused and very lost. She's been eating quite a bit and drinking huge amounts of water.... she won't lay down and just keeps whimpering.... what do we do?
akelseyr on November 07, 2016:
Heather, my 10-yr-old Greyhound also recently lifted and kicked her back right leg, as if being tickled or riding a bike. This behavior went on for almost a month. She bit her nearby hip area as well. The leg kick has stopped now but she is very fatigued and drools, stopped drinking water, gags/coughs on treats and food, her jaw chatters, she has a loss of appetite and incontinence for the first time. She stopped walking last week and I had to carry her down a hill. After a weekend of fatigue and not eating, she ate today and walked with pep. Most likely neurological, what is the update on your dog? Have you seen a vet?
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on September 25, 2016:
I think your dog may be having joint pains more than a disorder...it may be good for you to take him to a vet. If he acts spaced out, then you'd have to worry about a neurological disorder.
Heather on September 20, 2016:
My 11 year old lab keeps lifting his back leg and moving as if to scratch himself, but not making contact with his body... Its like watching him trying to kick start a motor bike... any thoughts?
raj299 on September 19, 2016:
hi sir my dog suffering a nervous problem like head shake and mouth also so please give me the suggestion and is it a serious problem please send me my email id sir my email id email@example.com , thank you
Debbie on July 21, 2016:
My 9 year old Golden Retriever started slowing down. He struggles to get up and down. Paces and stairs into the wall. He doesn't play anymore or want to go for walks. All his tests were good. Was diagnosed with Horner's Syndrome and assumption that the rest is also neurological. I am currently giving him Glucosamine, turmeric golden paste and taking him to acupuncture. Seems to help a little so far. He has been to 5 treatments. He used to be on steroids for allergies but he was weaned off because he was still itching his ears. (no infected ears). I see the lady above had her dog on steroids. Do steroids help with neurological disorders? Should I put him back on them? Is there anything else we can do to help him?
Kerri on July 12, 2016:
hi we just lost our seven month old shih tzu last week. She had the symptoms as above the head tilt, trouble walking, still legs etc she was on steroids every two weeks but slowly noticed that in between shots she wasn't getting better. Took her to specialist liver, X-rays fine. Took her to homeopath who notice that it all started going down hill she she had her second vaccination the one starting with L. Turns out that our dog was the one in whatever that isn't strong enough for this vaccination. Apparently this is happening more and more in toy breeds. We are devastated as this didn't have to happen. I think dogs are over immunised. Was distressing to see our gorgeous dog going through it all. Sometimes her eye would sink into her head and the other eye would protrude . All I can be happy about is we nursed her for five months until she quietly passed away.
Asiana on May 19, 2016:
Hi! Good day! I just saw your post and read it because I have puppy she's name Misty and I'm looking a diseased for my puppy she's never stop shaking her and she's never cannot stand now that's why I'm looking through the Internet (Google) that can cure to her diseases.
Tamara on May 05, 2016:
This morning I noticed my dog hanging his head down and walks a little slower and not as steady as usual I have no money to take him to the vet any suggestions
sandeep Adhikari on April 15, 2016:
Dear Sir, I have 3 months GSD female she is suffering from Distemper since 6 months of her age. I am giving her Gardnal 2.5 ml, tab nurokind G 1/2 orally syp Septran 2 ml limcee 500 mg medicine from last 15 days. She is now bit better but still her head is twitching most of the time. She is now 4 months and her weight is only 11:30 kg approx. Sir I just want to know that whether she will b fine? And what more I have to do should I have to continue these medicine. Waiting for your precious reply. Plzzzzzz Help me. Tnks lot
Giovanna on April 14, 2016:
My 7year old boxer shakes his back legs when he walks and he seems to be a little spaced out. I don't know what is wrong with home. Please help me!
cecilia on April 13, 2016:
We had an issue Monday night. Our 9 year old basset/chow mix started walking funny, and it progressed into full tremors and loss of control of his legs. The only way I can explain it is that he looked like he was trying to walk across ice while suffering from Parkinson's disease. We were helpless. He was not in pain and was completely coherent, and still eating and drinking. We tried to put him in a kennel and that was worse. No one slept that night. Yesterday (tuesday) morning, we took him to our vet, who was also baffled at the behavior. Again, no pain, very alert, happy dog - he just could not control his limbs. the vet checked his spine, his feet, his mouth, ears, everything, and found nothing wrong. He did to a blood panel, and we are expecting it back this morning. The only TWO things that I can imagine happening: 1) he has a long back and sometimes has issues with it if he jumps off things (bed, outside picnic table, etc), and maybe he got into a tussle with one of our other dogs, or 2) he was messing around the fire ant poison that I put out the day before. The vet didn't seem to think it was either. He thinks it is neurological, but suggested we wait for the blood results, then determine if a trip to the school of veterinary science is an option (MRI and CAT scans). As the day went on, he improved, and by nightfall, he was just about as good as new. This morning, again improvement. He is slightly "cautious" or slower when he walks around, but his old bounce and pep are back. It is a mystery to me! I am going to look up a couple of the neurological diseases.... I guess my biggest question is, should I have him checked by the vet school for early onset of such diseases? Please... I have a video of him and I would love to share it with anyone who could help me determine what to do to help him if this ever happens again... or if I am to expect it to continue - or see it again. Thanks.
Tanya on April 01, 2016:
I have a 19 week old female Lab/hound mix puppy. She started limping on her front left leg at 13 weeks old. Took her to the vet for xrays. My vet could not find anything wrong with her bones. Put her on antiinfamitory meds and told me to keep her still. My husband tried to take her for a walk a couple of weeks later. She was very week and layed down in the middle of the road to rest. A week later she fell coming up our stairs. Now both of her back legs are week and shaky. We took her back to the vet and had more xrays done and a blood panel done. Everything came back normal. We were referred to a internal medicine specialist for possible myasthenia gravis. We were told that they did not think it was myasthenia gravis and we need to be referred to neurology. What I notice the most is her back legs shaking so badly and feet thumping everytime she stands on them. She was also put on a very strong antibiotic to rule out parasites. She is not making improvement. Has anyone ever felt with this? What could this be?
BlueScarlet on March 27, 2016:
Just some food for thought. I'm also struggling with my vet as we try to get a more specific diagnosis for my 6 yr old shihtzu. His tremors came on suddenly and the only thing I remembered that seemed off was his FreshPet beef refrigerated dog food which I returned once then after two more tries with new beef rolls that smelled odd I threw them out and switched his food to kibble but, it seems that the food may be the culprit because, they had a big problem with toxic mold last year and a couple reported this year. Toxic mold can cause serious issues in the brain resulting in Neurological issues as can Meningitis which is also becoming quite common in a lot of states. I'm hoping for the best but, I wanted to offer up some tips and thing's I've found helpful during this awful time. One when it comes to steroids use as small of a chip of the tablet/dose as possible- you can always build up to the dose prescribed and may like us find that a smaller amount works at controlling the symptoms with less intense side effects but, only if you feel comfortable (ask vet) also look at articles on the research Life Extension (vitamins/supplements) has been doing on Neurodegenerative diseases they're doing groundbreaking stuff and even carry pet vitamins and I've personally found all of their supplements very high quality for years. Also consider making up your dog's food from organic chicken,etc due to all of the ongoing problems with commercial dog foods including high sodium & numerous very questionable additives after all it's cheaper than extensive vet bills and can be made up with brown rice, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc in a 3 day batch and heated up. One last thing to comfort you and provide much needed rest for you and your furbabies , I found that trying out some lullabies or nature sounds from YouTube 2-10 hour video's provide a great calming down benefit that works pretty well. There are even dog specific video's on YouTube and it's free so it can't hurt. Plus, if you want to check out how your pet food ranks or look at recent recalls try Petfoodadvisor.com. Just in case it's not a disease but, most of these suggestions will benefit you and your pet including adding supplements that provide brain protective qualities that work to help possibly protect them from further deterioration of brain disorders. Hopefully this will help someone and their beloved pet from further harm or provide some comfort and support. Last of all don't give up, get second opinions and consider trying to getting insights from your states veterinary college. Good luck...
Misty on February 29, 2016:
I have a 5 week old husky pup that is consistently shaking has trouble walking but has a very good appetite and drinks very well and no diarrhea is this a neurological disorder?
Stephanie on April 27, 2015:
hello, my 3yr old miniature poodle was recently diagnosed with dry eye. He also has some unusual behavior like shaking his head, and looking up at the ceiling. I'm very concerned about neurological problem. He is seeing veterinarian opthamologist, and has started drops to promote tear production. Have you ever heard of anything like this? Any info would be helpful as I'm at a loss of what is happening to my once perfect lil fur baby.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 11, 2014:
I think the best thing to do would be to get the vet to examine her. She sounds as if she does have Alzheimer's..a dose of Neuroxel or another drug that helps her maintain her faculties will help.
kristi on August 07, 2014:
My dog is 14 yrs old. She's lost weight even though she's eating good. A while ago she started staring at me which the vet said was a sign of alzheimers. About a couple weeks ago she started to stumble and has just been getting worse. Just a few minutes ago her head started nodding. What does it mean? What's next?
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 16, 2014:
I think it may be time to speak to a vet. It sounds like he possibly has a neurological problem.
kim on July 14, 2014:
5 year old Shih tzu male Leeoh,notice tremors,2 days ago ,yesterday evening after outside walk normally bout 10-15 mins,was very out of it stare blank Look,Very sleepy ,sluggish,the rest of evening,today normal behavior,then around 3 pm trembling started again
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 10, 2014:
See the vet, who might advise a spinal tap.
firstname.lastname@example.org on February 09, 2014:
Have a bulldog thst had a seizure now she spins circles day and night until her feet bleed she wont walk in a straight line when called she will circle's only to the left as she trys to come to me and shes also losing weight fast but yet eats three cans of food a day and table scraps don't know what to do???
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on December 17, 2013:
Yes, the symptoms were similar. Do have a check with your vet.
Cheeka on December 10, 2013:
Hi midget38.. thanks for putting this article online so finally i stumble upon it....
I have a dog (given bcause the ex-owner doesn't want her anymore) that i don't know how old.. 2 days ago we just had a walk and it was normal until yesterday she began to hide under the sofa and doesn't want to come out and when we pick her up and put her back on the floor, she drag her rear feet and her front feet are turning outside in a strange way almost like a horror movie.. was misty's feet like those by any chance?
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on November 16, 2013:
No, I think it needs to be looked into, Felicia. Misty takes Neuroxel....it has been helping her a bit. Get the vet to check if it is epilepsy or something else.
Felicia on November 09, 2013:
Thank you so much for posting this article. My dog suffers from what I call "seizures", although I'm not positive that is what they are. I explained her "episodes" to her vet, and he prescribed phenobarbital for seizures, which she takes twice a day. Although these "episodes" occur fewer and further apart than before the meds, she still has them occasionally, so I have to wonder if there is something more going on. This article has definitely given me more to look into; as well as fueled my "hypochondriasis" a bit, I'm a little embarrassed to admit. lol Anyway, thanks again!!!
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on September 04, 2013:
Shaking of the head and legs is a sign of something that might need looking into. Do send her to the vet for an exam if she continues to display frequent signs of shaking.
Grace on September 04, 2013:
Hi! I have a dog a shih tzu, we just notice yesterday and today that her front right feet just shake itself that it causes her to stand , she shake her head to sometimes or after scratching her ear. Does this a possibility a neurological disorder? Is there any treatment for this?
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 02, 2013:
I hope that Bella gets better, artandbrain! Mine is doing well with medication on an alternate day basis. Wishing you and Bella the best.
artandbrain from United States on June 01, 2013:
Thanks for sharing. Great information here. My silky terrier, Bella, has epilepsy. It can be very upsetting to see her have a seizure. Oddly, her seizures began around the same time that I was diagnosed with epilepsy myself. She would have seizures often when I missed a dose of my medication, although hers were actually worse than mine. It's very strange. I know that dogs can predict seizures in humans and our vet said that this was actually not the first case he had of a dog and owner having simultaneous seizures. I have been seizure free for over a year now, though I wish I could say the same for Bella. It's almost as if she has taken my epilepsy away from me! Pets can have some miraculous healing powers!!! :)
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on June 01, 2013:
Oh, yes, they tend to spin around a lot. My schnauzer loves to do this (shnaus are of the terrier breed too). She does it when someone is at the door or when it's mealtime and accompanies it with an "aroo." Thanks for sharing, Jpark!
Jacqui from New Zealand on June 01, 2013:
Thanks for this! With two little dogs, I shall be on the look out if they start doing strange things.
One thing - Yorkshire terriers (and I think some other terriers) do have a turning thing they do a lot when excited - kind of like tail chasing but not as tight or fixated. This is perfectly normal - just in case Yorkie owners start to panic!
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 21, 2013:
Thanks Linda, she woofs hi and says that yes, it was extremely scary when she collapsed in the toilet. And it's a good thing she's not had one since! Exercise has helped her as well. Thanks for sharing!
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 21, 2013:
Hi to Buzz, Mary! Ow. Spinal inflammation fluid sounds extremely painful. Blessings for his quick recovery. Thanks for sharing!
Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 21, 2013:
I witnessed my dog have a seizure many years ago, I haven't thought about it until now. It scared me beyond belief. Luckily she never had another one. I wish Misty the best. And you too Michelle!
Mary Craig from New York on April 21, 2013:
I could have sworn I read and commented on this! Anyway, my Buzz has a neurological disorder -- inflammation in his spinal fluid -- we noticed him holding his back leg up and our regular vet wasn't sure what it was. We took him to a specialist who ran every test you can think of and the spinal fluid showed inflammation. He has been on steroids for a year and hopefully when they end in a few weeks he will be all right. If not he may have to remain on the steroids.
Always err on the side of caution with your dogs, you never know when something serious is brewing. Great hub Michelle.
Voted up, useful, interesting and shared.
Tina on April 17, 2013:
Good evening, I am very happy to have stumbled upon your article. I am hoping you can provide some insight . I have an 8 month old black terrier puppy ( 80 pounds). Since she was 3 months old we have noticed her front paw trembling, whether she was sitting or laying down. Recently we brought her to the vet, as she started to limp. They ran some xrays and saw no problems with her bones, they said it might be some kind of pulled muscles. Gave her pain medicine and anti-inflammation once. She stopped limping but the shaking is now on her both paws, its nothing major but is worrisome. The vet does not know what it is. She had a severe infection on her elbow a month ago at first they thought it might be a tumor-run a byopsy and it came back as a bacterial infection, we were prescribed some antibiotics . Sometimes she throws up.
Do you have an idea what these symptoms resemble, maybe if I have a specific disease to name, the vets will be able to run some tests, as now they are clueless.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 05, 2013:
It's difficult, Theophanes, especially when there are not enough vets with the expertise to cure these animals of their problems That's what I've experienced with Misty. Thanks for sharing....I do hope that your mum's pit will recover soon!
Theophanes Avery from New England on April 05, 2013:
My mother has a epileptic pit. He was from a brother sister breeding which was already inbred before even that - so bad breeding was his problem all the way. It's unfortunate. He is on medication , which has helped a lot, but still has seizures from time to time. He'll dash across the floor in a very fast and odd manner, where you just know he's no longer in control, and then he collapses and his head raises and he starts shaking. He's so out of it by that point that he won't come back to and recognize you or his surrounding until at least 5-10 minutes after the convulsions have stopped and sometimes they can go on for as long as 45 minutes - at which point he's usually swaddled with cold wet towels to prevent him from overheating and dying right there. It's not a pretty sight and is often induced by stress. He's also a very nervous dog so this doesn't take much, just a small change in his environment or routine. To make matters worse these do cause brain damage. It takes some time to be back to himself again but when he goes through a series in a short amount of time it becomes very rough on everyone. SIGH. Sometimes pets can be difficult.
Nice article by the way. I have had to deal with many of these issues in cats but didn't realize dogs had so many of these conditions too.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on February 27, 2013:
There could be a skin irritation too as Sammies are prone to those. Being her to a vet for further tests.
Nansam on February 27, 2013:
I have a 41/2 week old Samoyed puppy who is part of a litter. She is growing fine, playful, loving, etc. but she appears to have a neurological problem in that she does some obsessive spinning when she gets excited. I am just wondering if anyone has had this and for any ideas on helping her live a normal life. Thanks for any info.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 27, 2013:
I am sorry for the loss of Cletus......As I am for any dog. Sometimes, medication does more harm than good. Thanks for sharing, Douglas. Do drop by to share when you can, as I've many articles on dogs here!
Douglas Siber on January 25, 2013:
Thanks Midget. Sadly, we lost Cletus about a month ago due to liver failure. After a long fight, it was not the neurological condition that did him in but the medications he needed for the condition. Cletus would have turned 3 years old this past Wednesday. As I said before, I am truly grateful for each and every moment that I was able to have him in my life and I would not trade the time I had with him for anything.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on January 20, 2013:
Thanks, Douglas!! I hope Cletus is doing better!
Douglas Silber on October 21, 2012:
My 2 year old bloodhound mix, Cletus, has the first reported case of a canine having the neurological condition called open lipped schizencephaly. You can see our ABC TV interview here - http://disq.us/8bntfa - Cletus is amazing and even though he is expensive to care for and it would be heartbreaking to lose him, I am forever thankful for each moment that I have him in my life. You can learn more about Cletus on his blog at http://www.cletusthebloodhound.blogspot.com
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on August 12, 2012:
Misty really appreciates the share, Thomas!! And I'll be writing an update on that shortly too. I do hope that Truman's alright too.......if he's a senior dog, it's good to keep a watch. Misty says hi and a big thank you......she wishes you all her blessings!
ThoughtSandwiches from Reno, Nevada on August 12, 2012:
Anyone with a furry loved one needs to read this and I will be sharing accordingly. Recently my dog Truman had an episode that MIGHT be something called vesibular disease. The symptoms lasted only a fraction of the time (a couple of hours) but all the symptoms were there. Needless to say...I was freaking. Also needless to say...I'm all over any aberrant or weird behavior since then.
I will be keeping a close eye on anything that resembles what you have written here. My thoughts are with you and Misty.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 23, 2012:
Hi Mary, I'm so glad you've stopped by! Always look forward to your hub visits. Yes, I know Baby, she's another cutie! And she's gorgeous! Misty's better now, thankfully, and she's eating and drinking normally. She woofs hello to you and Baby.
Mary Hyatt from Florida on July 23, 2012:
Hi Midget38, did I miss something? Is Misty OK now??? I am so sorry for your experience. You know I have a miniature schnauzer that is very important to me. I lost a dog once who was an older dog. He had a siezure and never came out of it. It was very sad.
You have written a very informative Hub and I voted it UP, etc.etc.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 23, 2012:
Hey TT! Thanks for stopping in! I guess your German Shepherd was old, so it was ripe old age in her case as well. She lived a really good long life though! Yes, watch for these signs in your next dog!
Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on July 23, 2012:
Geez, Michelle, I saw all these signs in my german shepard a number of years ago, but she was 16 years old. She eventually suffered a stroke. I finally decided to put her down as she was slowly deteriorating and we didn't want to see her suffer any more. (She would yelp and whimper whenever she tried to stand or walk).
Thank you for this information. If I ever get another dog, I'll be sure to watch for these signs. VUM.
Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on July 23, 2012:
Thanks Mark. Many dogs need dog lovers like yourself around. It is indeed vital to spot a condition before it becomes too late, this being for both pets and humans! Thanks so much for the share, I really appreciate it.