Tremors in dogs can be a frightening experience for dog owners if you have ever witnessed them, or it can be something that you may get used to if they are frequent in your dog.
The misconception that shaking develops only in small breeds or older dogs is just that.
This condition can affect any breed of dog and at any age and it is something you should never get used to.
Tremors are not a normal set of conditions in your dog and they should be taken very seriously as something may be poisoning your pet.
Tremors in dogs are a rhythmic set of involuntary movements that can affect certain parts of your pet’s body, or it can affect the entire body.
They are somewhat different in dogs than in humans where in most all cases they are caused by the part of the brain that controls muscles.
Tremors in dogs have several potential causes that include problems in the brain but it could also be from several issues.
These will range from some type of trauma, diseases, to something toxic that is poisoning them.
It can also be an inherited condition.
There are three basic types of tremors in dog that your pet will face;
Tremors in the head, the Pelvic or the rear legs, and generalized tremors. If your dog starts to shake and tremor suddenly, it may be a life threatening situation.
All forms of tremors in dogs are serious, but head tremors are especially dangerous and have several potential causes.
The first potential cause is cerebellar abnormalities in the cerebellum, which is the part your dog’s brain that controls coordination.
By far and away the single biggest cause of this form of shaking is called Cerebellar hypoplasia where the brain has not fully developed or starts to degenerate shortly after birth.
The actual cause is thought to be genetic or related to an infection, most likely herpes virus. It will start to surface shortly after birth and will begin to manifest around two weeks of age.
It is referred to as intention tremors as any time a puppy tries to do something it starts to shake.
If it progresses, the puppy may not be able to walk or eat normally.
If it is non-progressive, these puppies will go throughout life and live a nearly normal and very happy life but will always be challenged at times.
The next cause of head tremors may be from encephalitis, which is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system and one of the most common causes of a neurological disease.
The infective causes are bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi.
Head tremors can also be caused by diseases in the vestibular system which sub-serves the bodily functions of both balance and equilibrium.
This form may be caused by trauma or a reaction to drugs.
Tremors of the Pelvic Limbs
Tremors in your dog’s pelvic limbs can cause a lot of pain and weakness in your pet as they will be challenged to walk, eat, and get up and down.
The cause of these types of tremors is most always in the form of a metabolic disease such as kidney failure or low blood sugar.
The most common form is low blood sugar and is generally caused by an inadequate nutritional diet. This condition affects young dogs primarily and can range from mild to life threatening.
Other forms of tremors in the pelvic areas of your dog may be initiated by compression lesions of the spine, such as tumors, aneurysms, or vascular malformations that have blocked the vertebra.
Vascular malformations can develop right after birth and affect a puppy immediately, or may take several years to actually surface in a mature dog.
Neuromuscular diseases can also cause tremors and are the result of the nervous system being attacked.
This is especially dangerous as it not only affects your dog’s muscular controls, but it can also cause a very rapid degeneration of the muscles.
These diseases can also attack the organs.
The vast majority of this form of disease is caused by circulatory problems such as strokes but can also be caused by toxins or poison in your pet.
Generalized tremors affect your dog’s entire body and will most always be caused by some type of toxic agent that attacks your dog’s nervous system.
The two most common forms are organophosphate toxins or mycotoxins.
Either form can suddenly attack your dog and causes tremors or if severe enough, they can be fatal.
Organophosphate toxins are any type of compound that contains phosphorus, and the most common source is fertilizes or pesticides.
If your dog suddenly develops tremors right after you have sprayed or fertilized, they have been poisoned.
Mycotoxins are fungi infections and they are especially dangerous to your dog.
This is one of the first situations that your veterinarian will have to test for if the tremors develop suddenly.
There is one other cause of tremors in dogs that can affect all three types of this shaking condition, and they are referred to as Idiopathic.
The term Idiopathic is straight-forward in that it is spontaneous, but has no known actual cause. It is referred to as the white shaker syndrome.
This term was given to small breeds that seem to shake and tremor for no apparent reason.
Tremors in dogs can be an inherited condition, or it can be a situation that places your dog in a tremendous amount of danger.
If inherited, it can be controlled by avoiding excitement, stress, or strenuous exercise.
If it is not inherited and develops suddenly, it needs to be treated as an emergency. Something has attacked your dog’s nervous system and if not treated, it could be fatal.