What's up with my dog?
March 27, 2014 11:14 AM   Subscribe

What is this strange behavior of my dog?

YANMV, and I have consulted my vet, who is not sure what is going on.

Once every 3-4 months, my 10-year-old diabetic Yorkie has what I describe as a "fit." It's not a seizure (I've had dogs that had seizures, and this is different). Out of nowhere, he will begin to get very frantic and panicked, moving his head back and forth as if he can't suddenly see and doesn't know where he is. However, I know he can see because he will run around frantically and not bump into things. He pants. He doesn't shake/quiver like a seizure but more has a sudden burst of manic energy. If I try to hold him still, he frantically tries to wiggle out of my hold, and I sometimes just let him run in circles until he calms. It passes within a few minutes as he gradually settles down and within minutes is completely normal. It's happened at all days and times of day, so it is not connected, I don't believe, to how we are regulating his insulin, which is through twice daily injections.

Anyone experience anything like this?
posted by archimago to Pets & Animals (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you had a chest/abdominal x-ray?

I ask because we had approximately yearly weirdness - always trembling and panting and clingy, but some other symptoms varied from event to event - with my boxer-mix for years, and several baffled trips to the emergency vet with really thorough abdominal palpation and urinalysis and blood tests for infection or evidence of internal bleeding.

And then finally, after years of this, she's peeing on the floor and antibiotics don't help and they finally x-ray her. She had a bladder stone the size of my fist filling her bladder. (We were at the vet yesterday and the vet tech said she presented a paper on it at school and everyone was very impressed.) So for years she'd been in at least periodic pain - in fact, she'd been limping occasionally for two years at least - and probably sometimes having intestinal difficulties because of crowding, and while we can't prove that's what was causing those weird episodes, we all feel like jerks for not looking sooner.

She hasn't had an episode since it was removed, and the limping stopped.

It would rule things out, in any case.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:37 AM on March 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

I'm a vet, but not your vet so this is not medical advice.

My first thought was acute pain, I think Lyn Never is on a good track. Pain would be what I would pursue if this dog was presented to me. Unfortunately, pain can be really difficult to pin down in animals. It may be something as benign as very painful gas and cramping, which you will probably never find, or it cold be something obvious that you'll find with just one radiograph.

This could also be a result of very low blood sugar. Have you tested his blood glucose after these events?

As you may well know, seizures can present very differently and what looks like a seizure in one dog will look very different in another; That may not be something to rule out.

Last, although it is sad, dementia can sometimes present like this with only occasional and acute confusion. Other signals of dementia in canines include anxiety, change in sleeping patterns, forgotten cues/commands and a change in how social he is (this can go either way, some get clingy and some get aloof).

When episodes are so infrequent, it can be a challenge to diagnose. Don't be afraid to ask for the opinion of another vet in the practice. My best to you and your pup.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 12:49 PM on March 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

We've tested his blood glucose right after the event in the past, and he goes in regularly for the all-day curve. The vet at one time thought it was the result of too much insulin.

It's very curious indeed. I never considered some kind of acute pain flare up.
posted by archimago at 12:53 PM on March 27, 2014

To learn more about the head movements, you can research "fly-biting" behaviour and see if that seems relevant.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:35 PM on March 27, 2014

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