The following are real life cases of Tremoring and Trembling in Dogs that have been treated by Dr. Mike Richards, DVM.
I have a three year old female Shih Tzu I noticed some trembling several weeks ago I left for 9 days to care for a sick relative my husband said he hadn't really noticed it a whole lot, but when I returned she was trembling in her back legs. Took her to the Vet and he said she had a sore throat and prescribed medicine and gave her two shots he mentioned he thought she might have a disc problem. I took her back for several days in a row until finally they took X-rays and discovered she had three discs that were narrowed. We were told not to let her jump or go on any extended walks. She is on etogesic 150 mg. a half tablet once a day, Torbutol 5 mg. 1/2 tablet every 8 hours Baytril 1 1/2 tablet once daily since 6/22/01 she still trembles so he put her on Valium 2 mg. every 8 hours 6/26/01 She is still trembling. What causes this trembling and how serious is this? It worries us that she continues to tremble after all this time.
Trembling and tremoring occur in small breed dogs with reasonable frequency. Despite this, there is not much information that I can find on the possible causes of this problem. There is at least one case report of a shih tzu who was suspected to have small dog shaker syndrome. This is a tremor disorder that occurs mostly in small white dogs for reasons that are not clear at this time. It is reported to respond to prednisone or other corticosteroid therapy in many instances. If the problem is responsive to corticosteroids it is usually necessary to use them for several months and then to slowly wean the patient off of them and recurrences seem to be pretty common.
Pain can cause tremoring or trembling and is a consideration whenever a disc injury or spinal injury is suspected. If this is the case pain relievers should at least help some.
Neurologic, muscular and skeletal problems sometimes lead to trembling. We see this in conjunction with hip dysplasia (joint pain) and with degenerative myelopathy (decreased nerve function). These particular disorders probably aren't likely in your dog but there are others that are less common that can lead to trembling.
If the medications used so far have not helped and the trembling continues it might be worth trying a corticosteroid, if your vet feels that there won't be a detrimental effect on any other problems still present.
Read about how trembling can be a Dog Pain Symptom.
I've always been curious about why little dogs shake/shiver. 99 does it a lot, always has. She seems to be doing it more lately and I was wondering if it could be a sign that she is starting to feel ill. She is a nervous sort of dog and I've often wondered why it occurs. I've seen other small dogs do it too.
I do not know why many little dogs shake and/or shiver frequently. It is a frequently observed phenomenon and several people have asked this question over the years. I suspect that there are several reasons, such as fear, sensitivity to cold, nervous energy, anticipation of an desired activity—many of the same things that can cause people to be restless, anxious or to shiver from fear or cold.
Read more about Dog Shaking.
My question regards my 2 year old Great Dane bitch. She has tremors off and on for about a month, only when she is sleeping. She is in great heath, eats well, gets good quality food (Nutro Lamb and Rice), her eyes are clear, no unusual stuff in her pedigree (I co-bred her so I know the lines on both sides) acts and looks completely normal, no change in her play habits or the activity level, but the deeper she gets into sleep the more intense the tremors get and they are on inhale only.
I could not find information on tremoring that appeared to occur during inspiration, either asleep or awake. That certainly does not mean that there may not be information somewhere regarding that symptom, but it may be hard to find it.
Most tremors seen in dogs occur when they are awake. Tremors associated with cerebellar problems are probably the most common type but these occur when a conscious pet attempts to move in a specific direction. They should be uncommon in a sleeping pet.
In people, there is a form of tremoring that appears to be related to the action of the heart, referred to as a ballistocardiogenic tremor. This type of tremor would be more visible in a sleeping patient and it is possible that it might show up better during one part of the breathing cycle than another. Even though I know of no way to prove that this is the problem, it seems likely as long as your Dane seems OK otherwise.
If the tremoring is intermittent during sleep it might be related to dreaming, which occurs during the rapid eye movement (REM) portion of sleep.
Those are the two causes of possible tremoring during sleep that I can find. It might be worthwhile to have a physical examination done by your veterinarian to make sure that your dog is normal and that there is no evidence of heart problems.
Several dog breeds have congenital seizuring problems but I have not seen Great Danes listed among them.
We adopted what we think is a cocker spaniel (he's quite large, but not fat—about 37 lbs) 10 months ago from from the shelter. Right away we noticed he occasionally had tremors—usually one of his back paws would shaking (thumping?) for about two minutes, and then it would stop. Sometimes it would be his front paw. Holding or stroking the affected limb wouldn't help, but the dog seems completely oblivious to these episodes, so we didn't worry much about it. The shaking episodes occur about once or twice a week. Yesterday, however, his jaw was affected. At first I thought he was chewing something very fast, but when I checked him, his jaw was clenched tight and his teeth were chattering, and nothing was in his mouth. This lasted for about two minutes, and it did seem to stress him out. His eyes weren't glazed over and he didn't lose any other motor functions; he just sat there and chattered away for a couple of minutes, then he was fine. Can you tell us what this is?
If your dog is a red cocker spaniel there is a disorder reported in them called multisytem neuronal degeneration. I have no clue how frequently it might occur but tremors and balance problems are seen with it. It occurs in young dogs, typically around 1 year of age.
If your cocker is not red it is possible that this problem may occur in other cockers since syndromes often affect more dogs than is initially supposed.
There are a lot of other possible causes of tremoring. Many of them are pretty obscure diseases and it is a good idea to consider asking your vet about referral to a neurologist if that is an option in your area. It is always a good idea to check a general blood panel and have a good exam done by your vet in case this is symptom of a general systemic problem that your vet may recognize. Canine distemper, liver disease, kidney disease, some hormonal diseases and other systemic or organ system problems can lead to tremoring.
Check out an overview of Dog Muscle Spasms.