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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Josie's a 9-month old pup and a major sweetheart. Regrettably, she also developed a perplexing neurological condition not long after she came to us (at about 9 weeks) from the breeder. The key features:
  • recurring episodes, each lasting between 4 and 8 hours.
  • each episode starts with lethargy, a bit of urinary incontinence, and a "bobblehead" tremor that lasts through the entire multi-hour episode. You can see the tremor here.
  • That's accompanied by wobbliness and weakness in her hind legs, which you can see in the first 30 seconds here.
  • Her neck and head seem itchy and bothersome to her.
  • Suddenly she'll go from lethargic to manic, engaging in super-intense "zooming" behavior that also can include distressed sounds and some spinning.
  • If we take her outside in these short manic phases, she's on overdrive. See here.
  • The manic bursts are short -- usually no more than 10 to 15 minutes. She appears to exhaust herself and then falls into a long, deep sleep from which it's hard (but not impossible) to rouse her.
We've had an array of tests, including MRI and spinal fluid, and the neurologist says everything comes back normal. Regrettably he's not offering us much in the way of possible diagnoses, courses of treatment, etc.

We adore our little girl, but have major challenges in our lives with sick humans, and we feel desperate to know what this is and whether it's something we'll be able to handle.

Please -- if you've ever seen or heard of anything like this in a havanese, do let me know.

Thank you!
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Has she been given any combination flea and tick medications? Years ago our Keeper developed neurological problems from being given Revolution. He had every symptom on the list of possible side effects except for seizures and death. We had to cram food down his mouth for at least a year because he couldn't stand still long enough to eat. He did get over it, but it was well over a year.

So sorry, and I hope it doesn't last long.
 

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I was just going to ask the same as Tom. If she's been given any flea/tick meds (topical or chews) I would discontinue. I would also discontiue any heartworm preventative if you're giving her that. Some dogs have a problem with these meds and the symptoms are generally neurological when bad. Look for any toxins in the yard or house that she could be getting into (inclucing plants and trees, seed pods, mushrooms etc)...you've probably already done that. If you treat the yard or house with toxins, keep her away from that. Neuroligical issues are so hard. It's good that you have videos of the problem and have been documenting everything. It sounds like you're doing all you can since you've already seen a neuroligist and had so many expensive tests. My one recommendation that I would probably try at this point would be to reach out to a REPUTABLE holistic veterinarian to ask if they might have any insight or experience with her symptoms. I've never used a holistic vet myself but have a couple of friends that have gotten help for difficult diagnoses when the specialists and mainstream vets had no answers. One of my friends lives in the Boston area but uses a holistic vet in Florida and she does everything by phone and internet. I also wouldn't give any vaccines at all for now. I'm sorry your family and your little furry girl are going through this. I can relate to having major health challenges with humans in the family as well. I'm sure it's exhausting.
 

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Wow, I didn鈥檛 have time to watch your last two videos until this evening. While the first two show clear neurological signs, and the scratching video might or might not be neurologic, (lots of dogs DO scratch their necks, especially if wearing a collar) the video of her in the bedroom is really disturbing. She seems SO unhappy, and completely unable to slow down or stop herself. She even tries to go into her crate to 鈥渆scape鈥, but then runs right back out. I wonder if you鈥檝e tried shutting her in her crate at those times. Would it help her settle, or will she just hurt herself inside the crate? (Which, of course would not be good!)

I am not positive that the last video, again, is outside the realm of normal dog behavior鈥 again, like the scratching video, at least in what you鈥檝e shown, tugging on a leash, and making that 鈥渢hroaty growl鈥 noise is something many dogs will do in play. So it鈥檚 hard to know what鈥檚 going on鈥 whether it is neurologic, or her revving up at your repeated insistence that she 鈥済o potty鈥. (Often it works better to give a single cue, and then just stand still and let them relax and find their spot)

Have you shown these videos to the neurologist? If so, I might try to get a second opinion, perhaps from one at a university vet hospital. and I would, FOR SURE think through what Tom King and others have said about flea and tick and heartworm meds. Some of these are known to have neurotoxic side effects on a certain (and not small) percentage of dogs. In many cases, it is reversible, but not quickly, and not if the animal has repeated exposure to the chemical.
 
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Josie's a 9-month old pup and a major sweetheart. Regrettably, she also developed a perplexing neurological condition not long after she came to us (at about 9 weeks) from the breeder. The key features:
  • recurring episodes, each lasting between 4 and 8 hours.
  • each episode starts with lethargy, a bit of urinary incontinence, and a "bobblehead" tremor that lasts through the entire multi-hour episode. You can see the tremor here.
  • That's accompanied by wobbliness and weakness in her hind legs, which you can see in the first 30 seconds here.
  • Her neck and head seem itchy and bothersome to her.
  • Suddenly she'll go from lethargic to manic, engaging in super-intense "zooming" behavior that also can include distressed sounds and some spinning.
  • If we take her outside in these short manic phases, she's on overdrive. See here.
  • The manic bursts are short -- usually no more than 10 to 15 minutes. She appears to exhaust herself and then falls into a long, deep sleep from which it's hard (but not impossible) to rouse her.
We've had an array of tests, including MRI and spinal fluid, and the neurologist says everything comes back normal. Regrettably he's not offering us much in the way of possible diagnoses, courses of treatment, etc.

We adore our little girl, but have major challenges in our lives with sick humans, and we feel desperate to know what this is and whether it's something we'll be able to handle.

Please -- if you've ever seen or heard of anything like this in a havanese, do let me know. If you feel more comfortable writing privately than posting here, you can reach me at eric-dot-muller-at-gmail-dot-com.

Thank you!
馃檹馃檹馃檹
I鈥檓 afraid I don鈥檛 have any help to offer but so sorry to hear that you and your pup are going through that! Hope you can figure out the cause soon鈥.
 

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Our Keeper lived to be 15, and had many good years after he got over the neurological issues. A few months after it started, he could run and play with the other dogs and was enjoying life, but when he put his head down to eat, it just didn't work. I can't remember exactly how long the shaking lasted. This was some years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Wow, I didn鈥檛 have time to watch your last two videos until this evening. While the first two show clear neurological signs, and the scratching video might or might not be neurologic, (lots of dogs DO scratch their necks, especially if wearing a collar) the video of her in the bedroom is really disturbing. She seems SO unhappy, and completely unable to slow down or stop herself. She even tries to go into her crate to 鈥渆scape鈥, but then runs right back out. I wonder if you鈥檝e tried shutting her in her crate at those times. Would it help her settle, or will she just hurt herself inside the crate? (Which, of course would not be good!)

I am not positive that the last video, again, is outside the realm of normal dog behavior鈥 again, like the scratching video, at least in what you鈥檝e shown, tugging on a leash, and making that 鈥渢hroaty growl鈥 noise is something many dogs will do in play. So it鈥檚 hard to know what鈥檚 going on鈥 whether it is neurologic, or her revving up at your repeated insistence that she 鈥済o potty鈥. (Often it works better to give a single cue, and then just stand still and let them relax and find their spot)

Have you shown these videos to the neurologist? If so, I might try to get a second opinion, perhaps from one at a university vet hospital. and I would, FOR SURE think through what Tom King and others have said about flea and tick and heartworm meds. Some of these are known to have neurotoxic side effects on a certain (and not small) percentage of dogs. In many cases, it is reversible, but not quickly, and not if the animal has repeated exposure to the chemical.
Thank you! Yes, we've shown the videos to a neurologist. Thus far he seems to be stumped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Has she been given any combination flea and tick medications? Years ago our Keeper developed neurological problems from being given Revolution. He had every symptom on the list of possible side effects except for seizures and death. We had to cram food down his mouth for at least a year because he couldn't stand still long enough to eat. He did get over it, but it was well over a year.

So sorry, and I hope it doesn't last long.
Yes, she was given Heartgard and Bravecto. We don't intend to give her either of those again.
It's pretty confusing, though, because she showed milder versions of these symptoms from very early on, before (so far as I know) she received flea/tic/heartworm meds. She did seem to have a big uptick in symptoms starting with the last administration of the medications (which was also the first time she got a three-month dose of the Bravecto, rather than the puppy-version one-month dose). But since the symptoms seem to have preceded the start of any of these meds, it seems likely that there's an underlying condition and the meds, at most, exacerbate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was just going to ask the same as Tom. If she's been given any flea/tick meds (topical or chews) I would discontinue. I would also discontiue any heartworm preventative if you're giving her that. Some dogs have a problem with these meds and the symptoms are generally neurological when bad. Look for any toxins in the yard or house that she could be getting into (inclucing plants and trees, seed pods, mushrooms etc)...you've probably already done that. If you treat the yard or house with toxins, keep her away from that. Neuroligical issues are so hard. It's good that you have videos of the problem and have been documenting everything. It sounds like you're doing all you can since you've already seen a neuroligist and had so many expensive tests. My one recommendation that I would probably try at this point would be to reach out to a REPUTABLE holistic veterinarian to ask if they might have any insight or experience with her symptoms. I've never used a holistic vet myself but have a couple of friends that have gotten help for difficult diagnoses when the specialists and mainstream vets had no answers. One of my friends lives in the Boston area but uses a holistic vet in Florida and she does everything by phone and internet. I also wouldn't give any vaccines at all for now. I'm sorry your family and your little furry girl are going through this. I can relate to having major health challenges with humans in the family as well. I'm sure it's exhausting.
Just answered Tom -- thank you for your response!
Online, I see so much about the risks of these heartworm/flea/tic medications.
But the neurologist we've seen was quite dismissive of even the possibility that these medications are involved.
Have others encountered this attitude in veterinarians?
 

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I've never met a Vet that believed any vaccination or medication caused side effects, but we've seen and heard of more than a few. Since our issue with Revolution, we never touch anything new advertised at a Vet's office, or any combination medications.

It's also quite possible that she may have had side effects from vaccinations before taking the flea and tick stuff.

Vets don't believe that there's anything to over vaccination either, but many of us know different.
 

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Amen to what Tom said. Medications and vaccines are the last to blame for anything if they are even blamed at all. My Mia had neurological issues from a rabies vaccine. I stopped all vaccines and all flea and heartworm drugs. She was fine after about a year. She will be 14 in two months and healthy. I belong to a group where people never vaccinate their dogs at all due to the things they have personally experienced...and not just with over vaccination.
 

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Our Keeper lived to be 15, and had many good years after he got over the neurological issues. A few months after it started, he could run and play with the other dogs and was enjoying life, but when he put his head down to eat, it just didn't work. I can't remember exactly how long the shaking lasted. This was some years ago.
I think I remember that if he got very excited, he still had a bit of a head tremor much later too, didn't he?
 

Metrowest, MA
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Just answered Tom -- thank you for your response!
Online, I see so much about the risks of these heartworm/flea/tic medications.
But the neurologist we've seen was quite dismissive of even the possibility that these medications are involved.
Have others encountered this attitude in veterinarians?
For sure! Not my vet, who has very cautious, fortunately. But many others.
 

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Josie's a 9-month old pup and a major sweetheart. Regrettably, she also developed a perplexing neurological condition not long after she came to us (at about 9 weeks) from the breeder. The key features:
  • recurring episodes, each lasting between 4 and 8 hours.
  • each episode starts with lethargy, a bit of urinary incontinence, and a "bobblehead" tremor that lasts through the entire multi-hour episode. You can see the tremor here.
  • That's accompanied by wobbliness and weakness in her hind legs, which you can see in the first 30 seconds here.
  • Her neck and head seem itchy and bothersome to her.
  • Suddenly she'll go from lethargic to manic, engaging in super-intense "zooming" behavior that also can include distressed sounds and some spinning.
  • If we take her outside in these short manic phases, she's on overdrive. See here.
  • The manic bursts are short -- usually no more than 10 to 15 minutes. She appears to exhaust herself and then falls into a long, deep sleep from which it's hard (but not impossible) to rouse her.
We've had an array of tests, including MRI and spinal fluid, and the neurologist says everything comes back normal. Regrettably he's not offering us much in the way of possible diagnoses, courses of treatment, etc.

We adore our little girl, but have major challenges in our lives with sick humans, and we feel desperate to know what this is and whether it's something we'll be able to handle.

Please -- if you've ever seen or heard of anything like this in a havanese, do let me know.

Thank you!
馃檹馃檹馃檹
Our Tina does a lot of the same things. especially after being bathed. Tina's outburst normally only last less than a minute. We have never had any concern about her behavior. We just thought that she was exercising
I was going to ask if the tests have been with a regular vet or a neurologist? I'd definitely recommend taking her to a neurologist with the videos.
Josie's a 9-month old pup and a major sweetheart. Regrettably, she also developed a perplexing neurological condition not long after she came to us (at about 9 weeks) from the breeder. The key features:
  • recurring episodes, each lasting between 4 and 8 hours.
  • each episode starts with lethargy, a bit of urinary incontinence, and a "bobblehead" tremor that lasts through the entire multi-hour episode. You can see the tremor here.
  • That's accompanied by wobbliness and weakness in her hind legs, which you can see in the first 30 seconds here.
  • Her neck and head seem itchy and bothersome to her.
  • Suddenly she'll go from lethargic to manic, engaging in super-intense "zooming" behavior that also can include distressed sounds and some spinning.
  • If we take her outside in these short manic phases, she's on overdrive. See here.
  • The manic bursts are short -- usually no more than 10 to 15 minutes. She appears to exhaust herself and then falls into a long, deep sleep from which it's hard (but not impossible) to rouse her.
We've had an array of tests, including MRI and spinal fluid, and the neurologist says everything comes back normal. Regrettably he's not offering us much in the way of possible diagnoses, courses of treatment, etc.

We adore our little girl, but have major challenges in our lives with sick humans, and we feel desperate to know what this is and whether it's something we'll be able to handle.

Please -- if you've ever seen or heard of anything like this in a Havanese, do let me know.

Thank you!
馃檹馃檹馃檹
Our Tina does most of the same things and we thought nothing of it. After bathing, she runs around like a chicken with it's head cut off, we lovingly call it air drying. I may be an old dummy, but nothing in the videos disturbed me at all, to me she is just being a cute dog. I hope that these comments do not offend anyone.
 

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Just answered Tom -- thank you for your response!
Online, I see so much about the risks of these heartworm/flea/tic medications.
But the neurologist we've seen was quite dismissive of even the possibility that these medications are involved.
Have others encountered this attitude in veterinarians?
I have encountered some veterinarians like this but they vary just like human doctors. I worked for a vet that refused to use brand new heartworm or flea/tick meds until they had been out for a while and proven. My sister has a dog that started suffering from cluster seizures about a year ago. They have no idea the cause and it may be a hereditary problem... but their vet advised them to not give him bravecto, nexguard or heartworm medication anymore. He had been taking bravecto and heart guard for years with no problem but the vet still advised them to stop just in case that was the cause or could be a contributing factor.
 

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I have encountered some veterinarians like this but they vary just like human doctors. I worked for a vet that refused to use brand new heartworm or flea/tick meds until they had been out for a while and proven. My sister has a dog that started suffering from cluster seizures about a year ago. They have no idea the cause and it may be a hereditary problem... but their vet advised them to not give him bravecto, nexguard or heartworm medication anymore. He had been taking bravecto and heart guard for years with no problem but the vet still advised them to stop just in case that was the cause or could be a contributing factor.
I believe the package information specifically warns that it should not be used in dogs with a history of seizures...
 
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I have heard many scary things about Bravecto. I鈥檇 consider taking her to a veterinary teaching hospital (found at most veterinary grad schools) - usually the most up to date services and research. I鈥檓 so sorry.
 

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Our Tina does a lot of the same things. especially after being bathed. Tina's outburst normally only last less than a minute. We have never had any concern about her behavior. We just thought that she was exercising


Our Tina does most of the same things and we thought nothing of it. After bathing, she runs around like a chicken with it's head cut off, we lovingly call it air drying. I may be an old dummy, but nothing in the videos disturbed me at all, to me she is just being a cute dog. I hope that these comments do not offend anyone.
I'm thinking you didn't watch all of the videos he linked. My dogs will act a bit manic and get the zoomies after a bath too... and sometimes just because they get a wild hair. But the lethargy, head bobbing, spinning, incontinence and rear leg muscle weakness is definitely neurological and not at all normal. Plus these episodes last for hours and have been ongoing.
 
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