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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.
That's the problem with some of these meds - Bravecto especially - it took them an incredibly long time to admit that it might be linked to neurological conditions, and now it does specifically warn about that - but it does seem that it is linked to dogs that have some sort of underlying condition that then becomes exacerbated by Bravecto (and unfortunately they can't test for whatever it might be before you use it). Some dogs can use Bravecto with no problems (my sister uses it because one of her dog was reacting to the previous meds she was using), but you won't know til after you give it.

I believe the package information specifically warns that it should not be used in dogs with a history of seizures...
Yes after years of people saying it was the cause of seizures / neurological problems and death and Bravecto denying it, they finally have started giving warnings about it.

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?
Personally I would go to another neurologist - as someone else mentioned maybe even at a teaching hospital where they're on the cutting edge of things. Your vet should be fine with another opinion if they're stumped.
 

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There is a holistic veterinarian, Dr Judy Morgan, that has a lot of educational material about the effects of Isoxazoline based products flea and tick medicines (Bravecto, Bravecto Plus, Nexgard, Simparica, Simparica Trio, Credelio, Revolution Plus). She’s on Facebook and has a web site. She’s super informative about the neurological effects of those topicals as well as many veterinarians dismissing the effects. She just had something on Facebook about it yesterday.
 

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I just watched all the videos and the ones where she is running around manic is a little over the top but also can be normal puppy behavior. Those are called "zoomies" and my Sophie did very similar at times as a puppy but still does them at age 7 just not as intensely as she used to. But she has looked like Josie in the video when she was about that age. Not to say this isn't a sign of something going on with Josie but she could be normal. Does she get much exercise and mental stimulation? At her age she should not be walked for long periods (you should wait until her growth plates close at around 12-18 months for really long walks) but if you don't already, taking her out daily to a park or walk around your block if it's safe dog wise there, may help her settle at home.

I know this wouldn't be a good idea until you know just what is going on with her but have you considered taking her to puppy class to get some of that energy out also? Or puppies or nice dogs you know you could set up play dates with? Even doing some light training with her at home, the mental work can tire her out a little.

Does she do the itching without the harness and collar on? That also looks normal to me. Sophie was very itchy at that age and would sit and scratch and scratch. She has grown out of it a bit but still gets pretty itchy. Even without a collar on. Josie sort of looks to me like she's scratching due to her harness and collar though.

The one on the floor where she is slipping, could that just be the slippery floor? Or is she having tremors etc at that point too? My Sophie does similar on the more slippery hard floors (which is why I have carpeting) she also does it on the seamless background paper I roll out as a backdrop for photo shoots with her. I have gotten a white rug to put down as unless she is standing still her feet slip out from under her too. Does she have hair on the bottom of her paws? If so you may try trimming them from around her pads so she can grip the floor better with her pads and not slip from standing on the hair. You may also consider getting a rug runner across the hard floor so she has a path where she can get traction. I have one in my kitchen that leads from the back door to the carpeted living room that Sophie uses.

The two videos that to me dont' look normal are of course the bobbing head one and also where she is laying and vocalizes although I don't know her, just that one alone wouldn't have worried me a ton. Again unless I missed something before or after you videoed. But something is definitely going on with her.

I imagine the neurologist checked for syringomyelia? I agree with Plhogan about Dr Judy also Dr Jean Dodds is amazing (she is the one who changed the whole vaccination protocol as most dogs don't need more than the puppy vax in their lifetime, and we can titer their blood to see if they are still covered or not as they get older.) I have talked with her about my dogs issues a few times also. So sorry you are going through this especially with such a young one! Hopefully this is connected to the flea and tick treatment and won't happen again. <3
 

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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.
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.
I did watch all of the video's which is why I said "a lot of the same things". she has never had head bobbing or incontinence but in her wild mode she occasionally does do circles.
 

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Is there a college around where you live that has a Vet school in it? When we had problems with another fog years ago we called them and took her to them and they kept her . They were very helpful in a diagnosis. Just a thought.
 

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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.
I know you didn't give Seresto but thought I'd share this, just today, how dangerous these toxins can be. It says owners reported seizures, vomiting, dizziness, anorexia, difficulty breathing, nausea...


After a damning USA Today investigation linked a popular flea and tick collar to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, a Congressional subcommittee is calling for the products to be temporarily recalled.
"I think that it's only appropriate in this case that the manufacturer do a voluntary recall," Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, chairman of the House subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, told CBS News. "And I think that it's appropriate, out of an abundance of caution, that we step back, we look at the situation, investigate and proceed from there."
USA Today revealed earlier this month that more than 75,000 incidents involving Seresto collars had been reported to the EPA between 2012 and June 2020. These reports linked the collars to tens of thousands of animal injuries; 900 of the incidents involved people.
According to the EPA, which approved the collars in 2012, the Seresto collars "are made of plastic impregnated with insecticides," which are released into an animal's fur over a period of eight months. The agency does not consider those insecticides, flumethrin and imidacloprid, to be harmful to pets or humans. But a 2012 study by Bayer found that the two have a "synergistic effect" and are more toxic to fleas when paired together.
 

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All of the "preventatives" stay in the dogs system a really long time. I would stop them as well as heartworm drugs and vaccines and give Josie's system a chance to right itself. Not sure I would be running to a neurologist until I gave her a chance. The sad part is that most dogs would not get more than a handful of ticks or fleas in their entire life time without the preventatives. Mine have had hundreds of ticks on them in 14 years and are doing just fine. I happen to live in a very tick infested area and still refuse to use any preventative, even spot ons, which in my opinion are also dangerous.
 

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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.
Yes, the post bath zoomies are very common, but it’s the other videos that are especially worrisome,,, and even in the zoomies video she seems unable to control herself to settle… it feels more frantic. Poor little girl 😞 A friend’s dog (not a Hav, but a small fluffy mix) recently started having rear muscle weakness and they couldn’t figure out what it was, but then he had seizures so they did have an MRI. The vet thinks it something called GME which sounds pretty bad. The symptoms list sounds similar… did they rule this out in your girl? I really hope they’re able to figure out what is up with your girl soon!
 

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Yes, the post bath zoomies are very common, but it’s the other videos that are especially worrisome,,, and even in the zoomies video she seems unable to control herself to settle… it feels more frantic. Poor little girl 😞 A friend’s dog (not a Hav, but a small fluffy mix) recently started having rear muscle weakness and they couldn’t figure out what it was, but then he had seizures so they did have an MRI. The vet thinks it something called GME which sounds pretty bad. The symptoms list sounds similar… did they rule this out in your girl? I really hope they’re able to figure out what is up with your girl soon!
I agree. When I started watching the zoom one, my first thought was, "All Havies do that!"... And then it continued. And you saw her people staying very still and doing NOTHING to encourage her. And her TRYING to settle herself by going under the bed and into her crate, and not being able to calm herself. THAT part is NOT "normal" behavior. THAT part is disturbing to watch.
 
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Two thoughts came to mind when watching the videos. One, that floor looks very polished and shiny. I am wondering if the puppy is still learning to walk on that surface? Or was she walking correctly before, and now doing that sliding thing.

In regards to her manic phase, my Zumba acted the very same way. She lived up to her name in every way. The growling, the running under the corners of the bed, into her cage and out. We have a very long house and she ran like a crazy girl all over it. I figured she was wanting attention, so when she’d start doing that, I would chase her, screaming and waving my arms. It was great exercise, and we’d have fun. When she was done, she’d plop down and refuse to move. Game over. Time to sleep. She’s almost 4 now, and still gets those zoomies, though nothing as crazy as at the beginning. Though she still loves me to chase her around the house. If I haven’t done it in awhile, she’ll come to me, turn around and start running away, while she looks back like she’s saying, “come on. Chase me!”
 

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As far as the slipping, I would make sure the paw pads are trimmed up. I do Mia's every couple weeks or she will start slipping on a slick floor. Her hair grows super fast. Many people do not go to a groomer that often so this can be a problem.
 

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Two thoughts came to mind when watching the videos. One, that floor looks very polished and shiny. I am wondering if the puppy is still learning to walk on that surface? Or was she walking correctly before, and now doing that sliding thing.

In regards to her manic phase, my Zumba acted the very same way. She lived up to her name in every way. The growling, the running under the corners of the bed, into her cage and out. We have a very long house and she ran like a crazy girl all over it. I figured she was wanting attention, so when she’d start doing that, I would chase her, screaming and waving my arms. It was great exercise, and we’d have fun. When she was done, she’d plop down and refuse to move. Game over. Time to sleep. She’s almost 4 now, and still gets those zoomies, though nothing as crazy as at the beginning. Though she still loves me to chase her around the house. If I haven’t done it in awhile, she’ll come to me, turn around and start running away, while she looks back like she’s saying, “come on. Chase me!”
Although other videos definitely show something going on with Josie, I also didn't see any red flags in the zoomie video. My Sophie was exactly the same way at that age. I never had a crate set up (since I work from home and was always here with her) but she would race like crazy and then run and plop down for a minute in her soft sided dog house just like Josie did, then off again. When she got super charged like that, I knew I needed to increase her exercise, training etc to wear her out a bit more.

I also agree about the slick floor could be wrong but that is what it looked like to me too. I do photo shoots with Sophie on seamless background paper that is slipper and her feet would slide out from under her also. If Josie weren't having the head bobbing, etc I wouldn't have been concerned about that either. I sure hope they find what is wrong hopefully the flea treatment and she'll recover. I know SO many dogs and cats who have had bad reactions and even died from flea collars, sprays etc.
 

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I'm sorry that I don't have any advice but want to say that Josie is lucky to have puppy parents like you two. Your observations are very detailed and well documented which will give Josie a better chance of finding a provider who can help. Best of luck to you.
 

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Hi, I am in Australia and can tell you the zoomies are quite normal. I have 5 of them and every morning and afternoon this is the behaviour they partake in. For over half an hour they are dashing up my hallway out through the doggy door around the largish backyard and rinse and repeat. As for the head bobbing I am going to suggest a mild form of epilepsy bought on by the use of the Bravecto. I tell all my puppy people to stay away from these medications as they are known to cause problems in Havanese and other dogs. Havanese are known to be more sensitive to these types of meds, the C5 vaccine and anaesthetic. Epilepsy so far has not been recognized as hereditary in the breed and it can occur suddenly in any breed. However some breeds are known to have a genetic component. The jury is out on the Havanese. Your pups scratching with that heavy collar on is normal. It is good that you are observant however with the over the top zoomies I do think she is thinking it is a behaviour that you want as you do not curtail it.
 

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I appreciated all of these responses to my question and wanted to share an update. We were able to get Josie seen by the neurology team at North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital on Wednesday. An outstanding facility. Unlike the veterinary neurologist we had been working with, the doc at NC State listened very carefully, was extremely thorough, and explained exactly why he was ruling out what he was ruling out and leaving in the mix what remains. His bottom line is that this is not a seizure disorder. He also seriously considered the possibility that the flea and tick medicines were to blame, but when we looked carefully over the pattern of episodes and administrations of the drugs, it was pretty clear that they are proceeding on different tracks entirely. His best guess is that Josie has a movement disorder. paroxysmal diskenesia, if you want to be all fancy about it. :)

It's not an especially well understood condition in humans, and there is even less research on dogs. But he thinks there's a chance that the medicine called keppra might help reduce the frequency and severity of the episodes, so we are trying her on that. Fortunately, she's a couple of days in now and is tolerating it well.

We are trying to stay hopeful that this will be something that either can be successfully managed with medication or that she will grow out of.
 

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I agree. When I started watching the zoom one, my first thought was, "All Havies do that!"... And then it continued. And you saw her people staying very still and doing NOTHING to encourage her. And her TRYING to settle herself by going under the bed and into her crate, and not being able to calm herself. THAT part is NOT "normal" behavior. THAT part is disturbing to watch.
I appreciated all of these responses to my question and wanted to share an update. We were able to get Josie seen by the neurology team at North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital on Wednesday. An outstanding facility. Unlike the veterinary neurologist we had been working with, the doc at NC State listened very carefully, was extremely thorough, and explained exactly why he was ruling out what he was ruling out and leaving in the mix what remains. His bottom line is that this is not a seizure disorder. He also seriously considered the possibility that the flea and tick medicines were to blame, but when we looked carefully over the pattern of episodes and administrations of the drugs, it was pretty clear that they are proceeding on different tracks entirely. His best guess is that Josie has a movement disorder. paroxysmal diskenesia, if you want to be all fancy about it. :)

It's not an especially well understood condition in humans, and there is even less research on dogs. But he thinks there's a chance that the medicine called keppra might help reduce the frequency and severity of the episodes, so we are trying her on that. Fortunately, she's a couple of days in now and is tolerating it well.

We are trying to stay hopeful that this will be something that either can be successfully managed with medication or that she will grow out of.
thank you so much for the update! I also hope she will just grow out of it. I'm glad you got some answers!
 

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I appreciated all of these responses to my question and wanted to share an update. We were able to get Josie seen by the neurology team at North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital on Wednesday. An outstanding facility. Unlike the veterinary neurologist we had been working with, the doc at NC State listened very carefully, was extremely thorough, and explained exactly why he was ruling out what he was ruling out and leaving in the mix what remains. His bottom line is that this is not a seizure disorder. He also seriously considered the possibility that the flea and tick medicines were to blame, but when we looked carefully over the pattern of episodes and administrations of the drugs, it was pretty clear that they are proceeding on different tracks entirely. His best guess is that Josie has a movement disorder. paroxysmal diskenesia, if you want to be all fancy about it. :)

It's not an especially well understood condition in humans, and there is even less research on dogs. But he thinks there's a chance that the medicine called keppra might help reduce the frequency and severity of the episodes, so we are trying her on that. Fortunately, she's a couple of days in now and is tolerating it well.

We are trying to stay hopeful that this will be something that either can be successfully managed with medication or that she will grow out of.
Great that you have found someone to help you with her problems! Good luck! ❤. Keep us posted!
 

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I appreciated all of these responses to my question and wanted to share an update. We were able to get Josie seen by the neurology team at North Carolina State Veterinary Hospital on Wednesday. An outstanding facility. Unlike the veterinary neurologist we had been working with, the doc at NC State listened very carefully, was extremely thorough, and explained exactly why he was ruling out what he was ruling out and leaving in the mix what remains. His bottom line is that this is not a seizure disorder. He also seriously considered the possibility that the flea and tick medicines were to blame, but when we looked carefully over the pattern of episodes and administrations of the drugs, it was pretty clear that they are proceeding on different tracks entirely. His best guess is that Josie has a movement disorder. paroxysmal diskenesia, if you want to be all fancy about it. :)

It's not an especially well understood condition in humans, and there is even less research on dogs. But he thinks there's a chance that the medicine called keppra might help reduce the frequency and severity of the episodes, so we are trying her on that. Fortunately, she's a couple of days in now and is tolerating it well.

We are trying to stay hopeful that this will be something that either can be successfully managed with medication or that she will grow out of.
So glad you received a second opinion and diagnosis. I hope it’s not a serious or progressive condition (need to Google it) and that she responds well to the meds. Sharing with us helps us all learn, so thank you for that. I hope she continues to do OK and that she isn’t suffering in any way.
 
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