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Most Tremors in Adult Dogs Are Treatable

October 23, 2012

Tremors are rhythmic involuntary movements that can affect all or part of the body. There are many causes of tremors. Tremors involving the head can be caused by abnormalities the brain (i.e. the cerebellum) or the organ of balance (i.e. the vestibular). Inflammation, trauma, toxins, and immune system problems are only a few of the causes that can affect the brain and result in tremors. If the tremors affect the hind legs, there may be problems with the spinal cord or there may be an underlying disease such as kidney failure, hypothyroidism, or hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). If the tremors affect the entire body, the cause could be toxins, degenerative nerve disease, or even tumours.

Treatment and prevention of tremors is facilitated if the primary cause can be determined. In fact, most of the causes of tremors in adult dogs are treatable. However, a proper diagnostic work-up must be done in order to arrive at a diagnosis so that appropriate treatment can be initiated. Diagnostic tests should include blood tests (e.g. biochemistry, complete blood count); urinalysis, x-rays, and CSF tap (i.e. cerebrospinal fluid analysis). In some cases, a veterinarian may wish to refer the patient to an internist (i.e. a specialist in veterinary internal medicine) for diagnostic tests.