my 10 month old pug has been having seizure like episodes where she has facial twitching, licking into the air, clenching her jaw and rapid eye movement, seems confused and scared, sometimes she will be wobbley- but if i get up to leave the room while its happening, she is on her feet at my heals like nothing happened. At first i was convinced she had PDE, but this has been going on for a few months now with no change (not progressing into other symtoms). I've also noticed that she yawns constantly and is always panting even if she is not exerted or overheated. She was also the runt of 12 puppies, yes 12 puppies, she was less than half the size of her brothers and sisters and her head is strangely small. I am wondering if there might be something wrong with her oxygen intake or does this sound like something neurological?
Wow! TWELVE puppies in a pug litter??? Yikes! That is a HUGE litter for ANY dog, but especially a small dog like a pug!
As far as her symptoms relate to PDE (Pug Dog Encephalitis, for those who do not know pugs), what else does she do besides the clenching and licking? Do you notice her pressing her head against hard objects like the wall? Does she appear to have neck pain? Does she have trouble seeing? How is her general attitude? Is she sunny like dogs usually are or does she seem depressed?
The problem with PDE is that there is currently no way to diagnose it except for doing a necropsy on the animal after it has died or been put to sleep, but unless she is exhibiting the other symptoms of PDE, after a few months I would think that it would have progressed past the point of the symptoms you have described.
The jaw clenching and eye movement sound like seizure activity, and the licking the air thing could be a sign of nausea. This does sound like some type of neurological behavior, but cause by what, I don't know. Have you had her to the vet? Ten months old is a biti young to present with idiopathic epilepsy, but it's entirely possible that this is what you are dealing with. The thing that stumps me, though, is that even though she might be in the throes of a "seizure", if you get up and leave the room, she stops and jumps up and follows you! This part I can't figure out!
I would call the vet and, even if you don't take the puppy in to see him, describe the symptoms to him, especially the part about how she stops the behavior, jumps up and follows you out of the room, and see what he says about it. PLEASE post back and let us know what happens, and also keep us up to date on any new developments.
I have taken her to the vet and they are just as stumped. We have done the liver shunt tests and all of the routine bloodwork ups and nothing is wrong. When this first started happening, the vet thought we should see a neurologist, but i hesitated because at the time i thought it was PDE and it would be just a very expensive way to tell me my puppy was going to die.
To answer your other questions about her symtoms, no head pressing, no neck pain, no problems jumping down or up onto furniture, she does circle but that is only when she is actually in a one on one match with her tail or if she is super excited, she has been showing signs of depression- kinda. What i mean by that is she gets really bummed out when she knows i am getting ready to leave for work but im seeing the pattern now, which makes think its more of a guilt trip.
I guess the even stranger thing that i forgot to mention originally, is that these seizure like episodes can happen up to 3 times per day and happen almost everyday, but most of the time they only last a few spacey seconds and its done. Now, she has had 3 serious ones as well where she wont jump up out of it, the kind where she is freaking out hours before hand and then foaming from the mouth and with a ridgid posture during and then she will sleep for the whole next day.
This dog is an absolute mystery and has always been a little strange since i got her, but i am in love. I just want her to be ok. I keep thinking that being the smallest one in 12 puppies, she was the last to be born out of all of them, maybe she didnt get the right nutrients or oxygen during birth. I should also mention that the birth was so traumatic that the mother rejected all of the pups, so none of them nursed. I actually got her at 5 weeks and she could fit in the palm of my hand while the rest of them were about the size of a football.
I guess the next step is the neurologist, because i really think she would have had more signs by now, or worse if it was PDE.
I agree, I think it would have been a lot worse by now if it was PDE. It sounds like she IS having idiopathic epileptic seizures. It makes sense when you say that she freaks out for hours beforehand and then sleeps all the next day. The "freaking out" could be the aura, she is feeling the seizure coming on, and knows what is going to happen. It happens with humans as well. There is something called the "aura", which amounts to the signs that a seizure is imminent. Some people will smell a peculiar smell, others will see flashing lights, others might feel that something just isn't quite right. These are their signs that a seizure will be forthcoming any time within the next few hours. The sleeping the next day thing is very common following an epileptic seizure. Not all dogs do this, but it depends on the severity of the seizure. In humans, a bad headache usually follows the seizure the next day, and they're just wiped out from the muscle tension during the seizure and very, very sleepy.
The circling while she's chasing her tail is a classic doggie OCD. This makes me think that the licking probably is as well. They can get very wrapped up in these OCDs, sometimes to the point where they are seemingly unaware of the rest of the world around them. This is probably what is happening to her, and then when she catches the movement of you leaving the room, that snaps her out of it. OCDs are also common when there are separation anxiety issues involved. With her being human-raised and with you from such a young age, she may get nervous when you're not with her and even the thought of you not being there is enough to get her wound up. So she starts with the circling and the licking, and then when you get up and leave the room she snaps out of it and runs after you because that's what she has been worrying about avoiding - being away from you. A consultation with a dog behaviorist would be a good idea, even if you don't actually work with them, perhaps they can give you some ideas on how to get her out of the separation anxiety thing. Victoria Stillwell has some interesting ways to stop separation anxiety, all of them involving positive reinforcement. I have gotten some great ideas from watching her show "It's Me Or The Dog" on Animal Planet.
Being rejected by her mother could also have some psychological implications and since it was not a normal litter life for the puppers that could account for the OCDs. If you can afford a canine neurologist, I think that's an excellent next step. I know it sounds like she has SO much going on with her, but given the rough start in life I think that a lot of the behaviors could just be from not having been raised as puppies normally are, and not getting that mother/puppies socialization that is so important for normal mental development. If anything, I think that she does have idiopathic epilepsy, which can be controlled nicely with anti-seizure meds. They have so many different types today, it's no longer a case of automatically putting them on phenobarbital like it used to be. With her being so much smaller than normal, you might have to play with the dosage a bit of whichever med the doctor decides to use, but it sounds like she could not have found a better dog mom than you.
I commend you for your devotion to her and I wish you the best. Please keep posting and let us know how she does and what you find out.
My new puppy (Border Collie mix) had seizures so often I was considering euthanasia. Vet didn't know what it was and put her on phenobarbital, which helped. My chiropractor suggested checking her neck. The first vertebra (C1, also called "Atlas") was rotated. He adjusted it and I slowly reduced the medicine to zero. Three more adjustments and it stayed in place. Now, it's been six months with no meds and no seizures. This might not be your dog's problem, but it's worth checking.
Just to share Wentworth's experience (and maybe things have changed for you since this post), but he had about 6 weeks worth of little, strange episodes and auras like this before he a full on grand mal (convulsing on the ground) seizure. He was 9 months old and we have determined it is idiopathic epilepsy. 3 vets did not know what these "spells" were for 6 weeks (one even told me, after watching a video, that he was just anxious).
Hopefully you've seen the neurologist by now and have an idea of what's happening!
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