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Dogs ear twitches quite often... Been to vet recently...

Dogs ear twitches quite often... Been to vet recently...

Just took dog to vet, female, beagle mix, spayed, 8 1/2 years old--Sophie.
Only issues she ever had was an occasional UTI and ear infection due to the floppy ears of beagles (and mixes).
No diet change.

Over the last few weeks I noticed a recurring but slight ear twitch in both ears. No scratching, no rubbing on carpet. Does not occur during sleeping or laying fully down with head on floor/bed, etc..

Only occurs when she is sitting, looking at me, ie: in more active states. There has been no head trauma or injuries or dog fights.

It is just a twitch of the ear-one ear or the other. Could occur 10 times in 20 minutes. No head tilt. No moaning/sound of pain.
No loss of coordination, balance or any other sign. The twitch is  1/2 second. There is no coughing or sneezing but this is not to say there could be an allergic basis to this ear twitch. Don't know. Vet did not think so.

There is no discharge in her ears, no cuts, no mites.

Took her to vet today-

Before I took her to vet I looked in her ears thoroughly, rinsed them with an OTIC cleanser. I applied Otomax drops 2x a day for 3 days.


**Vet today saw no infection nor cuts nor mites. She scoped the ears. Inner ear were proper color. Did blood-work. White cells she said were a hair higher than average but  of no concern. Liver enzyme (excuse if jargon is incorrect) and other levels including electrolytes seemed perfectly normal. Do not think she tested Thyroid-not sure.
I know of nothing she ate that would be poisonous or any kind of insect bite.

Dog will certainly go on walks, urinate normally, poop as usual, interact with other dogs but is not playing as much as she does (with me) and is a bit lethargic. But then again we (particularly me) was gone for 16 days and at my step daughters  and she may be readjusting to our coming back.

I looked up idiopathic tremors but who knows...


Where she has an ear twitch "she is not out of it" like I would expect a seizure to be. Again lasts 1/2 second--the twitch in one or both ears. Dog shows no loss of attentiveness, motor control. It is almost like the blink of an eye but an ear twitch which can happen 20 times in an hour. And again does not occur in sleep or when she is laying down with head down.

So vet thought perhaps it could be seizure related--she did not say epilepsy. Put dog on Zonisamide (Zonegran®) and vet will call in about 4 days to see if that helped. Else I could take dog to a canine Neurologist.


Thoughts??


Thank you very much
Respectfully
Peter





3 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Peter, I want to be your dog!  You are a great dog owner and take excellent care of your pup!!  This is so well written.  But, I don't have an answer. :-((  You've ruled out all the easy stuff.  I think, and this is just me, if you are starting medication for seizures, I'd go see a more specialized vet as you suggest that knows a good deal about neurology of dogs.  I actually did not know about this subspecialty amongst vets.  If they exist, yes. I'd go see one and think that would be worth the expense.  The thing is, you do not describe anything else really wrong with your dog.  Normally a neurological issue is going to have more going on with it. A seizure would often result in the dog losing bodily function temporarily as well. They very often have some behavior and personality changes which your dog is not.  So, it is indeed perplexing.  Did your vet give you a place to call to see a vet neurologist?
675347 tn?1365464245
COMMUNITY LEADER
I second what specialmom said ! You are an excellent doggy caretaker!

But though I don't mean to make light of this, as sometimes we should observe small symptoms, as they could be part of a bigger picture....twitching the ears MIGHT be something you don't need to worry about (?)
But it's wise to see the neurologist before assuming that.

There is something you could do, and that is, if you are able to, take a little video of her when she does this, to show to your vet/neurologist.

In the absence of any negative factors in her bloodwork, or inside her ears, I would be wary of over-medicating her. All drugs can carry side effects. Sometimes vets use a drug during a process of elimination , to help them arrive (possibly) at a diagnosis.

I am NOT saying don't listen to your vet, Just be careful.

Evaluation  by a neurologist could be very helpful, if you can  get that arranged.

You say she is a little more lethargic than usual? Is that since the medication started, or did that start to happen before? Could that be for any other possible reason? Even a broken sleep can make a dog lethargic, just as it can affect us that way.

Or it is possible she may be "fighting off" some minor infection as you say her WBC was very slightly elevated.  (or was at the time her blood was drawn.) That might be unrelated to the twitching ears. It could be a thorn she trod on, or a very mild UTI for instance...

Another thought is....has she been bitten by a Tick over the past 3 months?

I wish I had the knowledge to be of some help to you, but I don't know.
I hope all is well, and she will bounce back. Wishing you both the very best.
5 Comments
Thank you very much for your reply. She is not on any medicine at this point and it was only in on the anti-seizure medicine for several days with no improvement in the twitch or Tremors as we may call them. Her lethargy has gone away and her appetite has improved and she is back to pretty much for normal self. I think some of her behavior was related to my wife and I being gone for a good 10 to 12 days due to a death in the family. The Twitches of the ears did not seem to occur while walking her or when she is laying down. I'm going to observe her for the next couple weeks. Hey that nicely wrote me that she could have one of two conditions and that is something called myoclonus or myotonia. At this stage I will not be seeing a neurologist but might in the near future. After reading quite a bit about these two possible diagnoses I am leaning toward myotonia. I'm not at the stage where I can afford a spinal fluid and or MRI analysis. If things continue then I will of course have them done. She is not in any discomfort and is still playful as she was before and doing very well. Now this is not to say there could be something else more serious like a tumor but she is quite happy, playful, eager to go out, sleeps well, and aside from the Twitches back to her old self. There is no loss of consciousness or concentration when these Twitches occur. There is no stiffness in gait or loss of muscle tone. I am not currently working so I'm around her all day and she still loves her long walks and meeting other dogs and her human friends. Thank you very much
Excuse typos. I dictated and see no edit button. Where it says hey that nicely wrote me. That really was meant to say a vet wrote me and stated it could be myoclonus or mytona. We have ruled out laflora disease but not idiopathic tremor
Another correction I believe this is myoclonus related but there are various subsections  under myoclonus. So I did not mean myotonia as a possible diagnosis. Tx peter
No tick bite or bites of any kind on dog. No changes in environment. No changes in bowel habits. No Bullseye spots or missing hair follicles, swelling or any behavior that might indicate some sort of insect bite or Environmental poison influence
It could be something as benign as OCD.  From what you have said there are times when it doesn't bother her at all and then there are times when she will be bothered for a prolonged period of time.  

With OCD, they can go for prolonged periods of time where it doesn't seem to bother her at all, and then for a while she will seem to be plagued by it happening almost constantly.  If she forgets about it, she won't do it and as soon as she remembers, she's at it again.  

A behaviorist might be able to offer you more suggestions at this point than a vet.  One thing you do need to keep in mind is that if her ear pinnae are long and floppy like a Beagle's, she could shake herself into a hematoma of the ear pinna, which will then need to be drained and stitched to keep it from coming back.  Talk to a canine behaviorist to see if they can offer some possible suggestions.  Your vet should be able to recommend one.
675347 tn?1365464245
COMMUNITY LEADER
Ah....myoclonus.... and immediately my thoughts went to Magnesium.

You may want to talk to a veterinary nutritionist to check, but it is just possible that a little extra Magnesium in the diet might help.

Until (or if) you receive some professional advice, I wouldn't go for a supplement necessarily at this stage. But it might be worth experimenting with natural magnesium-containing foods, and see if that helps at all?

Some dietary sources of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium for dogs include bone meal, fish, beans, molasses, muscle and organ meats, wheat bran and vegetables.

I am glad to hear she is doing well anyway. She sounds very happy which is great news.
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