Idiopathic head tremors in Bulldogs are rarely life-threatening. This condition can affect any dog regardless of the breed. However, it is more commonly seen in English Bulldogs.
Here are seven important things you should know about head tremors in Bulldogs.
#1 Head tremors in Bulldogs are due to multiple reasons
The most instances of head tremors in Bulldogs are idiopathic. However, diseases, such as canine distemper, disorders caused by neospora and similar parasites, and calcium deficiency can also contribute to it. Other causes of head tremors in Bulldogs may include cerebellum damage, ingestion of toxins or certain drugs, hypoglycemia, hypocalcemia, and kidney problems.
If you often see your Bulldog shaking his head, take him to your vet for a checkup. While most cases of head tremors in Bulldogs are idiopathic, it is necessary to rule out potential health issues first. Your vet may suggest diagnostic tests, including blood tests, CT/MRI scan, and EEG.
#2 Idiopathic head tremors in Bulldogs last for a few minutes
When your Bulldog has an episode of head tremor, he shakes his head uncontrollably – like he is bobbing his head upward and downward. In rare cases, a Bulldog having head tremors may shake his head from side to side. An episode usually lasts up to 3 minutes. In affected dogs, head tremors may occur as often as several times a day or as rarely as just two to three times a year.
#3 Idiopathic head tremors are more common Bulldogs than other dog breeds
According to the journal Movement Disorders, idiopathic head tremors are common in 38% of the Bulldog. Researchers found the problem had no link to spaying or neutering a dog. Stress has been reported as a suspected trigger of idiopathic head tremors in Bulldogs, noting that the condition can be considered an idiopathic paroxysmal movement disorder.
Idiopathic head tremors are seen in all breeds of dogs, including mixed ones. However, the condition is more widespread in Bulldogs, Labradors, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, French Bulldogs, Greyhounds, Doberman Pinschers, and Boxers. In most cases, this condition occurs in Bulldogs aged between 6 months and 3 years.
#4 Head tremors are not painful
Dogs do not feel any pain when having head tremor episodes. Owners of dogs with idiopathic head tremors often report that their dogs stay aware and conscious during such episodes. Pets even respond to commands. Just make sure to take your Bulldog to a safe area to prevent him from receiving the head injury.
#5 Panicking during a head tremor episode can only make your Bulldog feel stressed
Your Bulldog he does not really feel any pain or discomfort during idiopathic head tremors. Despite knowing that the condition is generally harmless, it can make some dog owners panic and too much worried. When your Bulldog sees you panicking, he may feel more stressed – prolonging his head tremors.
#6 Making your Bulldog stay focused help release your pet from a tremor episode
Many owners of dogs with idiopathic head tremors report seeing their pets snap out of a head tremor spell when they remain focused. When you Bulldog is having a head tremor episode, try calling his name or making him obey commands, and rewarding him right after. You can also show a treat to you Bulldog to motivate him to focus away from the tremor. However, not all attempts to snap out your Bulldog from head tremors are successful.
#7 Idiopathic head tremors in Bulldogs cannot be treated
There is no known cure for idiopathic head tremors in Bulldogs. Idiopathic head tremors are not associated with seizures and do not go away when anti-seizure treatment is used.
The good news is that head tremors do not put your Bulldog’s life at risk. The condition also mellows down and may even go away with age. The best thing to do is to keep calm when your Bulldog has an episode of tremors. Distract him to snap your pet out of the involuntary movement by making him focus on something he desires, such as food and toys.