Tremors in Dogs | Canine Twitching of Opposing Muscles

Dog Tremors

Definition

A tremor is an involuntary, rhythmic twitching of opposing muscles. They usually are visible to the naked eye and sometimes can even be felt when touching affected areas. Tremors are caused by the synchronous contraction of muscles that are antagonistic to one another, which means that they normally pull in opposite directions. When they pull in the same direction at the same time, it causes a to-and-fro movement in the affected area of the body. What causes most tremors is unknown. Sometimes, they involve genetic or developmental abnormalities but can also be caused by trauma, spinal cord lesions, inflammation, exposure to toxins, heart disease and immune system disorders. Tremors are fairly easy to differentiate from seizures because of their regularity. They can happen during rest or activity, but tend to worsen with excitement and lessen with rest. Owners often describe tremors as “shaking” or “shuddering”.

Causes and Prevention of Tremors in Dogs

Tremors are caused by the synchronous contraction of reciprocally innervated, antagonistic muscles, leading to a regular to-and-fro movement in all or part of an affected dog’s body. The underlying cause of tremors is often unknown (idiopathic). Tremors generally can be related to genetic or developmental conditions, trauma, compressive lesions of the spinal cord, inflammation, exposure to any of a number of tremorgenic toxins, poor blood perfusion to pelvic muscles due to cardiac disease, immune-mediated diseases,

Treatment and Prognosis for Tremors in Dogs

The therapeutic goal is to identify and treat the underlying cause of canine tremors. Many causes of tremors are treatable, although in very young dogs tremors can reflect genetic or developmental abnormalities that cannot be treated or well managed. Tremors are not a disease but rather are a clinical sign of some other underlying disorder. Once a dog develops tremors, a series of tests must be performed to ascertain the cause of the condition. Most

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