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 veterinarians will begin with a thorough physical examination, comprehensive blood tests and urine analysis. If these tests do not reveal the cause of the tremors, more advanced diagnostics may be necessary, including radiographs, ultrasound, CT scans, MRI and/or spinal taps.
While the results of these tests are being evaluated, dogs suffering from tremors typically are treated symptomatically with pain relievers, muscle relaxants, corticosteroids and/or sedatives. Appropriate supportive care is also extremely important, including keeping the dog warm, quiet, calm, well-hydrated and well-fed. Exercise and excitement can exacerbate canine tremors.
If the cause of the tremors is identified but cannot be treated (for example, if the tremors are caused by permanent damage to spinal nerves), the tremors may be controlled with life-long medications that usually consist of a light sedative, such as valium, and pain relievers.