Bulldog Head Tremors Question

My one-and-a-half-year-old English bulldog started having multiple episodes of head tremors today that would last five minutes or longer each.

Head Tremors in Bulldog and French Bulldogs

Definitely tremors, not seizures.

Bulldog Head Tremors Question DIAGNOSIS

I took him to the vet because I felt like he had had a lot in a short amount of time they recommended I take him to UC Davis neurology where he was admitted last year for meningitis to get a CSS and MRI.

I’m sure you can imagine how expensive it was for his illness and reading through your site I am wondering if it’s necessary for him to have this done if there could be cerebral damage from meningitis or if this is something he might have moving forward forever?

Bulldog Head Tremors MENINGITIS Question 

He has not had tremors since his illness except one other time when he was ill again. He has no fever now, also eating and drinking fine. The treats toys and honey did not make him snap out of it he would continue to head bob while walking around.

1 Answers
Dr. Roy Kraemer Staff answered 2 years ago

Answer to Bulldog Suffering From Head Tremors

The answer to your bulldog head tremors is likely what we call, in medical terminology, “bulldog idiopathic head tremors.”

Idiopathic means a spontaneous occurrence of a condition that lacks a known cause.

Keep in mind that there are other diseases and medical conditions that could present with head tremors similar to the idiopathic one

Bulldog idiopathic head shaking is the most common cause of BULLDOG HEAD TREMORS

Answer to Bulldog Head Tremors: UNKWON

The idiopathic bulldog head tremor starts spontaneously and randomly; it usually does not last long, and though it might be scary, it is usually benign and without any short- or long-term health consequences.

As far as we know, they are not painful nor they appeart to be distressing to our bulldogs. 

Answer to Bulldog Head Tremors and  MENINGITIS:

You mentioned that some time ago he was diagnosed with meningitis and that his prior head-bobbing episodes were attributed to it by the team at US Davis.


You mentioned that he had a spinal tap diagnostic procedure at that time and that the university tested his cerebral spinal fluid. They will usually test that, including fluid analysis, cytology, and culture. That information is missing from your post.


You also mentioned that an MRI was done; I am missing that report.


I assume they also requested and conducted general blood tests and urine analyses. Have they done any other tests?

Unfortunately, you did not mention or attach the findings of those tests.

Bulldog Head Bobbing Test Recommendations:

I would recommend that you test or retest him at your local vet for the following:

  • Bile acid test
  • General blood panel
  • Urine
  • Thyroid


The bile acid test screens for portal hypertension and/or PSS (liver shunt); those could be a congenital problem or a required one.


You should also have his blood count, comprehensive chemistry, including electrolytes and thyroid screens, and urine.

Answer for Bulldog Head Tremor TREATMENT:

Bulldog Head Tremor ULTIMATE


You mentioned that you have attempted disrupting measures with little success and that none of those attempts yielded any improvements.

Bulldogs with idiopathic head tremors (IHT) may experience a reduction or temporary cessation of tremors with specific head or neck positions.

This most likely implies a potential link between the nervous system and muscle control in the neck and head region.

Engaging activities, such as

  • playing with toys
  • receiving treats
  • receiving food
  • playful interactions

Can effectively distract affected bulldogs, leading to an alleviation of tremors. This may be attributed to a shift in focus and stimulation of other brain regions, momentarily disrupting the signals causing the tremors.

Hemp relax & calm for bulldog head tremors

Bulldog and French bulldog idiopathic head bobbing do not require medication.



As we already discussed, most bulldog idiopathic head-shaking patients do not require treatment; nevertheless, since in your case, the head bobbing did not stop despite the various disruptions you attempted, you should discuss with your vet a short-term trial with anti-convulsive medication (assuming you are not planning to take him back to US Davis).

Examples would be:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Keppra

Bulldog Head Tremors SUGAR MYTH

You mentioned attempting to stop your bully’s head from shaking with sugary treats. Please note that sugar, honey, and maple syrup are only recommended for depressed or seizure-hypoglycemic dogs.

Hypoglycemia might happen with an overdose of insulin, sick anorexic puppies, and insulinoma tumors.

Answer for Bulldog Head Tremors SEIZURE:

You were certain that the head-shakings you observed were not seizures, but please keep in mind that bulldog head tremors can be very similar to the common idiopathic head tremor type.

  • Focal seizures
  • Intention tremors

Thus, you and your vet should discuss the unlikely possibilities of other underlying diseases and, if necessary, refer you to a boarded neurologist.

You can send me videos, previous reports, and lab results.


I would recommend that you consult with a neurologist; it’s just the cost of the exam and consultation. Feel free to email me that follow-up medical note

I hope it all turns out okay.

To watch additional videos and learn more about bulldog head tremors, shaking, bobbing, and nodding, CLICK HERE.

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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