Head Tremors, Bobbing, Nodding, Shaking Head in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs (head shaking in bulldogs)

Head tremors in bulldog and French bulldogs

Head tremors in Bulldog and French bulldogs is also known as “bulldog head bobbing”, “bulldog head shaking”“bulldog head nodding” and  “idiopathic bulldog head tremors“ and can be used interchangeably.

ORIGIN: The Origin of this Bulldog head nodding and bobbing is mostly unknown (idiopathic) and is concidered “benign”.

ORIGIN OTHER: In some bulldog head tremors cases, the thinking is that it might be a focal seizure or a stretch mechanism localized to the head.

DURATION: Most ot those head shaking, tremors, nodding and bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs are short lasting but occasionally could last for a few minutes

TREATMENT: Bulldog head tremors, are usually intermittent and are usually considered harmless, thus NO treatment is required.

Less common bulldog head tremors are:

Bulldog and French Bulldog Intention Tremors: the presentation of “bulldog intention tremors” can be very similar to the more common bulldog idiopathic head shaking (“bulldog head bobbing, bulldog head nodding, bulldog head tremors). Bulldog intention tremors origin is the cerebellum, the tremors are jerkier and typically observed when your bulldog or French bulldog eat, drink, or during other voluntary movements.

Bulldog and French Bulldog Sleep Disorder Head Tremors: resolve when your bulldog is awakened, at times this is REM (rapid eye movement) sleeping associated with active dreaming.

Bulldog and French Bulldog Focal Seizures: Bulldog focal seizures that involve the head could imitate the more common bulldog idiopathic head shaking (“bulldog head bobbing, bulldog head nodding, bulldog head tremors). The area of the brain that is affected is the area that controls movement.

Bulldog idopathic head tremors patients remain alert and responsive. In contrast bulldogs suffering from focal seizures exhibit a change in mental status

Dr. Kraemer’s Head tremors in Bulldog and France bulldogs MAINTENANCE:

Don’t panic! bulldog head shaking (bulldog head bobbing) is not an emergency nor a life-threatening event. It is considered idiopathic (arising from an unknown cause) and is harmless.

Typically, I advise distressed bulldog owners to try and have their bully move his/her head and neck, distract with a toy, or a treat.

Distraction with food, toy, “lets go play or a walk” by showing the leash, will usully stop your bulldog or French bulldog head tremours. 

Seizure medication is controversial, if your bulldog has no seizure history I usually do not prescribe anything.

Dr. Kraemer’s Head tremors in Bulldog and France Bulldogs RULE OF THUMB:

Bulldogs and French bulldogs exhibiting head tremors and head bobbing are usually fully alert and otherwise acting normally.

It is not a painful condition or a distress signal as far as we know.

Dr. Kraemer’s Head tremors in Bulldog and France bulldogs TRUTH & MYTH

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs MYTH #1 SUGAR TREAT: Offering ice-cream or sugary liquids is not recommended. Those are often given to treat seizing bulldog and French bulldogs puppies suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) event.  Instead, you can use any food, treat or toy to simply distract your head shaking bulldog puppy.

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs MYTH #2 CALCIUM SUPPLEMENT: Offering calcium supplements to a bulldog or French bulldog with a head shake has little merit and is often given by bulldog female owners who treated or read about “postpartum calcium deficiency” (i.e. eclampsia).

Dr. Kraemer’s Head tremors in Bulldog and France bulldogs TIP & WARNINGS

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs TIP #1: Diagnostic testing conducted for bulldog head-shaking such us blood testing, bile acid test, CT/MRI, spinal fluid, analysis, and EEG are typically NORMAL.

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs TIP #2: We do not know of any other medical and/or neurological conditions that are a direct result of bulldog head bobbing.

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs TIP #3: There may be a genetic link to head tremors,  head shaking or head bubbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs.

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs TIP #4: Your bulldog puppy’s head shaking can present as an up-and-down movement (saying “yes”) or a side-to-side movement (saying “no”).

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs TIP#5: Bulldogs with idiopathic head shaking do NOT develop other neurological signs as a result of this condition.

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs TIP #6: There is NO known treatment for head bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs. You can usually stop your bulldog and French bulldog’s idiopathic head shaking by distracting him/her with food, favorite treat or toy, leash (“let’s go for a walk”), or having them tense their neck muscles by turning side to side.

Senior Bulldog Hind Legs Sharking: Many senior bulldogs and French bulldogs owners wonder why their aging dog’s hind legs are shaking. Shaking of the extremities can happen standing up or laying down and can be progressive. Like head shaking in bulldogs, the origin of the shaking might be idiopathic. The theory is that it may be associated with disk disease, neuropathy, arthritis, myelopathies etc.

There is no known treatment for idiopathic aging bulldog leg shaking but usually, I will prescribe anti-inflammatory medication or recommend supplements like my:

As well as non-pharmaceutical, safe, therapies like cold laser therapy and Pulse electromagnetic therapy (PEMT)

WARNING

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs WARNING #1: Your bulldog might be head shaking or leg shacking due to other conditions thus you should always consult your veterinarian.  Head shaking due to advanced cases of distemper virus usually also involves the jaw and leg muscles and can be observed even while your bulldog is sleeping. Distemper encephalomyelitis is rare because of the introduction of the vaccine and its integration to our canine pet’s wellness core vaccine series.

Head tremors in bulldog and France bulldogs WARNING #2: Other types of tremors can be due to poison and toxins, hormonal abnormalities, and electrolyte imbalance.

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