Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs
Head tremors in Bulldogs and French bulldogs are 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 considered “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 of the head shaking, tremors, nodding and bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs are short lived, 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.
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs OTHER:
- 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’s intention tremors origin is the cerebellum, the tremors are jerkier and typically observed when your bulldog or French bulldog eats, drinks, or during other voluntary movements.
- Bulldog and French Bulldog Sleep Disorder Head Tremors: present when your bulldog is awakened, during times known as REM (rapid eye movement), sleep 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 affected is the area that controls movement.
Bulldog idopathic head tremors patients remain alert and responsive, while bulldogs suffering from focal seizures exhibit a change in mental status.
Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French 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 treat.
Distraction with food, toy, “lets go play or for a walk”, or by showing the leash, will usully stop your bulldog or French bulldog head tremors.
Seizure medication is controversial, if your bulldog has no seizure history, I usually do not prescribe anything.
Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French 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 V4B Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TRUTH & MYTH
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs MYTH #1 SUGAR TREAT: Offering ice-cream or sugary liquids is not recommended. Those are often given to treat seizing bulldogs and French bulldog puppies suffering from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) events. Instead, you can use any food, treat, or toy to simply distract your head shaking bulldog puppy.
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French 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 female bulldog owners who have treated or read about “postpartum calcium deficiency” (i.e. eclampsia).
Dr. Kraemer’s V4B Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIP & WARNINGS
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIP #1: Diagnostic testing conducted for bulldogs head-shaking such as blood testing, bile acid test, CT/MRI, spinal fluid, analysis, and EEG are typically NORMAL.
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French 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 Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIP #3: There may be a genetic link to head tremors, head shaking, or head bobbing in bulldogs and French bulldogs.
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French 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 Bulldogs and French 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 French 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 Shaking: 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 lying 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.
Head Tremors in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs WARNING #1: Your bulldog might be head shaking or leg shaking 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 Bulldogs and French Bulldogs WARNING #2: Other types of tremors can be due to poisons and toxins, hormonal abnormalities, and electrolyte imbalance.
“An Ounce of PREVENTION is Worth a Pound of CURE”