Dismiss Notice
Hello Guest, Welcome to the new version of Sheltieforums.com. If you have any questions regarding the new software, please post in the following section: Forum Upgrade

Leg Twitch

Discussion in 'General Health' started by Fasb's Owner, May 7, 2014.

  1. Fasb's Owner

    Fasb's Owner Forums Enthusiast

    286
    0
    50
    Jan 21, 2013
    Morgantown, WV
    Hi, all. Wondering if anyone has experienced anything like this with their sheltie. Fasb developed a leg twitch last summer. Sporadically, his back legs twitch (vibrate, like a human tapping their foot on the floor uncontrollably). It only happens when he's standing still on all fours. Doesn't occur when he's laying down, sitting, moving, etc. It's not always the same leg. We see it most often in the right leg/hip, but also see it in the left. It doesn't happen in both legs at the same time.

    It's difficult to be absolutely sure with a sheltie, but it doesn't seem to bother Fasb. He pays it no mind at all and gives no sign he's affected or in discomfort. It's not affecting his mobility. If he wants to hop up and run, he moves. No problems using the leg or moving into a running posture.

    We've asked our vets about it. Neither was particularly concerned. First vet never actually observed the twitch, but thought it was probably related to his arthritis. We changed vets last summer. Current vet has seen the twitch examined Fasb, and thinks it's largely behavoral - i.e., something he's started doing when he gets excited. He doesn't think it's anything to worry about. He did seem to rule out arthritis or a hip condition. He concurs that it's not affecting Fasb's movement at all (if it was arthritis or hip problem, Fasb would have problems running/walking/etc.).

    I don't quite buy his 'behavioral' explanation (the problem seeming only started last year in an eleven year old dog), but it does seem like we notice it more after Fasb gets excited. We don't see the twitch much when he is indoors - mostly outdoors. We also notice it more on days something usual is going on - a trip in the car or something similar. Notice it more in warm weather than cold - possibly because he is outside more?

    Doesn't happen all the time - or even every day. Some days we see it here or there, some days we don't. Considering how much time he spends on his feet, it occurs fairly seldom, really. I haven't noticed it since last Friday, when he went to the vet for an Adequan shot.

    Could it be age related? Fasb is eleven years old, in decent health. He has mild to moderate (vet's term) arthritis, which only last year became noticeable enough to treat. Last summer, he was limping for a few seconds and having trouble with steps. We put him on Cosequin DS and visible symptoms mostly cleared up. He also gets an Adequan shot every other two months to hopefully slow the progression of the arthritis. No other health issues of note.

    Thought? Like I said, the vet is sure it's nothing to worry too much about, but I'd like to know more before I stop worrying. Seems to be a very minor issue now, but I'm concerned it could become more of an issue later.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Mom2Melli

    Mom2Melli Forums Enthusiast

    2,184
    0
    85
    Oct 2, 2013
    Central California
    I would be the expert on this . . . except for Dr. Shelli perhaps?

    What this is is a kind of damage to the myelinating sheath, I was told by breeders and 2 different vets. It is not like MS where progressive and debilitating. It is more like a Parkinson's slightly progressive tremor. Nothing really changed the course, fish oil, cosequin, arthritis meds, no.

    For now the standing on all fours with a slight back leg tremor. It will go to both legs and increase in strength slightly. It also will occur when the dog is laying down he will stretch or scratch and almost get stuck in this tremor laying down and you will need to intervene, a touch or helping up and it stops. It almost looks like a seizure of the back end only with no seizure of the whole body and no brain changes or loss of consciousness or bowel/bladder. I saw the first quivers at age 5 and by 8 it was the shaking sometimes while down and pretty strong back leg tremor. Oh, it will also get to the point where if you put your hand on that muscle, you will feel a tiny constant spasm. Dog doesn't seem to mind, but it is almost like tiny missfirings and you can feel little quivering in the muscle all the time, eventually.

    There is no disability, no weakness, nothing that will impair the dog, maybe a little slipping on stairs or sliding on a slick floor -- but that may have been due to unrelated age. Not really loss of coordination.

    My Aussie Mayson (the big red one I have in my user gallery) had this. He died of cancer before this really impaired him in any way. I saw only slight progression in 3 years.

    Feel free to ask on the thread or PM me anything about this at any time.
     
  3. Fasb's Owner

    Fasb's Owner Forums Enthusiast

    286
    0
    50
    Jan 21, 2013
    Morgantown, WV
    Just sent you a PM. That certainly sounds like a more reasonable explanation than "he's excited" (he didn't start doing this until last summer).

    Anyone else have experience with this? Am I understanding correctly that it probably will never cause him pain or really limit his mobility. He's already 11. If it's a slow-progressing affliction, I kinda think something else will go wrong before it gets severe.
     
  4. Mom2Melli

    Mom2Melli Forums Enthusiast

    2,184
    0
    85
    Oct 2, 2013
    Central California
    It might even progress slower or be less dramatic in a smaller dog. My Aussie was the largest non-obese Aussie ever birthed at 95 pounds.

    Anyone else have this? There is a shaking syndrome in some breeds, but this was not at all the same symptoms or progression as those.

    This is more a benign essential tremor or Parkinson's type tremor due to damage in the myelin sheath. Not seizures, not even "shakes". Very slight tremor with very slow progression.
     
  5. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    5,409
    55
    185
    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    I wonder if it is related to his arthritis. Dogs walk funny with arthritis and can develop spasms - pinched nerves or muscle fatigue/knots. Deska often gets them. Give him a light massage all over - if you feel something that twitches or tingles or moves (sometimes it feels like a 'vein') hold your hand over the area for 30 secs then massage it out. See if that helps.
     
  6. Fasb's Owner

    Fasb's Owner Forums Enthusiast

    286
    0
    50
    Jan 21, 2013
    Morgantown, WV
    I initially thought it was arthritis-related due to the timing. We started noticing the tremor in June. By the end of the summer, it was obvious his arthritis was getting worse and we put him on medicine. The other symptoms improved once we started giving him Cosequin, but the tremors didn't improve.

    I'll try a massage and see if I can detect anything, but I kinda feel it's something along the lines of what Mom2Melli described. A couple other people PM'ed and made comments along the same line.

    I'm going to research it and talk to our vet next time I see him, but, if it is a slowly progressing neuro issue that isn't likely to cause him discomfort or limit his mobility, it might be best to just monitor it and take a "wait and see" approach. Nothing I heard or read makes me feel hopeful that we can cure it, and even some of the testing sounds like a lot to put Fasb through.

    We'll see.
     
  7. Fasb's Owner

    Fasb's Owner Forums Enthusiast

    286
    0
    50
    Jan 21, 2013
    Morgantown, WV
    One thing I didn't really make clear earlier: the twitching (tremors) seem to come in two varieties: a noticeable tremor where the leg and hip twitch the way a human's leg would if he tapped his foot on the floor repeatedly.

    The other tremor is more suble: a twitch in the hip muscles above the leg. The leg doesn't twitch, but you see a vibration in the hip (muscle, I'm assuming).

    The subtle twitch makes me think we missed it until the symptoms became more apparent. But, as closely as we've watched him for signs of arthritis and a few other issues, I'm not sure that's likely.

    Anyway. Fasb seems fine. It hasn't really progressed since I noticed it last year, so we'll just have to see how he goes, I guess.

    Btw, who is Dr. Shelli? A vet? I think I've seen that user name, so I assume she posts here on the board. Our vet has already dismissed this as not a big deal, so I hate to go back to him too strongly unless the symptoms get worse or appear to be causing Fasb some sort of discomfort. For the same reason, I don't really think he needs run to a different vet right now. Fasb appears to be fine. If it is the sort of issue suggested in the second post above, the test for a definitive diagnosis would probably be painful for Fasb (muscle biopsy, maybe). For the moment, better just to research the issue and see what develops.
     
  8. Emmasmom

    Emmasmom Premium Member

    3,512
    0
    120
    Apr 2, 2010
    Canada
    Dr. Shelli is one of two vets on our board.

    If it was my dog, I would be taking him to the vet for an examination and determination of what is going on. That way, something can be caught early and treated.
     
  9. Fasb's Owner

    Fasb's Owner Forums Enthusiast

    286
    0
    50
    Jan 21, 2013
    Morgantown, WV
    Well, he's already been seen by two vets (both of which we trust), who dismissed the issue out of hand. His regular vet looked at the hip (while it in a tremor) last Friday and decided it was nothing to worry about. Point taken, though. Reason I posted in the first place was so we can try to get a handle on this, figure out what could be done, and act before it gets worse or starts to affect his quality of life.

    Think I will call our vet at lunch, tell him I'm not satisfied with the "excitement" conclusion, and pin him down on why he thinks it doesn't need investigated further.
     
  10. Mom2Melli

    Mom2Melli Forums Enthusiast

    2,184
    0
    85
    Oct 2, 2013
    Central California
    I am not sure how many vets would know much about it -- canine neurologist would be my best bet rather than say ortho specialist. I actually emailed a canine neurologist when this happened on one of those vet chat answer sites. Got the same advice as I got from breeders and my vet.

    It's considered a benign essential tremor with intention (a Parkinsonian syndrome) rather than true Parkinson's or MS.
     

Share This Page