When a canine or dog has a spasm, it could mean different things. The dog could be having a seizure likely related to an epilepsy condition, but might also be related to an illness, reaction to medication, or allergies. Spasms in dogs might also be an indication that the animal is experiencing pain in that part of the body. Typically in dogs, this pain originates in the legs and/or back. Intervertebral Disc Disease or IVDD, is a condition specific to dogs where discs in the spinal column become herniated into the spinal cord area. In extreme cases, IVDD can cause paralysis because of the discs pressing against critical nerves in the spine. Other possibilities include degenerative myelopathy, or nerves in the spinal cord area that become weakened. Labrador Retrievers are known to have spasms that originate from psychological stress clinically known as Canine Stress Syndrome. The list of causes for spasms and seizures goes on to distemper (gastrointestinal and central nervous system failure).
For some pet owners, when they notice that their dog is having this type of problem, it can be difficult to differentiate between a seizure and a spasm. In these cases, it is advisable to take the dog into a doctor or a specialist such as a chiropractor or veterinary neurologist that would be more suited to determine the nature of the problem as being bone or muscle based. Drawing the right conclusion is imperative towards the pets health and it is critical that the dog is sent to a specialist that can single in on the source of the problem without a doubt so that the dog can receive proper treatment based on what is causing the spasms or seizures.
If the problem is related to seizures, there are some common symptoms that the pet owner can look for such as a noticeable change and in the dog’s behavior and signs such as restlessness and apprehension prior to their next episode. If this leads to a period of time with extraordinary and strange physical activity and body movements, drooling, twitching, and ultimately the loss of consciousness, it is pretty clear at this point that the dog’s problems goes beyond a spasm caused by bad reaction to medicine, an injury, or allergies.
If a pet owner has narrowed down the possibilities for their dog’s chronic spasms and ruled out the possibility of seizures or epilepsy, it can be almost certainly concluded that the dog is experiencing some kind of pain that causes the spasms and this pain can range anywhere from temporary with no long term risks to a life threatening condition. So at this point, even though you may be relieved to know your dog does not have a condition that causes seizures, the canine friend still needs some veterinary attention because the list of possibilities goes on and on and in many cases, pet owners can prevent a life threatening condition just by going to the veterinary at the right time.
In conclusion, when a pet owner witnesses a difference in their dog’s behavior and can see that the pet is either undergoing muscle spasms or a seizure, even the dog is a “tough sport” and symptoms such as depression or distress are not apparent, the protocol must be to immediately take the dog to a specialist because there are too many possibilities for a pet owner to make assumptions or even an educated guess.