Anybody with a pet dog will know just how much a pet pooch can become a part of the family. And when you, your partner, and your kids have attachment to your dog, the last thing that you want is for your dog to feel unwell. A healthy dog is a happy dog, and this is why you need to be on the lookout for muscle spasms and tremors as this could be a signal that something is wrong. And don't feel confused if your young pup is having spasms – this is actually something that's more common in younger than older dogs.
What are muscle spasms?
A muscle spasm is essentially the act of a muscle contracting and then relaxing. Muscle spasms occur because the contraction of the muscles is a way of protecting the muscle from being overexerted and strained. This is the same in humans and in dogs. The good thing about a muscle spasm is that it highlights an underlying condition that your pooch is suffering from so you actually know something is wrong.
How can you tell if your dog is having muscle spasms?
One silver lining with muscle spasms is that they are visible and you shouldn't fail to notice them. They can differ in their intensity, so still keep a keen lookout. Muscle spasms will often occur in the legs so that it looks as though your dog is kicking something imaginary. But muscle spasms could also simply look like small tremors and shakes that can happen all over the body.
Also look out for pacing if your dog doesn't normally pace up and down. This is normal in some breeds, but in others it's a common symptom of back problems that they experience in tandem with shaking.
The causes of muscle spasms in dogs
The causes of muscle spasms in dogs are so various that is very important to seek out veterinary services so that you can identify exactly what the problem is and have it dealt with. For example, a muscle tremor could point to something relatively small such as a side effect of taking a certain drug, or it could point to a much larger problem such as a nervous system disease.
Other causes could include inflammation, low blood sugar, a trauma or injury, a genetic condition, kidney failure, inflammation, exposure to toxins whether plant based or chemical, or a slipped disc in the back.
What can you do for your dog's muscle spasms?
If it's outside of vet clinic hours and you simply want to provide some relief for your dog while they are at home, you can do so in a number of ways. First of all, if you normally take your dog for a walk three times a day, ease up on them. They are experiencing discomfort and they need rest. You can gently massage the affected muscles of your dog to break up that tension, and you could apply an ice pack as hot and cold therapy will also release muscle tension. And also make sure that you keep your dog hydrated.
What can a vet do for muscle spams?
First and foremost, a veterinarian will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis through techniques such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, and MRI scans if necessary. You will only know the underlying cause after these tests, so a trip to the vet is absolutely imperative. The condition can then be treated with medication, therapies, and surgery. During your dog's recovery period, you might also want to try out some non-invasive procedures delivered by canine physical therapists who can relax your dog's muscles and ensure they are as comfortable as possible.