Sudden unexpected onset of Anxiety (shaking) - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 12-13-2015, 12:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sudden unexpected onset of Anxiety (shaking)

My four year old (soon to be 5) female GSD comes from a reputable breeder, strong, confident, playful, brilliantly intelligent, loving, socialized and well trained. Two weeks ago for no reason (in evening) she started shaking as if having a panic attack - very fearful and glued herself to my leg. She followed me everywhere - ears back and trembling.

I called the vet and they suggested 3 25mg benedryl to get through the night - that worked. They suggested medication if this continues. To be frank, I have had 4 GSDs and this is odd behaviour I have never experienced with this breed. A very strong confident dog suddenly becomes paranoid fearful and trembles - I worry about her heart if this continues.

The incident passed and then a few days later it started up again - at night as it did before. Only this time she was afraid to get in our bed and slept in the bathroom on the floor,which isn't far from our bed.

Yesterday we were visiting a friend who has two dogs that have been playmates since they were very young - best friends. Emma feels at home there as if it is her second home. After about an hour she suddenly started shaking and came to me in panic. We took her inside and my friend suggested a thundershirt - we put one on her and she finally fell asleep.

Last night, same day, I went to bed with her to watch a movie and she fell asleep in pure bliss! When I went downstairs to collect the rest of my family for bed she suddenly changed. When i returned to my room she was trembling. I put the thundershirt on her and tried to calm her ... she eventually fell asleep -but this life of her keeping me up all night is affecting my health.

What happened? What can I do? I bought her a collar that releases some kind of a smell only dogs notice when they are afraid.. it will take a few more days for that to take affect. I'm not sure the thundershirt is working but most importantly these are things I am doing to treat the symptoms. What about this behaviour? She is a healthy GSD - fit, trim, excellent diet, exercised daily ... when she isn't trembling she is happy and alert.

At first we thought it was a mouse because we live in a house near a field and occasionally get mice. But when she experienced this attack at my friends i ruled out mice.

Last edited by debsilverman; 12-13-2015 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would get a full blood workup and physical. There are so many things that could be going on. There is a clearly a reason for this and I can't believe the vet just said to medicate without a thorough evaluation. I would want to get to the route cause, not just address the symptoms.
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I find it odd too. Are there any common triggers? Maybe a problem with one of the other dogs? I would completely rule out medical first.
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Old 12-13-2015, 01:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It could be some sort of pain or dizziness she's feeling sporadically.I would have the vet run tests for sure.
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Old 12-13-2015, 01:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think the vet was negligent. at the time of the phone call it had happened once and was described as anxiety. the benedryl as I understand was just to take the edge off and get them thru the night. to prescribe an anti anxiety it would require at the very minimum an exam and likely bloodwork at which time being informed of the additional episodes may lead the vet to a different thought or diagnosis. if I called my vet for what I described as 1 episode of anxiety and they ordered bloodwork right off the bat I'd think that was ridiculous. dogs get spooked. obviously now, at the point we're reading, that isn't the case..... indeed rule out medical OP.

I have had 1 dog who behaved similarly, in response to thunder, lightening, fireworks, etc - sometimes things we couldn't hear but her reactions were identical to that when we were aware of the trigger. sudden onset as well around the same age. unfortunately we never got to the bottom of it but merely managed her symptoms during certain times of year.
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Old 12-13-2015, 02:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The first thing that came to my mind was to wonder if it was storming. Dogs can develop fears at any age, I guess, just like humans. My lab wasn't afraid of storms until he happened to be home alone when a really bad electrical storm hit. He would always get a little anxious after that, sometimes we knew a storm was coming just by his behavior.

However, like others have said, I would also get your girl to the vet. Ruling out something medical seems to be a good first step.
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Old 12-15-2015, 08:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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What ever happened with this issue? I am just wondering.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Sounds like a proper follow-up with the vet with bloodwork wasn't done? I hope I am wrong.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm kind of surprised nobody has suggested a seizure. Dog randomly started trembling? In a panic? No common trigger? I would look for seizures.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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If your vet won't do a blood workup and a physical eval go to someone else. It sounds health related.

Oh. I just saw this is an old thread and the OP never returned.
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