View Full Version : Head Bobbing

6th August 2007, 06:49 PM
Has anyone else experienced this . . .

Sofie, my 4 1/2 month old Cavalier, will start bobbing her head and blinking her eyes and staggers a bit, kind of like a seizure. This will occur for about 5 to 10 seconds, then she is fine. I have taken her to a neurologist, who could not find anything upon a general neurological exam. Today we are having her liver bile levels tested to see if she has liver shunt. If nothing comes of this, it is back to the neurologist for an MRI. The bottom line is right now both my regular vet and neurologist are stumped. This is not normal behavior for SM.

If anyone has heard of or experienced this, please share your thoughts.


6th August 2007, 09:02 PM
There is a condition sometimes called head tremors seen in some dogs, Bulldogs for one, which has been described as bobblehead. I do not know whether it has been seen in Cavaliers or not. Sometimes people will think their dog has epilepsy or is having a some type of seizure but this is different. Not sure if the cause is known. Apparently they can outgrow it. One recommendation is to lightly tap the dog on the head to get his or her attention or to get their attention with something else like a treat or a chew toy to stop the bobbling. You might try a search for head tremors under a canine health website and see if this accurately describes what is happening.

Best of luck. Hope it is nothing serious.

7th August 2007, 11:55 AM
We had a Boxer that used to do this. It was given the label of “idiopathic head tremor”. In plain english, this means head tremor with an unknown cause. We didn't bother going down the path of neurologists as our vet said that it was not uncommon in the breed (& several others), nobody really knew what caused it and in most cases it did not progress into anything sinister. Our girl did not stagger or blink like yours thought, she just had the tremor. They first started when she was about 2 years old, did not cause her any trouble & she lived to a reasonable age for a Boxer.

7th August 2007, 02:19 PM
Hi Marge,

I can't say I've ever personally heard of this in cavaliers. What part of WA state are you from? I grew up in Chehalis (1/2way between Portland and Seattle on I-5) I hope you can find out what it is and it's something simple or something that she can grow out of :flwr:

7th August 2007, 02:37 PM
My 9 1/2 year old Sophie does this as well. just started a few months ago. I assumed it was due to "older age" for her. She definitely has the tremor that you're talking about - she looks like a little "bobble head" pup when she does it. Then a few seconds later, she's up and about. Interesting... I'd never seen this in a dog before either.


Barbara Nixon
7th August 2007, 02:50 PM
I just remembered: Bev, a mod on Dogpages, had this problem with her Deerhound, Darcy. I'll ask her about it.

9th August 2007, 06:30 PM
Just an update on Sofie . . .

We just received the liver bile acids test back and they were slightly elevated, which could suggest a liver shunt. We will be doing an MRI and possibly a liver biopsy to confirm if this is what is going on or if there is a different neurological problem.

I will keep you posted.


9th August 2007, 08:53 PM
Two of my SM affected dogs do have focal seizures, which are very similar to what you describe - however with one of them, the tremor often goes along the spine too, which is distressing for the dog {and for us to watch}. We're told that there's no definite link to SM.

I hope that Sofie will be ok - there is some information and links to epilepsy sites in the health section if that is relevant for you.

10th August 2007, 07:15 AM
I'd have a look at the Episodic Falling Syndrome website as well:


I've heard of people with dogs that have done head bobbing, but not the accompanying seizure like behaviour. I hope you are able to figure out the cause. :xfngr:

13th August 2007, 12:36 PM
Have a look at this thread. It is about myoclonic twitch and may be similar to what Sofie has?

I hope Sofie will be OK

10th August 2014, 02:28 AM
My 7 year old Cavalier has head tremors. She also has cardiac issues. The cardiologist said that tremors are quite common in Cavaliers. He video taped my dog and showed it to the neurologist in the group and he said they are very common unless she starts to have seizures.

Kate H
11th August 2014, 01:37 PM
Aled has had quite severe myoclonic twitches since he was 5 and is now on medication, which has helped. The twitches are caused by tiny electric shocks in the underneath of the brain, which momentarily break the connection between the neurons. If the shocks occur in the top of the brain they are associated with Myoclonic Epilepsy, but Aled has never had a full seizure, just a momentary blanking out. Most neurologists seem to regard myoclonus as a fairly common phenomenon in older Cavaliers, but when we had a discussion about it (on the Companion Cavaliers Facebook page, I think) it was surprising how many seem to have started their twitching around the age of 5. Most are not on medication, because although frequent, the twitching doesn't seem painful; Aled only has pills for it because the bigger shudders did seem to be distressing him. The medication he is on (a human drug called Levetiracetam) has got rid of the big shudders, though he still has small twitches.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

11th August 2014, 05:25 PM
Thank you Kate,
Leo has started having slight twitches on the right side of his face. The vet saw him and didn't appear unduly worried...he said also it could be common.
Leo has no other symptoms, no seizures, blackouts or paralysis....he doesn't seem in the slightest bit worried about them, he shows no signs of pain and it hasn't effected him in any other way.
Im glad I know others have it and its not uncommon.
We just observe him for any other symptoms but fingers crossed at the moment there are none.