View Full Version : Nervous & Barking

24th October 2010, 01:43 AM
Just wondering if anyone had any advise.

Flash started growling and barking at things in the house that are not there. It seems to only happen at night. Its not dark in the house because I keep a lot of lights on. He did it occasionally at first but now its almost every night. When he does this he will act terrifed of whatever he is barking at. Usually its the carpet or the wall. I will try and show him nothing is there by going over and sitting by the spot he is barking at but he usually just runs and hides in my room for a while.

Its not as often but sometimes he barks at things that have been there the whole time. Like our trash can in the kitchen or the ottoman in the living room. Last night he was sure my son's toy car that was on the floor all day was suddenly invading out house.

What concerns me even more was a few nights ago my son was petting him and he growled. I'm not entirely sure he growled AT my son or if he saw something that made him grown.

Along with the barking at things that are not there I have seen him snap at things that are not there. Usually its just one snap and he runs off like he is hiding from something.

I'm worried the nervous behavior could be from whatever is bothering him and I plan to bring it up the neurologist on Tuesday but I'm wondering if there is something else besides the possible CM/SM that I need to be looking out for.

Thanks for your time!


24th October 2010, 05:22 AM
Hmm, my first thought is: call your exterminator/check your attic. My parents pets sat and stared at the walls for months before they realized they had rats in their attic. Racoons, squirrels, bats, mice or rats could be making noises leading your dog to seem paranoid.

I would certainly bring it up with your neurologist, but I'd still check the house first.

24th October 2010, 05:44 AM
I never thought of that! Our house is really new (only been here 4 months). But I guess some pesky critter could have made a home around our house! I'll have to check around in the morning! I actually really hope that is the case!

24th October 2010, 10:25 AM
I'm so sorry to hear this Shannon - I really hope that perhaps it is just "critters" in the wall - but it does sound like obsessive behaviour - Cavaliers are prone to obsessive compulsive disorders. This can be linked to neurological conditions like Syringomyelia.

If possible, it would be useful to video this for the neurologist - alternatively write down exactly what you are seeing, and any triggers for the behaviour to take with you.

If Flash is in discomfort, that may cause him to growl if petted - for now, I would deter your son from any physical contact with Flash - for both of their sakes. I know it is difficult, but it could avoid a major incident.

Generally a dog growls for a warning, or as you say, because they have seen something. If you tell them off for growling, then they stop giving this warning which can be dangerous. If you search on the forum then you will find links to some excellent sites with more information. HOWEVER in this instance, I think it is more likely to be either him growling at something or being uncomfortable.

Snapping at imaginary things is sometimes "fly catching" - again if you search you will fine more information about this, this is from Dr Clare Rusbridge's site http://www.veterinary-neurologist.co.uk/part3.htm :

My dog had fly catching behaviour is this caused by syringomyelia?
No there is no evidence that this condition is associated with CM/SM although the two conditions could occur simultaneously. Fly catching is thought to be a compulsive disorder. Classically the dog acts as if watching / catching a fly. Some may also behave as if their ears or feet are irritated and some can also tail chase. Compulsive disorders are compared to obsessive compulsive disorders in humans and are poorly understood; it has been suggested in the Cavalier that there is an underlying neurochemical and/or metabolic imbalance. Diagnosis is typically made on the basis of clinical history and elimination of other behavioural, medical, metabolic, and neurological disorders. Compulsive disorders are managed with a programme of training to interrupt the behaviour sometimes combined with drugs such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. High protein diets, i.e. high meat content, tend to make compulsive behaviours worse and conversion to a low protein diet can result in improvement of signs although in some dogs this may be only temporary.

Good luck for Tuesday, please let us know how you get on.

24th October 2010, 06:34 PM
My dog had fly catching behaviour is this caused by syringomyelia?
No there is no evidence that this condition is associated with CM/SM although the two conditions could occur simultaneously. Fly catching is thought to be a compulsive disorder. Classically the dog acts as if watching / catching a fly. Some may also behave as if their ears or feet are irritated and some can also tail chase.

Thanks for the info...

I never realized fly catching could also cause dogs to watch there feet and chase there tail. He does both of those! He even sometimes goes in circles biting at his feet. I knew someone who had a dog that would snap at imaginary things and it seemed totally different then how Flash acts but I'm sure each dog is different.

Here are a few of the videos I plan to show the neurologist. I have a lot more but I want to make sure he sees these first and if time allows and he wants to see more then I'll show him the other ones. I still need to get video of him barking at things that are not there

(The first two are how he acts on a normal day to day basis. The last one is a little more extreme. Its not his worse episode but its worse then normal. He was sleeping on our bed around 2 in the morning and he jumped up with a whimper and went nuts rolling on the bed. After I stopped recording it continued on for another 10 minutes off the bed with him running from one end of the house to another scratching and rubbing.)




BTW: I checked all around my house and don't see anywhere critters could have gotten in. I will keep an eye out though!

Margaret C
24th October 2010, 11:05 PM
Having watched the videos, especially the last, I think it is really good that you are going to see a Neurologist. Thank goodness you held out and arranged to see someone experienced in neurological problems.

The irritation your little boy is experiencing is really intense, and you do need advice from a specialist.

Have you got an appointment booked yet?

25th October 2010, 04:19 AM
Poor little guy is obviously quite distressed, even in the first video. Another possibility is that PSOM or SM may be causing something similar to tinnitus (ringing in the ears), which may be what he's barking/growling about. Although, it could just be pain. Hopefully your neurologist appointment will get you some conclusive answers.

One suggestion, make out a list of all your questions and concerns before going to see the neurologist, it's easy to get distracted by what you're being told, and forget to ask the things you planned to ask. Also bring pen and paper to the appointment, that way you can write down any notes while you're there.

25th October 2010, 05:18 AM
Margaret - We have an appointment on Tuesday. We had to wait a couple of weeks to get in!

For some reason I can't get my other video to load. It showed a lot more of his "bunny hopping" and tail chasing.

I'm really getting nervous myself about going. At first I was hoping that maybe I was seeing things worse then they really were. But now I KNOW they are bad. I can't think of a single day he hasn't had an episode. I have started considering myself lucky if he doesn't have a "bad" day with yelping. If he is awake and you watch him for 5 minutes you are pretty much guaranteed to see him do some kind of scratching, rubbing, hopping etc....

I'm super worried for his long term health. I have head that the younger a dog is affected the worse it usually becomes. He was showing the first symptoms when I brought him home at 12 weeks. I just didn't realize what it was at first.

ALSO... The Cavalier Rescue emailed me the other day. She said that she had just talked to a woman who thought her Cavalier had SM too and it turned out to be Toxoplasmosis....

Has anyone ever heard of that?