Jack Russell Shaking

Jack Russell ShakingAs we rack up the months and years living with our pets, we will be more observant, more knowledgeable and more updated about their individual personalities, behaviours and actions.  As such, we are more likely to take the appropriate actions in ensuring the good physical and mental health of our pets.  This is true with the Jack Russell shaking behaviour.

For first-time owners of Jack Russells, the shaking observed on the dog can be taken in two ways.  On one hand, it may just be a normal occurrence as dogs do shake themselves in many ways.  For example, the dog may shake its body after a bath or in order to dislodge something in its head.  In this case, the owner will dismiss the shaking and possibly overlook serious health issues where trembling is a symptom.

On the other hand, the owner may overreact to the shaking of the Jack Russell.  As such, veterinary visits are scheduled, which result in a waste of money, time and effort as well as added stress on the animal when the shaking was found to be normal.  Keep in mind that it is not only the humans affected by being a hypochondriac but the pet, too.

Well, nobody can really blame pet owners for falling into either category as extreme, excessive or abnormal Jack Russell shaking episodes must be looked into. The trick is in initially knowing when the shaking episodes are normal or abnormal, which will lead to more appropriate actions.  With that being said, here are a few of the possible causes and actions when a Jack Russell starts shaking or trembling.

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Separation Anxiety

A Jack Russell may be shaking or trembling all over its body because of separation anxiety, either from its mother as is the case with a puppy or from its owner with both puppies and adult dogs.  The excessive shaking is often accompanied by equally excessive vocalization (barking and howling), excessive salivation and improper defecation/urination inside the house.  In the most extreme cases, separation anxiety can also lead the Jack Russell toward self-mutilation although these cases are relatively rare.

If separation anxiety is the cause for Jack Russell shaking episodes, the following suggestions are highly recommended:

  • Undertake crate training for the dog. Don’t worry as confining a dog in a crate is not a cruel punishment. For canines, the presence of a den – in this case, a crate – provides a sense of security, safety and protection.  Therefore, a crate can significantly lessen feelings of anxiety borne of separation.
  • Undergo basic obedience training.  This way, the dog will be provided with the tools to develop a more stable mindset.

Neurological Diseases

An owner must seek immediate veterinary care for the Jack Russell when excessive shaking and trembling on the rear limbs are observed.  Tests must be performed to rule out neurological diseases where excessive trembling is a tell-tale symptom.  Other symptoms to look out for in neurological disorders among dogs include loss of coordination and balance in cerebral ataxia as well as abnormal behaviour, uncoordinated movements and seizures in hydrocephalus.

The most obvious cause of Jack Russell shaking episodes is epilepsy.  It may surprise humans but the disorder does exist in dogs, of which Jack Russells are not exempted.  As with humans, epilepsy is characterized by sudden attacks of seizures regardless if the environment is peaceful and the dog appears healthy.  Veterinarians diagnose canine epilepsy through physical, neurological and laboratory exams like blood, bile and urine tests as well as thyroid function exams.

Ear Infections

Yet another possible cause of Jack Russell shaking episodes are ear infections.  Aside from the constant shaking of the head, other symptoms include severe scratching of the ears, inflamed ears coupled with an unpleasant smell, and yellowish-blackish discharge from the ears.  Medical treatment is imperative lest the infection spreads to the surrounding area and lead to deafness.

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The treatment options will vary depending on the cause of the ear infection.  For most cases, antibacterial, antiviral or antifungal medications, both oral and topical, will be prescribed.

In conclusion, human handlers must be careful in treating any and all Jack Russell shaking episodes.  When in doubt, it is always best to consult with the professionals like the veterinarian and the dog trainer.  At the very least, you will neither be stressing over nothing nor dismissing serious diseases.