Monday, November 24, 2008

Where, Oh Where, Has My Little Dog Gone?

Not to worry - they're all safe and sound in their beds tonight, but it does seem that my youngest, my boy, has taken leave of, himself.

Here's how it happened. Last weekend, I went away to visit a friend. I left on Saturday, and returned Monday evening to warm, furry welcomes from all my four-legged charges. We all went to bed content that night, but sometime in the wee hours, my boy Harvey woke us all with a horrible squeal - the sound a dog makes when you step down hard on its tail. It was followed by many more just like it. We checked him over, and he didn't seem hurt, but he was extremely anxious. He paced the house for hours, trembling and whining. He wanted to be near me but wouldn't let me touch him. He wanted no part of going back to bed. He spent the rest of the night wandering the house with his tail tucked under and ears flat, shaking like a leaf. This incident has repeated itself, with varying degrees of severity, every single night for a week.

The trip to the vet was prompt, but the results were inconclusive. The Doc was perplexed and could only think that perhaps it was a seizure (not all that uncommon, apparently). He sent us home with Phenobarbital and instructions to dispense at the onset of another "episode". We find this a bit hard to swallow, as we've witnessed nothing at all that looks like a seizure, nor any of it's side-effects. There has been no involuntary movement, no collapsing or loss of consciousness, he's never unresponsive. This happens every night, roughly between the hours of 3:00 am and 6:00 am, only when Harvey is sleeping. After Monday he abruptly changed his entire sleep habit. He gave up his normal position on our bed and began huddling in the very corner, at the post, poised to fall off the bed at a moment's notice. He eventually gave up on the bed altogether, and began sleeping on blankets on the floor. Without fail, even after the most sleepless of nights, when his feet hit the floor in the morning it is as if nothing ever happened. This is a complete and utter mystery to us.

We don't like to, but we've broken down and begun giving him the Phenobarbital. It seems to be the only hope any of us have to get some rest. He's only just over a year old, my Harvs, and is a busy, energetic boy. You'd never know it now. Between the lack of sleep and the barbiturates, he spends his waking hours in a slow daze. Oh, he still wants to play, but when I throw the ball, he gives chase in a listless and leisurely manner, and not too many times before he tires out or loses interest. His raison d'etre has always been to run circles around his sisters in the evening, barking excitedly and trying to entice them to play. Now he just can't be bothered.

It's heartbreaking to see him this way, but equally so to hear him cry out in the night. We really don't know what happened, or what to do. I just want my dog back, hyper and all. I miss that spastic little bugger.


  1. Maybe he has a pinched nerve and gets into a particular position while sleeping during those hours of the night to set it off.

  2. There's an alternative to PB. I think its called potassium bromide? Its a salt of some sort and supposedly will cause less of the drunken/grogginess you are seeing right now. You might want to look into it.
    My dog is 13 and has been having grand mal seizures about once a month for the past 2 years. (We still don't know for sure why) He has never had fits of yelping/howling/barking like you are describing.
    I think I would try going to another vet for a 2nd opinion in your case, especially since your dog is still so young.

  3. Could something have happened to him while you were away?Did you leave the house at that time of the morning for your weekend trip? Is there a sound or something that happens in the middle of the night that he could be associating with past pain or fear?

    That sounds wacky, for sure, but young dogs do easily make negative associations. The ears back, tail under, and shaking sounds like a fear response.

    I think I've watched too many dog whisperer episodes!

  4. is he eating and using the bathroom like normal? it almost sounds like stomach pain. that just doesn't make sense.