Stiff Jack Russell
Reader Question: What Causes My Jack Russell To Suddenly Become Very Stiff?
My jack Russell once in a while has these episodes that she gets very stiff and cannot stand up, she gets a shaky and her jaw is tight and her eyes are wide open. I’ve learned the best thing to do is to carry her carefully outside and hold her until it passes (usually a few minutes). Then afterwards she has to urinate, vomit, and pass loose stool.
After all that she is fine other than she is tired the rest of the day. Can u please tell me what this is and what causes it? And is there anything I can do to help her. And will these episodes shorten her life? She is 7years old and it started a couple of years ago. She is a very happy house dog. Any information will be appreciated. Zoe is my life and I love her very much!!
Thank You.Veterinarian Gives Possible Explanation For Reader's Question Regarding A Jack Russell That Freezes up
I can’t say with certainty what is going on with your dog, but based on your description and your dog’s age one of my top rule outs would be seizures as a result of idiopathic epilepsy. You should certainly have your dog examined by your veterinarian and talk with him or her about exactly what you are seeing, how long the episodes last, and how frequently they occur.
The way that I deal with epilepsy in dogs is to take a wait and see approach as long as seizures are occurring infrequently (maybe monthly) and are relatively mild (e.g., last for less than a minute or so). The reason I do this is because dogs don’t really suffer during seizures, and their lives aren’t significantly affected by them as long as they are mild and infrequent. If, however, the seizures start occurring more frequently or are lasting for a long period of time, then I do recommend using a seizure control medication like phenobarbital and/or potassium bromide. Once started, treatment for epilepsy generally needs to continue for the rest of the dog’s life.
Jennifer Coates, DVM