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donnalauria55's picture
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My husband and I have a 6 month old red male doberman puppy.  His name is Elias.  His ears were "show cropped" so the wraps are taking much longer than our other three dobies' ear wraps.

My husband put new wraps on his ears early last week.  Couple of days later I noticed his head shaking uncontrollably!  I was horrified.  I went over to him and petted him and kissed him.  It stopped.   But a while later it started again.  I called my husband (who had left for work) and told him what was happening.  He came right home.  He took the ear wraps off, thinking maybe they were on too tightly.  The head shaking stopped.

Unfortunately yesterday morning (Sunday) it started up again.  I went online and discovered a condition called "idiopathic head termors" which apparently is common in dobermans. We are taking him to his veterinarian to be checked but there is a video of a dog with this condition, and he head shakes exactly like our Elias' head.

Has anyone else experienced this with their dobermans?  My name is Donna Lauria and I live in Sharon Hill, PA.

Lady Kate's picture
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Yes.. and you're right, the first time you experience IHT they can be terrifying.

Sofia will get them occasionally and I, like you, came here to this Forum and was comforted by the fact that they are fairly common and not harmful in any way.

Distracting her with a pat, or even a treat seems to stop them right away, but you are wise to get your boy checked out from your vet as although rare, there's an outside possibility of an underlying problem.

Stay calm and try not to "oh poor baby." him too much when they're happening.. but I know how you feel.. scary to watch isn't it..

Welcome to the Forum Donna. We're all here to help as much as we can. But keep in mind when in doubt check with your vet.

Katie Sofia and Bella from sunny Mexico

donnalauria55's picture
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Katie,

Thanks SO MUCH for your comments.  It IS comforting to know that there are other dobie parents going through this.  I'll keep posting!

It is pretty normal and not something to be concerned about at this point.  Most Dobermans will stop if distracted with a treat. They usually don't even realize that they are doing it.

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Elias has not experienced a head tremor in 2 days.  I am hoping and praying that they stop completely.

We are getting him off of Iams puppy food and slowing changing the food over to Wellness puppy large breed.  Wellness has a solid reputation for high quality pet foods.  The morsels are nice and large and even his stool is much better already.

I will keep updating every few days!

donnalauria55's picture
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I am even happier to report that Elias has not experienced any "head tremors" in 5 days
!  We have begun weaning him off of Iams and onto Wellness puppy dry food.  You know the phrase - "Achim's Razor":  The most obvious explanation is usually the right one.  I don't believe in coincidence, but could the Wellness food be making a difference already?

I also have a question about ear wrapping:  Elias' ears were cropped very long (show crop) so they are taking forever to completely stand.  His right ear still flops at the very tip.  Does anyone have a solution for that?

Thank you!

babyoss's picture
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Hi donnalauria55,

 

Yes I recommend using breathrite strips to help strengthen the tips of the ears.  I use them for my boy because he has the long show crop as well and his ears still need help...he's almost 1 1/2years old now.  Below is a pic if to show you where the breathrite strips are put.

babyoss's picture
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Forgot to mention we didn't start using the breathrite strips until he was about a year old...we posted his ears until then to make sure the bases of his ears were good and strong.

donnalauria55's picture
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babyoss,

Thank you SO MUCH for this tip!  We will try this ASAP.  And it's only the right ear on Eias!

babyoss's picture
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Your welcome!  We also use Osto-bond on the inside of his ears, let it dry for a minute and then put the breathrite strips on...this helps the strips stay on for a good week to 2 weeks before having to redo them.

donnalauria55's picture
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Hi baby's

Have a question.   Do u put the breathe right strips on your boy's ears under the wraps or on the ears without the wraps?

 

babyoss's picture
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You should put the breath right strips on the ears without any wraps or posts...just by themselves...but you want to make sure the ears are ready for just the breath right strips...if the ears still need to be posted or wrapped you should wait to use the breath right strips.

donnalauria55's picture
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Got it!  Thanks again!

My husband did another wrap last night.  We will leave the wraps on for 7 days and then we'll try the breathe right strips. 

Sarajune's picture
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We do the same thing with the strips. Lol

donnalauria55's picture
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Well, going on 7 days without any head shaking.  I am praying real hard that these tremors don't return!!!

 

 

Sgourle's picture
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Great to hear, best wishes for you and your boy

donnalauria55's picture
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Thank you Sgourle!

donnalauria55's picture
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Hello doberman parents!

Great news - still no head tremors with Elias.  Almost two weeks now.

We tried the breathe right strip on his right ear all by itself but wasn't working too well.  The right ear tip is bending inward!

My husband James wrapped his ears again last night - he put a breathe right strip on his ear tip first and then wrapped.  Hopefully this will help.

I really really wish he had told the breeder not to have his ears done.  Or - a "bell" crop had been done instead of the long show crop.

The long show crop is worth the effort - it is the most beautiful crop. The shorter wider "bell" crop is not very attractive on a Doberman IMHO

donnalauria55's picture
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Our other three boys have bell crops - they are not unattractive at all.  But I respect your opinion, Fitzmar.

And, unfortunately, Elias had another head tremor last night.  He went 2 weeks without any and now it occurred again.  Hopefully they won't occur very often if they have to occur at all.

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Personally, I prefer a bell/medium crop to a show crop any day.

Hope your boy's tremors are something he will outgrow.

donnalauria55's picture
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DJ's dad - thank you!!!   I also prefer the bell crop to show crop.  Our breeder in Russell, Kansas (we got Zuriel & Maxi from her) said that she's never seen such a long show crop in her years of breeding dobermans.

 

donnalauria55's picture
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We used a breathe right strip on Elias' right ear under the wrap.  Working like a charm!

Will still need a couple of more wraps (perhaps 3) but the right ear is standing much better with the breathe right strip on it.

Will keep posting on updates!

babyoss's picture
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So glad to hear :)

donnalauria55's picture
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Thanks "babyoss"!  You are a gem!

Lady Kate's picture
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I love the look of a show crop.... on a show dog..

It's so important to have the ears shaped in accordance to their heads and bodies, that's why an expert surgeon skilled in this artistry is necessary.

I'm not sure I would have the patience to keep posting and worrying over the crop.. ESPECIALLY a show crop which can take up to a year PLUS to stand properly..

@ Donna... as long as Elias checks out fine with his vet, please try not to worry about the head tremors.. I know.. easier said than done.. I check Sofia every day for them.. so who am I to talk??

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Lady Kate - Thank you for your post!  I appreciate your input.  I totally agree with you - show crop is tough and a long, long process.  I personally think Elias' ears are TOO long. I wish my husband had listened to me and told the breeder to leave his ears alone.  So what if they would have been natural and floppy!

As for the head tremors - I can deal with once in a while.  I'm starting to think it's stress related.  And I am partly to blame if it is.   I am constantly chastising him.  I keep forgetting that he's just a puppy boy.   It's been 7 years since we've had a baby dobe in the house!   Of course he probably thinks he's doing everything wrong.  I've stopped myself from doing that as much as possible.  All he wants is acceptance and love!!!

When we brought Elias home, the other three boys looked at him, and then looked at us as if they were saying "Oh NO, not again!!!".

Lady Kate's picture
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Elias is a STUNNING boy and just you wait til he's all grown up.. it will be so worth the efforts your putting in.

If your older two could roll their eyes, they probably would.. 

For the longest time, when we first got Bella.. she thought her name was " No."

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LOL.  That's hysterical!!!   We actually have three older boys!  Lucius, Maximus, and Zuriel.   Our first boy - Romulus - was a red male.   When Romy was 7 years old we had a lump removed from his side.  The doctor said it was completely benign.   Two weeks later his right hind leg blew up to almost three times its normal size.  We took him to another vet that we use who has a lot of knowledge of the breed.   She referred us to a clinic for a biopsy.  Turned out he had sarcoma - an aggressive form of cancer. 

To say that we were devastated is such an understatement.  My husband is still not over his death.  It's been 2 years so we felt we were ready to introduce another puppy into our lives.

Elias has Romulus as his middle name.

In hindsight we never should have had the lump removed.  Baceteria spreads during surgery.  We are not doubting that the doctor who performed the surgery was correct in saying that the lump was not cancerous.  We should've left him alone - perhaps we would still have him.   But then, everything happens for a reason, right?  If we still had Romy we wouldn't have Elias.

Now, Lucius - our 8 year old black male - has two little lumps on his body.  Unless there is a drastic change in these lumps, or if his health declines in any way, we are leaving him alone!

Lady Kate's picture
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Wow Donna.. how horrific!! So very very sorry you all went through such a devastating loss.

I know this is a little off subject... but just a little.. We live in Mexico and the vets here run the gamut from spectacular to almost non existent.. We happened upon one who literally saved Sofia's life by the 'less is more' idea. He took Sofia off her huge does of thyroid meds.. ( dropped it by 3/4) put her on a no sodium diet of chicken, brown rice, and green beans.. lots and lots of green beans. ( I do add meat once a week sometimes fish, or eggs for variety along with supplements of vitamins and Brewer's yeast)

Not only did she lose twenty pounds of fluid around her heart and lungs, that horrible gagging cough that sends terror through the hearts of anyone with a dog with DCM disappeared.She has slowed down a tad but she is still playful and happy at 10 years old.

Our wonderful vet states that putting a dog with DCM on meds can prolong their lives by a couple of years... but keeping them on a natural and non-medicated diet can give our girl at least four more qualitive years... so even though her heart is twice the normal size.. no fluid, no lasix and no side effects.  I would never recommend this to anyone who has faith in their vets and their course of action.. but I do know it has worked for us.

Hindsight, my love is always 20/20.. We do what we feel our pets need at the time.

Here's a photo of our  Sofia ( who not only has her own Face Book Page.. is the author of her own book.. Life With a DoberDiva) teaching Bella the Terrier-ist not to bite...

 

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Oh my goodness!  What a wonderful story!  And she is GORGEOUS!!!  She looks just like our Zuriel - he is a fawn dobe.  Is she a fawn?  She looks it.

I have to get her book!!!   I have a book published as well.  It's called "C.B. Says".  Collection of short stories, narrated by our precious kittie Clara Belle (C.B. for short).

Clara Belle left us several years ago - at the ripe age of 16.  She had a long, great life with us.

The stories are about the boys getting into "real life" situations that are very funny.  Sold on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

Lady Kate's picture
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Thank you Donna... Yes, Sofia is a fawn ...and a she is a lovely girl. And our book is also from her point of view..

Getting inside the mind of your pets and letting them tell you stories is such fun... am going to run over to Amazon RIGHT NOW and get a copy of C.B. Says.. Can't wait to read it..

P.S. are you on FaceBook? We are... come find and friend Katie O'Brian-Robles

and Sofia DoberDiva..

 

 

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OOO Donna.. You're sold out!!

I just tried to order a copy of your book and Amazon said "It's temporarily out of stock."

Do you have a copy I can buy??

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Oh my!  Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the book.  Well, I do - but it's the first copy off the press, and not for sale.

Try Barnes & Noble's website, and Borders.  I may have to contact the publisher and renew my "membership dues" with them.

I will send a friend request on both facebook pages to you.  My page is Donna Marie Lauria.

What's the name of Sofia's book?

donnalauria55's picture
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Head tremors started up again with Elias.  No major ones - just a couple of mild ones.  I am convinced that they are somewhat stress related.

He is now eating more Wellness puppy food than Iams.  I can handle the tremors better now, knowing that they are more common in dobermans than I thought.

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Wish I knew what caused them Donna.. I guess that's why they're called Idiopathic.. no one does.. but even being aware that they're not harmful.. I still hate to see them when they occur. Hope the Wellness works for you.

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Me too Kate.

Thanks!

Joined: 2014-07-08

My husband and I just came across the conversation about "Idiopathic Head Tremors" and were very comforted to know that they are common and harmless. We just experienced this in the second of our three Dobies. We have three 1-1/2 year-old Dobermans from the litter of 10 that we had here at home in July 2013. The red male, Captain, had these tremors several months ago. We kept a close eye on him and it hasn't happened since. His sister, Karli, just had them today and we went straight to this website. Such a relief to find this discussion!

It's interesting that you also are talking about cutting the ears and tails for show. I had heard that this was no longer being done, but it seems that's not correct. I will have to check with my source to find out where she heard that.

I never planned to show my Dobies anyway and their ears are cute and floppy and their tails curl up. Their parents were cropped, though, which made it easier to tell them apart from a distance when they got big.

I am going to look into finding these two books. Thanks again for helping us get peace of mind on these very scary tremors.

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You are very welcome.   Eiias had another tremor this past weekend.   Not too severe but lasted almost 3 minutes.   Always seems to occur when his ear wraps are in - never when we remove the wraps. Something to think about

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Update on Elias' head tremors:

It's just so strange!  He hasn't experienced any "tremors" in about 3 weeks.  Prior to that - he had them over 2-3 days.  Then suddenly - nothing.

Still think they could be stress related.

He is growing into such a handsome boy!  9 months old now.  He'll be getting neutered soon.  My husband doesn't really want to do that, but we have no intentions of mating him, and it's healthier for him.

He is EXTREMELY protective.  His bark makes me jump!  Very deep  -  as if it starts in his stomach.

 

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Donna.. I think you  might be right about stress related IHT..

Sofia had one the other morning,, it was cold and she was shivering a bit and I did the all the wrong things.. .. I went into my fish wife zone:

" Oh poor sweetie... are you cold.. ??? Here.. let me put your sweater on..MIKE!!!  this girl has thinning hair.. we've GOT to keep her bundled when the temperature drops to a bitter 68 degrees... lalallallalla!!"

Meanwhile La Diva is taking all this attention in,, shivering as if we booted her outside into a snow drift.. and it became a full blown IHT..

'The more attention given a stressful situation the worse it becomes.' At least that's what I've read on this Forum and others from people who have had more Dobermans than I. I am sure they're right.. I just can't seem to ignore anyone in distress.

Treats ( just a bit of kibble) has always worked immediately to stop the tremors.. but ya know what? They still make me uncomfortable..

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 snug as a bug in a rug so adorable!

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Awwww - she looks so content!!!

Elias is well adjusted, happy in our household, he has good weight, he's healthy (thank God) and notoriously naughty!!!

Other than these tremors ... he's perfectly okay.

As of this Sunday he will be eating solely Earthborn adult dry food.

Also seems like the less puppy food he's eaten the longer he goes without any tremors.

Who knows that the trick is!!!

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June 15th, 2015:

Elias' head tremors have subsided in frequency - thank GOD.  He still experiences one every now and then but they are few and far between.

A newer situation has emerged with his eating habits.  While transitioning to another hotel in Newark, Delaware, Elias became very "finicky" with his dinner.  He would sniff, walk away, come back, walk away again.  He wouldn't eat until 8:30, or 9pm.  All I care about is that he eats - regardless of the time.  However, I was curious as to why he started this behavior.

I realized that my routine had changed and he was resisting.  While working at the Comfort Inn @ the Phila. Int'l. Airport, I was home by 5pm every day.  Also - I would share noon time "potty breaks" with our pet sitter.  She would take 2-3 days a week and I would take one day a week. (My husband is off on Mondays so that day is covered.)

Now that I'm working in Delaware (we live in Sharon, Hill, PA) my usual arrival time home is 5:30pm, or a little later.  Our pet sitter had to take on 4 days a week because I obviously cannot "pop home" at lunch time.  Because of the changes in MY schedule I think Elias was feeling insecure.  I don't think he adapts to change very well.

Since I've readjusted my schedule he has started eating again with interest in his food.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays I leave the office around 1:00 to do outside sales calls.  I quit by 2:30-3:15 and I'm home by 4:15 at the latest.  This seems to be working well.  Our older 3 boys are used to our comings and goings and different times and on different days, but Elias seems to need more "structure".

I believe he now has it!

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yayaya sounds like you are aware of what your dog needs and are very alert to the subtle changes indicating you need to make a change to prevent unwanted behavior kudos on being that alert I wish alot more people would pay close attention to their dogs and cats.....

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Tailsin - thank you very much for the kind comments.  My husband and I are VERY "tuned in" to their behavior and any changes - subtle or otherwise - in their temperments, eating habits, etc., etc.

You are right about pet owners needing to be more aware of their "furry" kids' well being.  Just like normal children and babies.

Now this morning Elias was acting "finicky" again with his food.  My husband got him to eat - by putting tiny pieces of baked potato chips in his food!!!   NOT recommended by any stretch, but I hate seeing any of our boys go without eating one of their meals.