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GSD Head Shaking - No explanation

Hi Dr Brown

I have a problem, well my gorgeous GSD does, that has my Vet (and her colleagues) baffled to find a solution for.

Her name is Brisca and she's 5 years old from a reputable breeder, with good breeding lines and has had all the genetic and bone tests as a puppy. I noticed that she seemed to be shaking her head a lot about 6 months ago. I check her over at least every 2 days or so and there was no dirt, wax build up, nothing I could see in her ears, nothing around her head that could be bothering her, no skin irritation, no unusual smell from anywhere...nothing. I noticed that when I touched her around her right ear, she would lean into my hand like she felt good having a scratch but only on that ear.

I took her to my Vet, who's seen her since I got her at 8 weeks. She checked both ears and couldn't see anything in them, no grass seed, hair or anything else foreign. She did a swab and found a very (very) small amount of yeast bacteria so I agreed to a course of anti-biotics to at least rule that out as a cause. After 2 weeks on those and then another 2 weeks to monitor, she was doing the same thing (the dog, not the Vet) ;o)

I had her go under a general so the Vet could completely check and flush her ears out and do a skull X-Ray. Nothing found in her ears and the X-Ray showed everything as normal.

It's been many months now and she's still doing the same thing. She's not scratching at her ear or rubbing it against anything and she does it completely at random - with the exception when she gets a pat around that ear. She's doing it on average about once every hour and only when she's active. If she's just laying around with me, I haven't noticed her doing it. She's an indoor dog with access to a large yard through a doggy door. I've not put in any new plants and there is still no irritation. Her food hasn't changed and is on a diet of raw meat and bones and a homemade mix of rice, meat and veg (many various recipes...she eats better than I do).

The Vet can only come up with an explanation that it could be behavioural but I'm not buying it. She's clearly annoyed by it and reacts when I pat her. I occasional rub just the top of the inside of her ear and she groans and pushes her head into my hand like it's the best thing ever.

She's had anxiety issues since she was attacked twice at the local dog park and after much training and a specialist appointment, she's been on Prozac (2 x 20mg capsules once per day). She's not had any problems on it but after some research, it's the only thing that I could think of that may be causing an issue as one of the rare side-effects can be shaking.

The Vet suggested further MRI and Ultrasound scans but we'd have to go to Sydney to a specialist centre to do it and she estimated the cost into the thousands which is a bit out of reach for me at the moment.

I have 2 major concerns, the first being that there is something seriously wrong either physically or neurologically and that she seems really uncomfortable and that her enjoyment and quality of life is being affected.

Is there anything you could suggest that may help?

Thanks Dr Brown!


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