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    Dog episodes of uncontrolled licking and gulping
    maxthedogg posted:
    Hi all,

    I am interested in any information on a condition my Male, 3 year old, Blue Healer/Lab mix appears to be developing. Over the course of the last 2.5 years Max has had occasional episodes where he starts swallowing and licking uncontrollably. The frequency of these episodes has steadily been increasing from once every 6 months, to 4 months, and most recently twice in 3 months, with a lingering yawning/gulping still not going away although not as dramatic as in the past.

    These typically start in the evening, very dramatically, and he will run to where ever I am (sometimes wake me up) as he is obviously concerned and looking for help. It would appear he has something stuck in his throat or on the back of it and every few licks will be followed by a gulp (sometimes to the point where it almost sounds like a quack he is swallowing is so hard!) When it first happened he was walking around the house panicked licking what every he could find off the floor, We now go outside and he proceeds to eat grass rapidly if summer or in the winter eat snow. I have literally sat by him feeding him grass, and he will just keep eating it. This intense gulping will last 5-15 minutes with lessening intensity. (He does not throw up after eating the grass, as one would expect he will gag/hack sometimes) We then typically come back in the house and he will lie down and appear to (gulp/hiccup) every minute or so off and on. Sometimes he can get to sleep with the occasional hiccup, other times he lies half awake hiccupping every minute or so. This pattern will continue just about every 2 hours for the whole night and usually into the next day, eventually disappearing by evening.

    Most recently the episodes have been increasing in frequency (twice in the last 3 months) and the lightest form of the condition appears to be lingering. Since the last episode he still has a big yawn, followed by a light swallow every 15 minutes or so.

    So what have I done thus far to figure this out?

    I have been to multiple vets, many say without seeing the gulping in action they can't help and some have "heard" of similar conditions or examples but none have an idea about what could be causing it specifically. We are currently working through the Gastro intestinal check list trying to see if it is GI related, but it does not seem to be the case. If and when we do a scope and it comes up negative we move to neurological?but for symptoms not a diagnosed illness?.not ideal

    I realize I am looking for a "smoking gun" that may or may or may not be there, however I am curious to hear if others have any experience with this and if there was an identified cause?

    As for things I can control. I am switching him back to grain-free diet now going with Natural Balance LID (Bison/Sweet potato) and away from the Cal. Natural Chicken and Rice I have had him on the last few months. I made the switch as I was told that it is a very easy on the stomach (GI) and he has only been worse. I also have stopped giving him the "dogswell dried chicken treats" he adored and his all time favorite "greenies". Recently I was wondering if he could have a fowl allergy, as he had a flare up when he was switch to a food with Duck in it a year ago? Another idea was dust, but it is hard to identify, I was also thinking dry air as its been worse in the winter? The first round of medication from the vet was just Pepcid AC but he had a flare up just 3 weeks after starting it. Now we are on to Omeprazole/prilosec but not until we make the food transition so we have some kind of steady state.

    His appetite is fine, stool is fine, he is full of energy, he does not appear to be drinking as much water as he used to, but still drinks regularly???

    Any help/insight/ideas are welcome!

    Maxthedogg, VT
    Home2strays responded:
    Honestly, to me atleast, it sounds like a collapsing trachea but usually that is in smaller dogs (my bichon and shihtzu both do it) its kind of like a quacking sound and they stick thier necks out. Nothing dangerous just annoying and nothing really to do about it. You can usually get them to do it by pushing on the underside of thier necks (along the trachea) That being said- it may not be. Try and keep a camcorder ready and hopefully he'll do it again where you can get it on tape. good luck!
    otmeister responded:
    have a puggle which does the same thing and have never got 1 unique answer.i give him amouthfull of childrens benadryl not sure if it doesalot of good.another puggle owner took his dog to the emergancy room and they precribed anti biotics 1500 dollars later he still cannot tell me what it was.
    maxthedogg replied to otmeister's response:
    but is it gone?
    DogloverIam replied to maxthedogg's response:
    I have a shih tzu that does the same thing. I have not been able to get any answers from my vet either. If you do get a definitive answer, do tell.

    @ otmeister: did the antibiotics resolve the issue?
    Home2strays replied to otmeister's response:
    benadryl probably wouldnt do a lot of good- it just helps with allergies like itchiness, not respiratory. The case of the er one may be that he had a collasping trache and also had a respiratory infection, making it worse, would be a reason to put him on a.b.'s. antibiotics themselves arent going to fix it (please read my above post) : )
    ssgtdilks responded:
    My blue healer/terrier mix started doing the same thing about 45 minutes ago and it has finally subsided for the most part with some licking and gulping every now then. Have you found a diagnosis for this issue yet or anything that helps it?
    Home2strays replied to ssgtdilks's response:
    just got to thinking- it also could be post nasal drainage
    Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS responded:
    While there are several things that might be associated with the behavior, your description of the timing of these leads me to think of seizures as the most likely cause. The fact he seems to know they are coming on is typical of a seizure. People generally think of a seizure as the dog falling down and going rigid. That is not always the case. Any part of the brain can be affected and the part affected determines the clinical presentation. It would be helpful to your veterinarian if you can get a video of the behavior as it happens, because, I don't care what behavior is happening, it never occurs when you want someone to see it specifically.

    Talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of seizures for their workup to see if s/he thinks anti-seizure medication might be tried. I hope you will find a way to control the problem to give your dog, and you, some relief from the associated anxiety.
    carmenhc responded:
    My young YorkiePin does this, too!

    Hi, Max! I rescued a Yorkie Pin pup, born in August. One day, I thought she was hot laying on the tile, but then I saw that she was drooling and limp (not rigid, as Dr. Beaver points outcan happen) with her tongue hanging out. I took her to emergency where they did xrays and cbc with only an elevated ALT (liver fx) which they said might just be due to her growing bones.

    All this to say that the only thing he thought was wrong was that perhaps she had epilepsy or a seizure disorder. This specific episode never happened again, and I assumed that she had made herself sick on our peace lily (dangerous to dogs, I learned later on.)

    Fast-forward several months and just this morning (and at random other times), she has done the gulping thing as you describe. I never thought this was seizure because my pure bred Min Pin (also a rescue) has done this before and he never had a seizure that I knew of! I know I don't have an answer, just sharing a similar experience.

    Please let us know if you get to the bottom of this. (Perhaps I should have her re-evaluated for something I thought was scarier for me than for her!)

    To Max from Piper in MS, take care!
    carmenhc responded:
    My young YorkiePin does this, too!

    Hi, Max! I rescued a Yorkie Pin, born in August. One day, I thought she was hot and laying on the tile to cool off, but I saw that she was drooling and limp (not rigid as Dr. B. mentioned is possible) and her tongue was hanging out. I took her to emergency where they did xrays and cbc with only an abnormal, elevated liver fx which they said might just be due to her bony growth.

    All this to say that the only thing he thought was wrong was that perhaps she had epilepsy or a seizure disorder. This never happened again and I assumed that she has made herself sick on our peace lily (very bad for pups, as I learned later on.)

    Fast-forward several months and just this morning at 4 a.m. (and at random other times), she has done the gulping thing as you describe. She has continued eating the same food, small breed puppy by Natural Choice.

    I never thought this was seizure because my eldest dog, also a rescue, a pure bred Min Pin has done this before! Perhaps, I should get her re-evaluated! I keep thinking that I may be over-reacting since that oldest dog is an insulin-dependent diabetic. But, perhaps, I may be under-reacting since I am more seasoned with having a sick baby, or two. If you learn anything, could you please pass it on to the rest of us?

    Sincerest thanks from pint-size Piper & Mom in MS!
    TenajUK replied to Bonnie Beaver, BS, DVM, MS's response:
    Hi I just read your reply and I'm interested and just wanted to add a comment - because my Epileptic dog was having episodes of this in the 4 years before his first grandmal seizurers - he till has episodes of these gulping/hic-up/throat spasms - he's doing it right now. Also episodes of anxiety and hyper sensitivity. I had wondered for some time if these were partial seizurers. He gets really worried and clingy a little like the unrest they have during a cluster - Sometimes the gulping episodes fade away, sometimes they lead into a full blown GM cluster. So it could be partial seizurers.
    maxthedogg responded:
    Hi everyone,

    So here is the latest. I changed his food to Non-Chicken (Bison, Venison) and Grain free. I am currently feeding Natrual Balence Limited ingredient diet. It has been 4 months since an episode! Here is to hoping he was allergic to chicken, I'll check in in about 6 months if he is still clear!
    Byroney_WebMD_Staff replied to maxthedogg's response:
    Welcome back, Maxthedogg, and thanks for the update. You must be so relieved that there have been no further episodes since the diet change.

    Hope you have good news for us the next time you check in, too!

    Every dog has his day - but the nights are reserved for the cats ~ Unknown
    ROBISL replied to maxthedogg's response:

    Have there been any episodes since changing his food?


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