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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2015, Article ID 165463, 6 pages
Research Article

Clinical and Breed Characteristics of Idiopathic Head Tremor Syndrome in 291 Dogs: A Retrospective Study

1Department of Clinical Sciences, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM), P.O. Box 334, Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM), P.O. Box 334, Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis
3Veterinary Public Health Institute, Swiss Veterinary Faculty, University of Bern, Hochschulstrasse 4, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
4Department of Clinical Studies, Cornell University, 602 Tower Road, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Received 7 January 2015; Accepted 17 April 2015

Academic Editor: Pedro J. Ginel

Copyright © 2015 Linda G. Shell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To establish signalment and phenomenology of canine idiopathic head tremor syndrome (IHTS), an episodic head movement disorder of undetermined pathogenesis. Design. Retrospective case series. Animals. 291 dogs with IHTS diagnosed between 1999 and 2013. Procedures. Clinical information was obtained from an online community of veterinary information aggregation and exchange (Veterinary Information Network, 777 W Covell Boulevard, Davis, CA 95616) and conducted with their approval. Information on breed, sex, age of onset, tremor description, mentation during the event, effect of distractions and drugs, diagnostics, presence of other problems, and outcome was analyzed. Results. IHTS was found in 24 pure breeds. Bulldogs, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and Doberman Pinschers comprised 69%; mixed breeds comprised 17%. Average onset age was 29 months (range: 3 months to 12 years). First episode occurred before 48 months of age in 88%. Vertical (35%), horizontal (50%), and rotational (15%) movements were documented. Possible trigger events were found in 21%. Mentation was normal in 93%. Distractions abated the tremor in 87%. Most dogs did not respond to antiepileptic drugs. Conclusions and Clinical Relevance. This retrospective study documents IHTS in many breeds including Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and mixed breeds.