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Snapping at the air, following invisible flying things
  • Haki has started this very odd behaviour since yesterday afternoon/evening. He is constantly turning around and licking/sniffing his butt, quickly moving his head around looking up as if there are flies dive bombing his head like he is godzilla being buzzed by airplanes on top of the Empire State Building, and occasionally whining / crying out.

    Yesterday we took him on his first big day out and did a nice 3 mile hike up a canyon to a waterfall just north of Malibu. He was a real trooper and eagerly hiked the entire way, including some pretty intense rock scrambling (with a little push up here and there). He even went into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall with me. He slept the drive home and as he was absolutely filthy, had a bath.

    A few hours later he started trying to turn around and lick his butt. I checked for fleas and other insects as well as burrs from the grasses on the trail. No sign of anything. By this morning he was on again, off again doing the same thing , along with his psycho snapping, twitching head from side to side, and sniffing his butt again. He also occasionally chews with his mouth open as if there is a strange taste or something in his mouth - I can not see anything under his lips, or on his tongue.

    He just switched to Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon (which he gobbles up in no time flat) from Natural Balance Puppy. Both are grain free. I am seriously ready to take him back into the vet first thing tomorrow morning.

    Any thoughts?
  • MX1MX1
    Posts: 78
    Not any experience with a Shiba, but with one of my other dogs...

    Could it be water in the ear, either from playing in the pool or the bath?

  • IF it persists you may want to see your vet. That is a symptom of a neurological disorder.
  • MX1MX1
    Posts: 78
    Jessica are you talking about SM?

    I have a Cavi, and I live with that fear everyday. That and MVD.....

    We are starting to get into the years where it starts making itself known

  • nikiniki
    Posts: 118
    Katsumi always does the chewing thing, but not any of the other stuff. As far as I know it doesn't mean anything is wrong, other than being strange...
  • Yeah, I'd take him to the vet, but the thing is, it could be a sign of a OCD, which is not so uncommon in some dogs, and snapping at invisible flies is one of the symptoms.....I hope that's not the case, though.
  • It can be a symptom of OCD, or a form of epilepsy. It is always just a good idea to rule things like that out early.
  • Thank you everyone, we are off to the vet shortly. I will post the outcome here once we have any news.
  • As a thought.....Since it just started with symptoms of air snapping after you were out yesterday.....are you sure he didn't ingest something toxic while in the woods. Algae, mushrooms, pesticides such as bug spray? These can produce symptoms described. So can pinched nerves. Biting of the butt could be fleas or bug bite reaction or constipation from eating twigs grasses or branches.

    Talk to the vet about possibilities...
    Good luck
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2010-09-07 15:31:23
  • Oh no! Yoshi does this all the time. The biting at his tail thing. Not the biting at the air. We'be checked his tail for fleas, ticks, burns, etc. And there's nothing there. Good thing weave a vet visit this weekend.
  • There is also some normal puppy tail chasing, which I wouldn't worry about. It's only if it is constant or seems obsessive that you'd need to worry about it. My girl Shiba is 5 and sometimes still gets caught up in tail chasing, but only every now and then.
  • okay, back from the vet and after checking ears (for water or foxtails), tail, glands, and mouth, the only thing identified is some adult teeth trying to push baby teeth out that are causing discomfort and snapping.... I did ask about OCD and epilipsy, but symptoms are not a match. The visit to the vet was more for me than Haki I think.... Ah, paranoia is horrible. I'll just keep a close eye on him this week. Thanks everyone
  • bobc33bobc33
    Posts: 287
    When Shadow was about a year old we were out for a walk and when he squatted to do his business he got stung in the butt by a bee, and then one of his anal glands burst. He freaked out, understandably, and exhibited the same signs you mention though in addition he was scared and just wanted to hide behind the TV stand or in his crate. The next morning he was fine, though there have been a few incidents where I think just the sight of a fly or bee has created the same response.

    Perhaps Haki got bit by something also?
  • He does like the bees in the yard... I keep telling him he might get stung, but he's at that teenage rebellious stage and knows better than his elders. Seriously, thank you everyone, his first tooth (that I found) came out tonight - one of the molars that could have accounted for the grinding his teeth.
  • I'm back, or rather Haki's odd behaviour is back. He is 5 months old, up to date on vaccinations, is on frontline, eating Blue Buffalo Wilderness Salmon flavor, and beginning to teeth.....

    Something is bothering him, and by extension, freaking me out. He is a bit lethargic today, refusing to go on a walk or even very far on the front lawn this afternoon. He seems to be watching an invisible fly and following its flight as it circles his head. He cries and alternatively sniffs/licks his butt. I can not see any fleas or signs of skin irritation but once this starts up, he can not be distracted with food, toys or a belly rub. Duration can be up to 5 minutes and it occurs with varying degrees of intensity several times a day over the past week.

    Any bright ideas? Anyone have similar experiences? I am ready to pack him off to the vet again tmrw as soon as they open.....
  • No bright ideas except one: is there a veterinary college nearby? Veterinary Hospital University of Pennsylvania (VHUP) is 5 blocks from my house and are far better equipped, both with knowledge and technology, than any vet in the area. Most of the good ones are graduates from there. If ever my vet draws a blank (or gives me an unsatisfactory answer), I'm going there.

    Another question: Did the vet actually witness the behavior? If not, you might want to record it on your cellphone if it can do it. Something could be getting lost in the translation.

    Just thought of one other thing: Could he actually be seeing something? Perhaps something with his eyes? Like sometimes we humans see sparkles in our vision. That can actually be a sign of a possible problem with our eyes.
    Post edited by Kuro_Kai at 2010-09-12 01:31:30
  • Great suggestions - I have recorded the behaviour and also thought that perhaps something was in his eye. In desperation, last night I switched to the original feed his breeder had used and this morning he seems back to his old self. Now I know it is too soon to tell, but I wonder if the Blue Buffalo Wilderness was causing him issues....
  • kwyldkwyld
    Posts: 506
    I agree with Jessica, flybiting can be a symptom of epilepsy, and it can be a behavioral issue as well. I suggest you bring that video to a boarded Neurologist and/or boarded Behaviorist for a second opinion. Here's a helpful link with info about compulsive behavior in pets
    Post edited by kwyld at 2010-09-12 16:39:50
  • Reason i say something occular is the sudden onset and apparent retreat of the symptoms. It's possible something got in his eye. Or, if he truly is seeing something, the symptoms could be related to the vitreous fluid in the eye. We see 'floaters' as the fluid shifts in the eye. And will see them more with a head injury or detached retina (taken enough shots to the head to know this one).

    I can see a dog reacting like this to 'floaters'. Something working on my bikes taught me: eliminate the easy before thinking the hard. I'd rule out vision issues before checking something as complicated as neurological issues.
  • Did you see there is another thread on Blue Buffalo foods? That they have been causing problems in dogs? I didn't read the whole linked vet. journal article, so I don't know what the symptoms of the problem were, but it's probably worth a look, and probably best you switched foods.

    Good luck with this--I hope it is something easy to fix and not a more serious issue.
  • My dog does the snapping at the air. At first I thought he was paranoid or going crazy but I realized there was a mosquito in the room. So now its a warning sign for me that there's a mosquito in the room. I didn't know at first until I kept getting bit and heard a buzzing in my ear.
  • JudyJudy
    Posts: 183
    The Blue Buffalo article had to do with dogs presenting hypercalcemia and test results showing high levels of vitamin D. The symptoms were that the dogs were drinking gallons of water and peeing constantly.
  • He's much improved now that he's been off Blue Buffalo Wilderness for 5 days. Moved him onto ZiwiPeak that only has a few natural ingredients. I'll keep you all posted on any changes. Thank you!
  • Vaaska started a similar behavior two nights ago, and has been acting squirrelly ever since (not sitting still, leaping up and nipping at his backside). He seems to be rather irritated at his tail, and will snap at it, and lick at his butt. He's also become nervous of any physical contact. It could be so many things right now though, that we're not even sure where to begin. I think it might be a nervous tick for him. We're just letting him do his own thing at the moment.
  • Watch out for fleas. Frontline does a small dog / puppy dose. I missed the signs of fleas initially and by the time I realized, Haki had been bitten. As a sensitive dog, it really bothered him and he got a slight infection...
  • Gotta bump this since I'd like a bit of input.

    Ever since bringing Tali home, I notice that she snaps her jaws when she gets really excited. At first I thought it was her being playful since it mainly happens when she sees us or people she really likes. I thought she'd grow out of it however it's remained the same and doesn't really seem to be going away.

    Googling fly snapping syndrome does have me a bit worried since it says it could be some form of seizure. Most of the cases of FSS that I've seen has the dog trying to catch an invisible fly that they apparently "see". However, Tali doesn't really seem to be "catching" anything, more like just snapping her jaws at us when she wants to play or occasionally doing it almost like she has something stuck in her teeth. I can even pretend to air snap and she'd copy me by snapping back herself.

    Here's a small clip of her doing it when my coworker makes little snapping motions to her as well. What do you guys think?

  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8584
    From the video it looks like it is just a play thing... An attention getting. Perhaps she has done it a few times and been rewarded by attention when she was a puppy, and that is now her thing.

    If she starts to do it more randomly or is unable to "snap" (haha... sorry, I could not help myself) out of it when asked, then I would be a bit more concerned.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • @sunyata Haha good one! Thanks for your input, it could very well just be an attention grabbing thing and I hope that's just it. Makes sense since it mainly happens when she's more excited, however I have caught her a couple times just sunbathing and snapping slowly.
  • Kira sneezes for attention like Tali snaps. She specifically stretches for me when she's REALLY excited to see me because I would always squeal or react with how cute she was when she was younger. Smart little devils.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
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  • RikkaRikka
    Posts: 1501
    Sagan can do this once in awhile if you stare at him long enough when he's in a playful mood. It's definitely just attention-grabbing (at least on his end) since it's kind of an idle thing to do. I usually just grab a toy and he'll snap out of it.
    Lauren, living with a 4 y/o Shiba named after a scientist. ☆
  • Otto stretches and sneezes too! And he also shakes. The welcome greetings are a crazy mix of running around, stretching and shaking.

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