What toxins cause tremors in dogs? Expert Advice

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There are two important goals when treating toxicosis:

  • Prevent absorption of the toxin (decontamination).
  • Treat the clinical effects of the intoxication.
  • Induction of emesis, gastric lavage, and administration of activated charcoal have all been used to address tremorgenic mycotoxin toxicity. Because of the rapid absorption of penitrem A and rapid onset of clinical neurologic signs, the window of opportunity to safely induce emesis and administer activated charcoal is generally limited.4,9

    As the ability to safely induce emesis and/or give activated charcoal may be limited, gastric lavage may provide some benefit. Patients presenting with severe signs (eg, notable hyperthermia, severe muscle tremors, seizures) may require heavy sedation or even anesthesia to control clinical signs.

    Once clinical signs are appropriately controlled, patient size and time of toxin exposure become important factors in deciding whether gastric lavage should be performed. Radiographs may be useful to assess how much material is in the stomach. The size of the patient dictates the bore of orogastric tube that can be used; recovering food material through a small-bore tube may prove futile.5 Instilling activated charcoal after gastric lavage via stomach tube may be considered but should be weighed against risk for aspiration.9

    Mechanism of Action

    As with many toxins, the exact mechanism of action of penitrem A is not known. However, it is known that its primary site of action is the central nervous system. Most likely, penitrem A has dual roles affecting both inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmission.8

    Penitrem A appears to be rapidly absorbed, with onset of clinical signs starting as soon as 15 minutes after exposure up to several hours later. The dose of penitrem A may affect how quickly clinical signs occur. In one study, mice administered larger doses of penitrem A had faster onset of clinical signs.8

    In most patients, signs resolve within 24 to 48 hours; however, there are rare reports of signs lasting longer. In one patient, mild signs persisted for 7 months, and another patient had signs still present 3 years later.2

    Tremors from Toxins in a Dog (Charley)

    Many things may cause a dog to shiver or tremble. It could be from joy that youre home, or it could be from eating toxic foods.

    What are the most common reasons a dog shivers or shakes? Is treatment necessary? And when should you talk to your vet?

    Dogs shake and tremble for all kinds of reasons — excitement, pain, old age, even nausea.

    Shivering and trembling may be symptoms of something serious — like poisoning, kidney disease, or injury. So, if your dog suddenly starts trembling or shivering, its important to take note of other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, or limping. Then talk to your vet right away.