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The Atypical Freakout


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This morning I was awoken by a screaming dog who lunged up on my bed, twirled around, and pinned me down with all his might while crying out. I instantly had no idea what was going on but went to checking him over (even though he insisted I stay down). He was TERRIFIED and I was trying to figure out why. Moments before he was asleep on the floor - it's a Sunday morning, he sleeps in worse than I do on Sunday's.

 

I don't have seizures or anything else wonky with me (that I'm aware of). I'm 24. He's about 1.5 years old. For the first few moments I just assumed I'd goofed up and left on his perimeter collar (invisible fence) accidentally and that it'd become possessed. Checked - nope, I remembered to take it off. With all sorts of effort I peeled him off me, checked him over for any residual pain or issues. He just cowered and looked at me, shaking like a leaf.

 

He refuses to go outside, cowers at the slightest movement of anything, and is now sitting (glued to me) panting and all crazy scared, even shaking.

 

I'd take him to the vet but this didn't act like a seizure in any way (he most definitely was in control and had one intention - lay on mom, she's safe, and cower).

 

Maybe a big ole earthquake on it's way? Anybody else deal with this? I can only think that either he knows something I don't or he had a 'bad' dream.

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WEIRD! He was definitely trying to tell you something. I wonder if you'll ever know what! Nightmare, maybe?

 

In 2006, my dog woke me up in the middle of the night, bizarro barking like there was someone breaking into my house. Turns out it was this explosion, 23 miles away:

 

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/11/22/explosion_rocks_danvers_several_hurt_none_seriously/

 

Mary

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There are types of seizures that can alter behavior but leave the dog able to move and respond to stimuli. They appear to be normal aside from behaving differently for a short period of time before "snapping out of it."

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How atypical is this behavior? Are there things in life that he normally might freak out at? Is he normally pretty stable? Or does he have some fears and quirks? could he have gotten bit or stung by something?

 

Is there anything you can do to take him mind off of whatever is bothering him? games? high value treats? For instance, one of mine hates thunderstorms, but will still play frisbee or clean out a kong stuffed with peanut butter during a storm so I try to distract him with these.

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The anomaly finally revealed itself! And it's slightly depressing - Sully, we believe, has a Broken Wag - also known as "limber tail syndrome," "broken tail," "dead tail," or "cold water tail" (but Sully hates water). A friend of mine, who is a vet, said that's what it sounds like and since it's not bent weirdly or swollen it should heal fine regardless. Sully is part lab (though you'd never know it by looking at him but his father was a 50/50 border lab mix, while mama was a purebred working BC). I suppose I'd be flippin' upset if my tail stopped working too! I'll wrap it and tend to it for a few days. Besides, I'd rather he have a limp tail than no tail at all, which I was warned about by my said pal - that a lot of vets just opt to cut off a tail verses cure a sprain. I'd lose my MIND if someone suggested Sully had to have his tail docked for anything other than a total crush injury...

 

Anyway, Sully's more peeved he can't thump it around like a moron than in pain right now; but the world is not his friend this morning. Thankfully it's not crooked or bent at any weird angle, just useless, and he's okay with me touching it. If this continues or causes him more discomfort I suppose we traveling to the vet clinic for the second time this month. But until then, yeah, he was trying to tell me something... "MOM! It doesn't work!" And I'm pretty sure that's his favorite thing to do... to wag his tail. :(

 

At least he still is insane when the ball appears.

:D

 

PS - I also realize this might have been caused during the freakout verses the reason for the freakout so I'm still keeping an eye on him. He's usually a stable dog; though he's a total pansy deep down. But he's never-ever-ever been this scared and never-ever jumped up and laid on me before.

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I wonder if he could have gotten his tail stuck on something and he went to roll over and pulled it or broke it? I know Missy once broke a toenail while rolling over when she got it snagged in a register :blink:

 

Owww...!

 

Yeah, my Sully's a klutz and I only saw a dog flying at me so I have no idea what transpired on the floor so that's possible. Though, I've checked his tail umpteen times - no kinks, no swelling, no "OMG MOM THAT HURTS!" just a dead drop after a few inches from the base of his tail; if he wags the base, it wags but not like that beautiful swish he usually has... and the little whip of an upturn his tail has, that carriage of the tail, is just not there! But I'm not finding anything that sends him to the moon when I feel it, I know he'd let me know if he hurts, and he's just irked at the tail. He's taken to growling at the people walking down the street (as he watches from the upstairs bedroom) and growling at his tail, then falling asleep laying over my knees (since we're both playing the Lazy Sunday card in bed right now).

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It does sound like "cold tail," or even a basal sprain, are likely culprits.

 

Cold tail will resolve itself, it just takes patience.

 

Tail sprains near the root seem to be acutely painful. I had an [English] Bull Terrier bitch who sprained her tail right at the base, probably while digging a nest in her blankets in an open wire crate. Apparently she backed her butt up against the wires, got her tail through a gap, and gave herself a mighty wrench. (She wasn't the brightest bulb but when she embarked on a project she gave it her all.) I didn't see it happen so I'm guessing a bit, but it seemed clear based on her subsequent actions. Anyway, she came and found me. She was clearly anxious and in pain but I thought it was a stomach issue, possibly even poisoning. (She was hunched up in the middle with her abdominal muscles clenched, shuddering intermittently, tail clamped to her body, panting.) This was decades ago. I hauled her directly to the vet. When my vet went to take her temperature (the old fashioned way, with a rectal thermometer) and gently raised her tail, the dog screamed, poor thing. (And well she might.) That clued us in. The bitch got over it in a couple of days, with the help of some anti-inflammatories.

 

One other possibility to consider -- do you have any smoke/carbon monoxide/etc. detectors (say, in a remote part of the house) which might need new batteries? The darned things always start going "peep" randomly at oh-dark-hundred (when the house is coldest and batteries are barely hanging in there) when they're getting marginal. I had an older friend whose dog begain having inexplicable anxiety attacks. Eventually the problem turned out to be from a fading smoke detector in the basement. None of the adults noticed it, but when a grand-niece was visiting, she asked about the odd high-pitched sound downstairs at the same time the dog had a panic attack, and they were able to trace it from there. If your dog sometimes wears a collar with an audible warning sound, you may get stronger than usual reactions to smoke detectors and other electronic beeps -- even from the house next door if you're close together.

 

Good luck! Sending many wishes that whatever the problem was, it doesn't happen again.

 

Liz S in South Central PA

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Oh My goodness... that reminds me... we put in a invisble fence.... and the smart mocking bird heard the beep when Bess was learning her bounds... freaked her out a few times and made her freeze where she was... had to reinforce the whiote flags are the boundry for her... silly bird...

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The mocking bird thing sounds funny and awful at the same time!!!

:blink:

 

As for Sully's freak-out, well, his tail is coming around just fine. BUT the freak out repeated itself the other morning. At 4:21am on Monday morn he pounced me, again, and wouldn't let me up without a struggle. But this time he got up, went to the door, went ballistic, I went to get up and he bounced back on the bed to try and lay down on me AGAIN. This time I picked him up (he weighs all of 50 pounds) and hefted him outside the room to chill him out. I ended up taking him outside where he remained glued to me for reassurance, he peed after about fifteen twenty minutes, and then wanted to go inside...

 

He ran back inside, back up stairs and we returned to bed. I am none the happier or wiser about the situation. He was glued to me the rest of that morning. No idea, but every time he does it I'm in dream-land. Maybe I talk in my sleep or do something to aggravate him? (Though I'm far too lazy to sleepwalk) Now, normally he's a cuddle bug, but he never "ki ayes" or loses it quite like this unless A.) He's in pain B.) He needs my ABSOLUTE undivided attention because he's scared or warning me of something usually displeasing to either myself or him. And he's not ever really a dominating dog, sometimes a tricky and testy dog but never tries to bull me over like this... But this is such a non-aggressive movement, it's more ... defense like. Bounce up, laying down on top of me is not really all that threatening, it's just really traumatizing at 4am.

 

I'm still frikkin' confused!!!! :unsure:

 

All of the carbon monoxide detectors are brand new with new batteries, and the same goes for my fire alarms. Nothing else I can think of at that hour... FYI. But this house is from 1854 so who knows what lurks behind these walls besides plaster and lathe.

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You never know about your walls. I've got bats in my house, and they do crawl about in the walls sometimes, which drives Buddy crazy. They also occasionally make their way into the living space and FLY AROUND, which is almost unbearable to both of us.

 

However, Buddy doesn't do a scared-freakout thing; he just growls and barks as you would expect.

 

I wonder if your house groans or creaks?

 

Also... my cell phone chirps sometimes, and my dog most decidedly does NOT like that noise, FWIW.

 

MB

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The only things I can think of . . . my dog became noise-phobic around the age of 4 (no problems with noise prior to that). When he is panicking from a noise he tends to jump up on the bed and walk all over me--thunder (even faint thunder) is the usual culprit, but beeps from a dying smoke detector have done it too. He also is epileptic and started having seizures at night around the same time. Following a seizure, he get into a very weird, panicky state which can involve him being clingy as well as restless. Tough to figure out if you're sleeping and don't see what triggers it.

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Do you live alone? Not to frighten but could he be hearing something outside? What about squirrels in the attic (or other critters)? Old house--do you have ghosts?

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