Leg tremors

Missy’s developed a tremor in her rear legs. Is it related to the hemangiosarcoma? Is it pain? Is it a side effect of the long-term use of meloxicam or I’m-Yunity?

We don’t know, but I’m recording it here in case someone else has had a similar experience with a long-term hemangiosarcoma survivor.

The tremors appear occasionally in one or both rear legs. The leg shakes very visibly. We first noticed it several months ago. Our vet was inclined to think it was a reaction to pain of some kind (maybe from the spondylitis?), but when we put her on gabapentin for a few days as a test, the tremors didn’t stop.

They are usually transient, gone in a few minutes. Sometimes we see them once and then don’t see them again for a week or more. Sometimes we see them in clusters that go on for a day or more.

Photo credit: Jo-Ann Gerde
They always occur when she is standing, which makes me think spondylitis and spine pain.

There is not a clear pattern in the appearance of the tremors. They are most common if she’s afraid (our large dog is running up behind her and she’s worried she’s going to get run over) or excited (it’s dinner time or we’ve just arrived at the agility ring for practice and she’s barking with joy). They also show up sometimes when she exerts herself for a long time, like on a hike; this makes me think it could certainly be pain.

And sometimes they just show up without a clear association with anything she’s doing or feeling.

A couple of years ago, just before she was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma, I took Missy to a chiropractor because she seemed uncomfortable in the hind end while going over jumps. The chiropractor took one look at her, and said (not unkindly), “Well, now there’s a confirmation mess if I ever saw one.”

Maybe her messy confirmation is causing her pain and it shows up when she is excited enough to be standing or walking on her hind legs, which she does frequently.

We could take her temporarily off the meloxicam and I’m-Yunity to see if either of them is the culprit, but I’m not thrilled with the idea of shaking up anything in her post-chemotherapy hemangiosarcoma treatment plan, since we don’t know what’s keeping her alive for so long.

The tremor frequency or degree doesn’t seem to be getting worse over time. But they sure aren’t going away on their own.

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