My dog's head started experiencing tremors (left- to right) for about 20 seconds the other night. She was also sticking her tongue in and out repeatedly like she was licking her upper lip. It was the first time I'd seen her do this. She's 2 years old and otherwise appears healthy to me. she's not been vaccinated (I live in Kiribati so no vaccinations available) so after researching online I came up with an armchair diagnosis of distemper.
Then I researched some more and read that tremors can be caused by poisoning and I realised that I'd seen a bunch of fleas on her about 10 minutes before I noticed the tremors and I applied a whole lot of flea powder on her and on her bed.
I've just investigated the active ingredients of the powder I use (called 'Watch Dog Flea Powder' purchased in an Australian supermarket) which is Carbaryl (50g/kg). I also noticed that it also went out of date 5 years ago. Now I find it's a poisonous chemical (I found this link particularly useful http://www.springerlink.com/content/t28530…). I inherrited the powder from a friend who purchased it in a supermarket, so I assumed it was ok. Also assuming flea powder was benign, I didn't bother checking the use-by date.
When I applied it, I put quite a lot around her neck, ears, bum, underside - where she experiences lots of fleas - and she also sniffed and licked it quite a lot. As there are not vets in this country, I can't verify what's wrong with her. One possibility is that I unknowingly poisoned her with this flea powder. I notice another side-effect of this poisoning in dogs is salivation - hence, potentially the reason she was licking her lips. While this is not good, it's def.preferable to distemper - I'm hoping my untrained diagnosis is correct.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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