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Dog constantly twitching and licking


New member
Sep 12, 2018
My 8yo Jack Russel/Pug mix Joey has experienced increasing symptoms over the past 2 years. When relaxed or trying to sleep, he is constantly licking himself, the furniture or the air. Some part of his body twitches at least every 30 seconds - could be his leg(s), facial, jaw, or head muscles - often so strongly that he can't sleep because it wakes him up. He sighs often and the in-breaths are unsteady/trembling. Every few weeks he has what seems like a mini seizure with jaw trembling, ears back, and stunned for 30 seconds or so. When outside he ravenously eats grass.

We originally thought it was gastrointestinal related as he would occasionally vomit bile on an empty stomach in the morning and there are often noises coming from his stomach. Historically he has eaten many things he shouldn't, but we are better at keeping him under control now. On recommendations from vets, over the last 2 years we have tried:

6 different foods. Elevating his food dish. Switching to 3 smaller meals/day from 2 meals. Famotadine and omeperazole at different times of the day for different lengths of treatment. Probiotics and digestive enzymes. Feeding him a snack in the middle of the night. Simethicone for gas. Cerenia. Tums. Zylkene to try to help his anxiety in case that was the cause. Cannabidiol treats. Multivitamins. Increasing his zonisamide seizure medication dosage (he has a history of seizures - none since 2014 until this year when he has had 3). Multiple rounds of blood work and urinalyses. Visit neurologist and internist. Ultrasound of abdomen.

Nothing has had any significant or lasting effect and all vet visits have checked out. Most vets we have visited don't seem to think anything is wrong because they don't see the symptoms when he is in the office (not relaxed) and physically they can't find anything wrong. Here are video compilations of the symptoms:

twitching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_sMpTy-fbk
licking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNa2rX-rTbg

Everyone is at a loss. I know Joey is at best always uncomfortable, but might also be in pain. Dogs are not supposed to twitch and lick constantly!

What could this possible be? How can I give him some relief? Thank you so much in advance.