Your pet's strange behavior could indicate a serious illness - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Your pet's strange behavior could indicate a serious illness

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Dr. Laura Cauthen (Source: KLTV Staff) Dr. Laura Cauthen (Source: KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It might seem humorous, but if you see your pet pressing its head against a wall, it could be a sign of a serious problem.

“Head pressing is a neurologic symptom that we see. Dogs can kind of stare into space and put their head towards the wall and just kind of press,” said Dr. Laura Cauthen, a veterinarian at Animal Care Center of Tyler.

Dr. Cauthen said head pressing is an abnormal behavior and usually indicates there's a neurological disorder.

“Many times it's associated with hepatic encephalopathy where they have high ammonia levels. This can [also] be from a disorder such as a portosystemic shunt where the blood vessels to their liver were not developed properly from birth,” she said.

She said other neurological disorders, brain tumors, and infections of the central nervous system could also cause head pressing in dogs and cats.

“It's not something that should be overlooked, especially if it's paired with other neurologic symptoms [such as] drooling [and] seizures. Any activity like that can also be associated with head pressing and that can mean there's definitely a serious problem,” said Dr. Cauthen.

These disorders could be potentially life threatening if they're not properly diagnosed.

“Dogs can't always tell us or express to us what they're feeling or any symptoms so behavioral changes, including head pressing, can be significant and should be evaluated,” she said.

Dr. Cauthen said you should take your pet to a veterinarian any time you notice a strange change in their behavior.

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