Help with "snapping at flies"

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Help with "snapping at flies"

Post by GmeMstr »

First of all, hello all! New to the board...

Bear is about a 3.5 year old Chow. We believe that's about right as he was a rescue. Here he is after a trim quite some time ago...I lost my digital camera and don't have recent ones.


Lately, he has been snapping into the air, while at he's snapping at flies. Obviously, there are no flies there. This will continue for some time until he finally lies all the way down and sleeps.

Also, I have noticed that he is shunning his pillow in favor of the coldest room in the house, as well as laying on the kitchen floor by the outside door.

There have also been times when he will be scrathing around his head and will yelp in pain. I have examined him pretty thoroughly after one such incident and could not find any tenderness, lacerations, or hot spots.

I am concerned about SM, even though it generally affects smaller breeds, but frankly I don't know what else to do. We have moved up into the MS DElta and there are no real advanced vets anywhere close. Matter of fact, Bear refuses to back to the one vet here in town.

Any ideas on what may be going on or a course of action? Other than what I have described he seems alert, has a good appetite, and seems generally fine.

Thanks in advance.
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Post by jerryo »

Welcome aboard and thanks for rescuing Bear. He is a great looking guy from his pictures. :D

The part about sleeping on the hardest floor he can find in the coldest part of the house is just typical Chowish preferences. My guy Benny loves the marble tile in the hall bathroom.

As for the other parts, someone else will probably be able to help. I don't have a clue. :?
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Post by Jeff&Peks »

Yep Chows prefer the cold hard floors to the cozy warm comfortable beds, My Chow has two beds and one big pillow she never has used them except to stomp around and snort on. Don't get rid of the bed even if he dosn't use it to sleep, he knows it his so just leave it.

I don't have a clue to the other problems either but do you think he might be snapping at what ever is bothering him on his head, He may feel something that is irritating his head and snapping at it. Chows do snap at flies and eat them but as you said there are no flies. Ckeck really carefull around his ears and head down to the skin, he may have a tick or some sort of bug hanging out on him.
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Post by kingalls »

Ditto regarding the cold surfaces - it's a Chow preference!
Have you had the inside of his ears checked? It might be something deeper where you can't see it.
You'll probably find a few Chows on this site that don't take highly to vets...or groomers.
Karen, Kohana, Takoda, and our Chow Angels Nahkohe and Shiloh
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Post by Boogie and Linda »

I also wanted to suggest having his ears checked. Our rescue foster Teddie had ear infections in both ears and what I noticed is that he only wanted to sleep outside in the cold (and it was in the 20's here) and that he was moving his head around a lot and scratching at his head. He too would also yelp (I think he may have caught a claw on his ear and pulled it.) The jaw is connected to the ear so that could also explain Bear's snapping at the air. I think you should contact a vet to have him checked out. I had to put ointment in Teddie's ears for 11 days and he had to wear the e-collar which he absolutely hated both. Now that his ears feel better he doesn't mind being inside again. Good luck and I hope Bear feels better soon.
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Post by kiwani »

For an overview of the 'fly snapping' behavior, research visual auras linked with psychomotor seizures, which are similar to migraine auras. Visual auras can appear as flashes of zig-zag lights, starburst clusters, etc., and are called positive scotomata. Negative scotomata appear as dark spots in the visual field. Sometimes these auras include ringing or buzzing in the ears.

There is a vagus nerve at the base of the brain at the back of the neck. One of the roles of that nerve is to monitor and balance certain brain chemistry. For a *variety* of reasons, that brain chemistry can get out of balance, and set off the visual auras, followed by serotonin flow and sleep. You've mentioned your Chow giving up the pillow and seeking cold, possibly experiencing pain in the head/neck area. One factor to consider is whether there's been any neck injury recently, such as whiplash lunging while on a tie-out, body slam playing, etc. Otherwise, look over the research on the various causes of psychomotor seizures/visual auras (toxins, metabolic imbalances, blood sugar plunges, mineral imbalances, etc.)

There are some old threads concerning psychomotor seizure in the archives, and I'm pretty sure there's also one on 'fly snapping' from about year ago.
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Post by willowchow »

Agree with Kiwani, a friend had a Boston Terrier that did the fly catching behavior and not too long after that developed other physical problems. He did turn out to have a seizure disorder.
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Post by bama »

Hi, welcome to the forum.
I think it's wonderful of you to rescue your chow.
He's a handsome young boy!
I hope your chow boy is free from any affliction.
Aside from what's already been said. You know, the hard cold surface preference is very normal.
As for your second concern; I would first focus on the ears, and hopefully it is something as simple as an ear infection or ear mites. Beyond that, only testing will divulge the answer. Best of luck to you and your chow boy.
Let us know how he is doing.
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