Idiopathic head tremor syndrome is a benign condition and has no known cause. It can occur in any breed, but is more commonly seen in English and French Bulldogs. Most dogs have their first episode between 6 months and 3 years of age.
We generally suspect Idiopathic Head Tremor Syndrome if there are focal head tremors in the absence of other neurological abnormalities. There is no specific test to diagnose the condition – it is a ‘diagnosis of exclusion’ i.e.. we can only make the diagnosis by ruling out other causes. Investigation of tremors usually involves a thorough neurological examination, and may also involve blood tests, CT scan and a CSF tap. These tests may not be recommended initially in dogs that can be distracted out of an episode (see below).