Fly snapping syndrome in dogs can result from a variety of issues. They include eye problems, heredity, seizures and compulsive behavior. Episodes of snapping at invisible flies can be sporadic or can occur frequently throughout the day. You'll want to bring your dog to the veterinarian at the first sign of fly snapping for specific diagnosis and to determine the cause.
Symptoms and Signs
Fly snapping usually occurs suddenly and without warning when a dog has been sitting quietly and relaxed. He will snap several times in the air, and his eyes will focus on the space immediately in front of his face. Usually, the dog is in a conscious state and is aware of his behavior, according to Dr. Dennis O'Brien. At times, your dog might lick his front legs immediately following the fly snapping episode.
Probable Causes and Compulsive Behavior
Veterinary neurologists think fly snapping syndrome may be a result of a type of complex partial seizure, possibly epilepsy, which can result in isolated movements from seizures, according to O'Brien. Compulsive behavior is another cause. Compulsive behavior may result from being tied up, experiencing social conflict or conflicting emotions, living in small spaces, enduring random acts of physical abuse, and lack of socialization with people or other dogs.
Genetic factors can play a role in fly snapping syndrome. While most fly snapping episodes occur alone, at times, they can be experienced in combination of life-threatening grand-mal seizures, which can be caused by canine epilepsy, according to Dr. O'Brien. Episodes immediately accompanied by any type of seizure may indicate that fly snapping syndrome is caused by an underlying inherited disease. If your dog experiences a seizure combined with fly snapping, alert your veterinarian with the details. It may be a sign of a serious medical condition that needs to be treated immediately.
Vitreous floaters are spots that appear before the eyes. At times, a tiny piece of debris will make its way into the fluid that fills the eye and, causing your dog to see spots, possibly making your dog mistake them as flies. For this reason, vitreous floaters may be a cause of fly snapping. If you feel that your dog is experiencing visual disturbances, visit a canine ophthalmologist.