Is Head Pressing an Emergency?

Does the notion of your dog pressing their head into corners or against objects sound like not a big deal to you?

Ok, I  concede this sounds quite weird and more like a trick question than something that could be an emergency situation. Surely this sounds harmless enough?

Not so fast.

Is Head Pressing an Emergency?

What does head pressing indicate?

Head pressing indicates damage to the nervous system. The potential causes you’re looking at include:

  • damage to the forebrain and thalamus
  • brain inflammation
  • stroke
  • brain tumor
  • an infection of the nervous system
  • toxins, liver shunt
  • stroke
  • or acute head trauma.

Head pressing can be a sign of a serious problem. It has a number of possible causes, including liver conditions, poisoning, and traumatic injuries. If you notice this behavior in a pet, it warrants a rapid trip to the veterinarian for an exam to determine the cause.

Dr. Marty Becker

Does that change your mind about whether or not head pressing is an emergency?

Dogs who are head pressing against a wall or other hard surface may also have a neck injury, disk herniation or brain tumor.

Dr. Marty Becker

Accompanying symptoms can include:

  • issues with balance
  • disorientation
  • vision problems
  • and seizures

Pressing head into corners or against objects should be treated as an emergency.

Related articles:
Symptoms To Watch For In Your Dog: Changes In Behavior

Further reading:
Head Pressing in Dogs
Don’t ignore head pressing in dogs

Categories: EmergenciesHead pressingSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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