You may find it cute when you see your dog pressing its head on a wall or on an object for no reason at all. However, what you find as a cute act might mean so much more like a medical condition.
According to Wag!, “Head pressing is a behavior exhibited by animals experiencing neural damage or under the influence of certain toxins. An affected animal will often stand in a corner or near a wall with its head hung low, or physically press the head against objects.”
The cause of head pressing varies, but some of them are the following:
- infection of the nervous system such as rabies, parasites, bacterial, viral or fungal infection
- liver shunt
- prosencephalon disease in which the forebrain and thalamus parts of the brain are damaged
- head trauma
- metabolic disorder
- hepatic encephalopathy
As a dog owner, you should not mistake the head pressing of your dog as a sign of affection from it. Immediately go to the veterinarian for your dog to get checked.
Some behaviors and symptoms may include:
- visual problems, such as identifying objects or obstacles
- constant pacing
- exhibiting reduced reflexes
- walking in circles
- face rubbing and pushing the head into the ground
- staring at walls
For the proper diagnosis of your dog about this head pressing, you need to give a history of your dog’s health, the symptoms that you have observed, and possible incidents that may have caused this.
Diagnosis can include the examination of the retina and other components of the eyes for infectious or inflammatory diseases. Also can be included are blood pressure measurements and the brain’s computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
The treatment will depend on the symptoms recorded and the diagnosis that your veterinarian decided. It may include hospitalization of your dog for better monitoring and immediate treatment. However, no medications or therapies should be done until a final diagnosis is concluded.