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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19331
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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Have a dog that suddenly gets ill and is unable to walk straight

Customer Question

Have a dog that suddenly gets ill and is unable to walk straight or sometimes walk at all. She also rubs her face using both her paws. Normally there is a lot of panting and drooling and she's very unresponsive but then the symptoms disappear. They normally last for about an hour and happen once or twice a week. We've noticed these symptoms over the last month or two. What could this be?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'm Dr Gary. I've been practicing veterinary medicine since 2007. I look forward to helping with your questions/ concerns.

It sounds like she may be having partial seizures or sensory seizures. This can lead to face rubbing, incoordination and drooling. In an older dog like this, the most common cause of partial seizures is a brain tumor, unfortunately. The only way to confirm this, is with an MRI of the head.

I would try to take a short video of one of these episodes and then make an appointment with your vet or a veterinary neurologist to evaluate it. They will likely do bloodwork to rule out metabolic conditions. If that is normal, they may do an MRI to see if it's a brain tumor. Some of these can be managed surgically, with radiation therapy or with medication (steroids, anti-seizure meds).

I wish it were easier to diagnose, but strange neurologic signs in older dogs can be quite the challenge to figure out and manage.

I hope this helps give you some ideas, let me know if you have any other questions.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 1 year ago.
Hi Derek,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Pompom. How is everything going?

Dr. Gary