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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16202
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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Our female dog, 15-1/2 years old, has been passing out

Customer Question

Our female dog, 15-1/2 years old, has been passing out almost every time she is outside after she urinates and/or poops. She also has been coughing or what sounds like coughing after she goes to lay down. Any ideas why this could be happening?
Submitted: 1 year ago via Dog-Health-Guide.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Based on both of Molly's signs, I'd be quite concerned about her heart. Fainting with exertion/activity can be a sign of the brain oxygen levels dropping and is common in heart cases. As well, coughs are commonly seen in dogs with heart disease and can especially occur when they lay down since the pressure of laying on their chest can compress the limited (and heart overfilled) chest cavity. So, while we could see her fainting while passing feces related to over stimulation of her vagus nerve; to see both signs is much more suspicious of underlying heart disease.

Therefore, with this in mind, it'd be ideal to have her examined by her vet. If possible, you can help your vet diagnose her by videoing what she does for them to assess. Furthermore, the vet can make sure that she has no neurological abnormalities but most importantly they can listen +/- xray or scan that heart. If heart disease is confirmed, then treatment can be started to help her manage with this and reduce her signs.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, she had exams of her heart not long ago because the vet thought she had a heart murmer and she saw a specialist and they said all was normal except that she had high blood pressure but not high enough to treat at that time. And she seems to pass out after she urinates, and while passed out she urinates and sometimes poops on herself.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

First, her passing urine/feces once she has passed out is not unexpected as she won't be consciously aware of this. Otherwise, I would question if the heart or the blood pressure (which could cause these signs, though usually less common in dogs) has progressed or worsened with this new activity. Otherwise, we could see this with seizures or if there was increase pressure on the brain (ie due to a bleed, swelling, infection or tumor) but usually will see other neurological signs as well. And while we can see this with tracheal collapse, that is not a common issue for this breed. Therefore, I would still be suspicious of those first two progressing at this stage.

Take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thank you. A month or two ago she collapsed in the house and had what we thought was a seizure-she was convulsizing, her mouth was opening and closing, and her legs were moving as if she were running. But all other collapses (my husband said some other collaspes outside she was convulsing too) her hind end gets wobbly and weak and she goes over and looks as if she's sleeping. On another note, she's lost a lot of weight too. She won't eat her dog food, a full bowl will sit there for a week or two. She'll nibble on it occasionally, but yet she will eat table scraps. We've been giving her more table scraps because we are afraid of how skinny she's getting. I'm just trying to think of everything going on with her to tell you, so that when I take her to the vet within the next week I have some idea of what they might say and I am prepared.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
anyways, not sure if that added info. changes anything you said prior.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

If she is paddling when she goes down instead of passing out like you had originally noted, that does raise concerns of seizures as opposed to fainting. And in that case, those brain based issues are more likely. It wouldn't explain her cough unless she has managed to aspirate fluid into her lungs during a fit (which does happen). Finally, if she has been losing weight, then it does raise worries of tumors or systemic/organ issues (where the toxin build up then triggers the fits) being our top concerns.

So, these do change our concerns a wee bit giving some issues more weight then they'd have if it had been a faint. Though I would just suggest trying to video what she is doing so her vet can see that as well as her next week since we do need to narrow down which (faint or seizure) we are actually seeing here so we can diagnose her situation properly and treat her effectively.

Take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thanks again. Will video her. One last thing-not sure if it matters but over the past few months she also asks strange on our wood floors like it is hot lava, I have to put rugs down in her path or she struggles to get where she wants/needs to go.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome,

If she was struggling on the slick floors, I'd be more suspicious of joint pain (and an arthritic dog potentially have seizures could be quite sore). So, not likely a sign with these other issues but we'd want to keep an eye on that and potentially even think about anti-inflammatories for that as we pinpoint the root of the other signs.

All the best,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, thank you. Just to clarify her cough is more like a gag, a gag to the point it sounds like she's going to throw up but doesn't. And only happens when she first lays down, that I notice.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome,

That sounds tracheal/throat based (as opposed to being related to the lungs and lower respiratory tract). So, that could be related to the heart pressing up on the trachea (even more so when she again puts pressure on her chest). So, again we'd want to make sure that isn't playing a role in her other signs.

Take care,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Molly. How is everything going?
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