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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14880
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My dogs just had a seizure

Customer Question

my dogs just had a seizure
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about your girl's episode that may have been a seizure. When an older dog has such an episode we worry about 2 things.

1) A seizure which is a loss of conscious muscle control with rhythmic muscle contractions occurring. These dogs may lose urine or stool continence, they are unaware of their surroundings and their muscles tend to be very tense during the episode. They seem fine afterwards though puzzled about what happened, and can be a little tired. This is a link to a video of a dog having a seizure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSL1_yeKo5o&feature=fvwrel

2) The second possibility is a fainting episode (syncope) which can be caused an irregular heart rhythm (either very fast or very slow) such that oxygen doesn't get to the brain and they pass out. These dogs seem to stiffen and then slide to the ground like a wet noodle and have more relaxed muscles. They too tend to lose consciousness, the heart resets itself and they "wake up" and seem normal. Some of these dogs lose urine and stool continence and some do not. They may have minor muscle twitches due to low oxygen levels, but they are not as stiff or rhythmic as true seizures. This is a link to a video of a dog having a quick syncopal episodes. They are usually longer then this dog's: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkj4jREIec8&feature=fvwrel

The irregular heart rhythm that leads to syncope can be hard to pick up on a regular exam as they may be triggered by exercise or excitement or even sleep (extreme relaxation). And if they aren't stressed at their exam their heart rate may be slow and normal (these are dogs with tachycardia or fast rate arrhythmias) or if they are stressed then their heart rate may increase to an normal level (these are dogs with bradycardia or very slow heart rates).

Both of these "episodes" can be triggered by excitement. If your girl has a history of a heart murmur or heart disease then a syncopal episode is more likely than a seizure.

Seizures in older dogs usually signify that there is a medical problem. Younger dogs (6 months to 6 years) are more likely to be diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy or seizures of unknown origin but in older dogs seizures are usually related to metabolic organ disease such that waste products build up and affect brain function or a primary brain problem (inflammation, infection, or a tumor(s)).

Unfortunately other than keeping your little one quiet there isn't much you can do at home. She needs a physical examination, bloodwork and possibly further testing to diagnose her condition.

If this is heart disease we need to properly diagnose her arrhythmia to know how to treat her medically and if this is indeed a seizure then looking for and treating underlying metabolic organ disease is needed or medication to help decrease seizure frequency and severity if this is related to primary brain disease.

If she has another episode I recommend that you videotape her (many cell phones have the capability to do this) as that would be tremendously helpful for your veterinarian as well.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
10 year old french bulldog never had seizure before. Took out for a walk which is uncommon. had seizure about 45 minutes ago seems disoriented but getting better. Panting a lot
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Please see my original full post above your last comments.

Panting can be due to low oxygen, but is also a common response to stress/anxiety.

If her gum and tongue color are very pale/white in color or blue/gray in color that would more likely indicate heart disease.

If she's not used to a walk and that was stressful for her then that could bring about a seizure or a syncopal episode.

Her disorientation concerns me a bit and if that continues she should be seen at an emergency clinic today.

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