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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25552
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My Pomeranian is 13yrs old he has been on a seizure

Customer Question

My Pomeranian is 13yrs old he has been on a seizure medication (zonisamide)for the last 5 yrs, the seizure episode is the stiffening affect, the meds have definitely helped him tremendously, he may have 1 a year instead of 1 a month. In the last 2 years he has started getting which seems like an anxiety attack or panting attack, very heavy panting and loosing his ability to walk, he gets himself so over exhausted from panting that he can't hold himself up, drooling, tongue very far out of his mouth, eyes seem bulgy, he does want water, I have to bring bowl to his mouth, this lasts about 2 hours maybe 3 hours, then he starts to calm down slowly, before you know it he is almost back to normal, but tired. This sometimes happens when my husband and I are going in and out of house for periods of time during the day, or my husband walks him 2 to 3x at nite within a 2 hr span, 10 min walks. My dog has a lot of issues, nervous, afraid of everything, we do spoil him. What could this severe heavy panting be caused from and is there a medication for this type of episode?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Armani. I believe that what you're describing as anxiety/panic attacks are actually complex partial seizures - also called psychomotor seizures. They're defined as focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity that may be accompanied by autonomic signs (salivation, vomiting, e.g.) and are accomapnied by a change in mentation (mental status) and/or behavioral abnormalities. My recommendation is to discuss with Armani's vet either increasing his zonisamide dose, adding another anticonvulsive such as levetiracetam, or substituting levetiracetam for the zonisamide.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I never would have thought this was more seizure symptoms, I'm thinking he is having anxiety, but yes I will speak with his vet to possibly increase dose. His dowse now is 25mg and it is more than the recommended dose according to his weight of 8lbs, and their is never any vomiting involved just heavy tongue hanging to the floor panting, and unsteadiness to walk which looks like due to exhaustion from panting. Can I do anything to help his symptoms? They always seem to be triggered when he thinks we are leaving him out, going in and out at different times of day, my husband and I, he does not care if the rest of the family goes in and out only me and my husband. Another issue is his breath, it is horrible, he has lost some teeth, but his breath is unbearable, what can be done about that? He does not chew bones, only crunchy bones that break up easily, he is afraid of other types of bones to help breath. He has never had a teeth cleaning due to no anesthesia, because of his seizures.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He only eats boiled chicken.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I believe that altering his anticonvulsive medication is the manner in which to ameliorate these symptoms. They appear to exacerbated by the stress or threat of separation anxiety. He'll need extensive dental work for his breath to improve. It's a misconception that seizure patients can't be anesthetized. He's malnourished if he only eats boiled chicken. Feel free to share our conversation with his vet. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.

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