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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14867
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Pearl, JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with

Customer Question

Hi Pearl,
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the dog?
Customer: We were playing outside and my dog 60 lb boxer fell
JA: Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: not sure if he hit his head or not, it sort of looked like he had a seizure, but i'm not sure
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your dog?
Customer: he coughed up some blood
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear about your fellow's episode of collapse during play, twitching and then coughing up some blood. It is very possible that he bit his tongue when he collapsed, that would explain him coughing up some blood. The other concern would be a mass in his lungs or throat, or severe heart disease that could lead to bleeding into his lungs. If he will let you try to closely examine his tongue. When a dog seems to lose control like he did 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) or heart disease 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 although they may have some paddling motions with their legs in an attempt not to fall, they will 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 fellow has a history of a heart murmur or heart disease then a syncopal episode is more likely than a seizure. Boxers as a breed have a very high incidence of particular types of very serious heart disease, so I would not take this episode lightly. He definitely needs to be evaluated by his veterinarian, and possibly a veterinary cardiologist. 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 or tumors). Unfortunately Boxers also have a much higher incidence of cancer compared to other breeds, so if he's an older fellow that is something we need to keep in mind. Other than keeping quiet there isn't much you can do at home. He needs a physical examination, bloodwork, chest radiographs, an EKG, and possibly further testing to diagnose his condition. If this is heart disease we need to properly diagnose his arrhythmia to know how to treat him 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 you could videotape him (many cell phones have the capability to do this) if he has another episode that would be tremendously helpful for your veterinarian as well.Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.
Hello, I wanted to check in and see if you had any further questions after reading my response. If you do please feel free to respond with them. If not and you found my information helpful please remember to rate my response positively so I may receive credit for my work thank you, ***** *****