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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 23797
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My 15 year old terrier is having spells every few hours

Customer Question

My 15 year old terrier is having spells every few hours where he stands still with head slightly tilted then he lies down and gets up 10 min later seems ok. These are not the seizure symptoms I witnessed with my prior old dog. The first one happened this am after he let out a scream in his sleep. Should I go to ER or can I wait till am. He is eating drinking and peeing normally
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Marilyn, Shdow's behavior is likely to represent a different kind of seizure - a complex partial seizure (previously called petit mal and also called psychomotor seizure). These can occur during sleep and awaken my patient. Technically speaking, it's described as abnormal focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body and which may be associated with autonomic signs, (salivation, vomiting, e.g.) and is associated with a change in mentation (mental status) and/or behavioral abnormalities. Sleep is the most common post-ictal (post-seizure) symptom. Mark your calendar for these events and for just what you witnessed. Shadow's vet will need all the information you can gather when deciding if Shadow should be prescribed an anticonvulsive drug. Most of us will accept one mild (lasting less than 5 minutes, no thrashing about, no loss of consciousness) event monthly before prescribing such a drug. Should Shadow suffer another event within 24 hours of this one (as appears to be the case and so an ER visit is reasonable) clustering is diagnosed and that may presage status epilepticus - the state in which seizure activity doesn't abate unless I heavily sedate or anesthetize my patient. She would then need the attention of a vet at your earliest convenience.

Seizures first arising between the ages of 1-5 years are usually considered idiopathic (unknown cause) epilepsy. Seizures arising after 6 years of age are often caused by brain tumor or, less commonly, adult onset epilepsy. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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