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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27398
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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He was gagging like he was going to throw up and fell over

Customer Question

he was gagging like he was going to throw up and fell over and started having what looked like a seizure
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Seizures always look scary. Let's get you talking to the Veterinarian. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Bruno, 12 weeks
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Bruno?
Customer: no
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Can you describe to me just what you witnessed that looked like a seizure, please? How long did it last and how did he act once it was over?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He was gagging like he was going to throw up. He started shaking and fell over on his side and was shaking. I ran over to him and put my hand on him to calm him and he stopped.
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
i picked him up and held him for a few minutes, put him down and he seemed ok
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for the additional information. It sounds as if he suffered a complex partial seizure (also called psychomotor seizure). Are Bruno's vaccines up to date? Has he demonstrated other symptoms prior to this event - either of a respiratory (conjunctivitis, sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, e.g.) or gastrointestinal (inappetence, vomiting and/or diarrhea) problem?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
He is up to date on vaccines. Goes for his 2nd set in 2 weeks. Hes had a little cough lately, no sneezing, runny nose or conjunctivitis. Eats and plays like a normal puppy
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Thank you for the additional information. That "little cough" is worrisome because seizures at this age are often due to infection with the canine distemper virus which often is first evidenced by respiratory symptoms. Virulent strains of this virus can cause an encephalitis and seizures. Infection with the parasite Neospora is another consideration when seizures are seen in such a young pup. Finally, congenital (present at birth) brain defects can be responsible for seizures.

I'd like you let Bruno's vet know what you witnessed. The vet may ask you to continue monitoring Bruno or, instead, have him come in to be examined prior to the next set of vaccines in 2 weeks. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Would he have other symptoms with distemper other than cough?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

The other symptom at this time would be the seizure. Distemper can present in a myriad of ways. The classic form begins with respiratory symptoms followed by gastrointestinal symptoms and then nervous system symptoms but any combination of those symptoms can appear at any time. Virulent strains of that virus may first appear as seizures.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
How is distemper treated? Antibiotics? What kind?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

The distemper virus - any virus - doesn't respond to antibiotics but antibiotics are prescribed to address secondary bacterial infections. A broad spectrum antibiotic such as amoxicillin-clavulanate or a fluoroquinolone such as enrofloxacin is appropriate.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
How is distemper treated if not by antibiotics?
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 month ago.

Supportively and symptomatically. There's no specific therapy or "antidote" for this virus.