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Dr. Scott
Dr. Scott, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15168
Experience:  15 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
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One of my dogs sometimes wakes up disoriented and unable to

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One of my dogs sometimes wakes up disoriented and unable to walk. She is an adopted Chihuahua - about 11 lbs. and 6 or 7 years old. This has happened twice. The first time she got up, made it into the hallway then just sat down. She had pooped right there in the hallway - she didn't even make it outside. I picked her up and once she "got more awake" she was fine. This morning she actually staggered and fell over. Again, I picked her up and after a few minutes she was fine. Could it be just stiff joints upon arising? I know that is how I feel some mornings - a little wobbly until I get moving (HA! HA!)
Hello there,

Does the dog seem disoriented when this happens?

How long do the episodes last?

Does she seem lame at other times of day?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Yes, she does seem to be a little disoriented. Episodes usually only last about 3 to 5 minutes. This only seems to happen when she first gets up in the morning although she does seem to be a little stiff legged at other times.


FYI - I do Chi rescue and she was one of my fosters that I decided to keep (she isn't always friendly- ha! ha!) - when I got her initially she weighed almost 25 lbs. so that may be a contributing factor although she now weighs about 11 lbs..

The weight loss was a good idea. If she falls over and is disoriented, it may be seizure activity you are seeing. Many seizures occur during sleep. It could also be low blood sugar. Arthritis will make the dogs stiff legged, but not disoriented. I would suspect petit mal seizures above anything else since the episodes do not last long. Epilepsy is very common in dogs and can start at any age. If the episodes occur more than once a month, the dogs are started on phenobarbital to control the activity. Blood tests are needed to rule out an internal cause for the behavior. Most epileptics have normal blood values. I would videotape an episode to show your vet if possible as well.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks very much. Luckily she has an appointment next week with our regular vet. At least this seems to be something that can perhaps be managed and isn't immediately life threatening.
If epilepsy is diagnosed, most cases are easliy controlled. In older dogs, you need to rule out brain lesions as well. Get a video if you can and take it to the appointment.
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