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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28526
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a cocker spaniel that has been acting agitated and uncomfortabl

Customer Question

I have a cocker spaniel that has been acting agitated and uncomfortable. This is the third episode. Once last year, once about 6 weeks ago, and for the past 3 days. The episodes in the past have lasted several days (5-ish). In each episodes she looks skyward and appears to be tracking a fly, though none exists. She also acts agitated, up and down constantly, tail down between her legs, and seeking corners, closets, behind the toilet, etc. On the other two occasions she appeared uncomfortable in her rear section, but this time she is rubbing her eyes/head with her front paws. She is also not interested in eating her food.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Lily's behavior - in particular, fly tracking/snapping - is considered an obsessive-compulsive disorder by behaviorists but complex partial seizures by neurologists. Her agitation and change in mentation (mental status) leads me more in the direction of complex partial seizures which are described as focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body and which can be associated with autonomic signs (drooling ,vomiting, e.g.). "Complex" infers that there is an alteration in mentation and/or behavioral abnormalities. These are also called psychomotor seizures. Her behavior should prompt a thorough physical and neurologic exam - perhaps by a specialist veterinary neurologist as can be found here: In many cases, a drug trial is prescribed in an attempt to clarify the etiology of this behavior. For example, psychotherapeutic drugs might be prescribed for a presumptive obsessive-compulsive disorder while anticonvulsive drugs might be prescribed for presumptive seizures. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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