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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16888
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Today when i got home form work (about 2:00 in afternoon),

Customer Question

today when i got home form work (about 2:00 in afternoon), my cockapoo was acting normal on second and then the next moment she started to stumble (as if drunk or dizzy), feel over, urinated and couldn't get up. laid there for a few minutes shaking and unable to move, then got up as if nothing was wrong. since then the same thing has happened two more times. Each time the episode last about 10-15 minutes then she gets up and everything is fine. Any idea what this could be and what I should do
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry that your pup Applesauce has had a few "episodes" tonight and I understand that you are concerned.

From your description I am concerned that these may have been seizures or a syncope event.

1) A seizure 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:

2) the second possibility is a fainting episode (syncope) which can be caused an irregular heart rhythm (either very fast or very slow) 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 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:

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 Applesauce has a history of a heart murmur or heart disease then a syncopal episode is more likely than a seizure.

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, exposure to a toxin or a primary brain problem (inflammation or tumors). Has she had flea medication applied or has she been exposed to any pesticides?

Unfortunately other than keeping Applesauce quiet there isn't much you can do at home. She needs a physical examination, bloodwork and possibly further testing to diagnose her condition.

If this is heart disease we need to properly diagnose her arrhythmia to know how to treat her 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 her (many cell phones have the capability to do this) that would be tremendously helpful for your veterinarian as well. Since she has already had several episodes tonight I recommend that she be seen by her veterinarian tomorrow if possible, and on an emergency basis tonight if she has an episode and doesn't seem to come around.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.