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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28574
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have a 1.5 yr old female American eskimo. She is a rescue,

Customer Question

I have a 1.5 yr old female American eskimo. She is a rescue, we've had her for about 6 months. Recently she has had 2 episodes where she has begun panting heavily in quick shallow pants and is trembling. She seems almost anxious, her head is bowed and her ears are flat. She is aware when this is happening it doesn't seem to be like a seizure, but she seems very frightened and wants to cuddle more than usual.
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

Hello, this is Dr. Jess. Are you online right now? I am going to send you a video link and would like you to watch it and tell me if this is similar to what your dog is doing.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am.
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

Here is the video- is your dog doing something similar to this?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not quite, it's more like this video , it's hard to tell because this dog is pacing, but with Sandy you can visibly see her shaking. I now wish I had shot video of her.
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

Is she an anxious dog? Has this happened around the time of anything different going on in the house?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, it's weird. We've had her for about 6 months, she's pretty used to the sounds in the neighborhood. She's normally not anxious at all. She's a people person, she likes other dogs. I can't figure it out.
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

hmmm... is their any way to take a video of it to post on here?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not right now, I'm at work and she's at home. She seemed fine this morning, she was perky and ready to play, she ate all her breakfast.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'll have to catch a video of her if it happens again.
Expert:  Jess K replied 1 year ago.

OK that might be helpful otherwise without examining her it's very difficult for me to give you an idea. I'm going to open your question back up in case any other experts has ideas this morning.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'll follow up for Dr. Jess for you. My initial thought was a complex partial seizure (also called psychomotor seizure) which is described as focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body. It may be associated with autonomic signs such as salivation or vomiting and is associated with a change in mentation (mental status) or abnormal behavior. Please note that this type of seizure is not a generalized (previously called grand mal) seizure most people are familiar with - a patient convulsing and thrashing about nor an "anxiety attack". Sandy's age indicates that such a seizure may indicate idiopathic (unknown cause) epilepsy which usually first appears between the ages of 1-5 years. Most of us will tolerate one such seizure monthly as long as it is mild and short acting before considering anticonvulsive medication. I, too, would very much like to see a video. You'll need to upload it to an external site such as YouTube and give me the link to it. Be sure to not mark it as private. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
There seems to be no neuro signs like clumsiness or confusion. She seems scared, and it's not momentary. Last night's episode lasted at least 45 min until I got her to calm down and go to sleep.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the additional information. The duration of her behavior would be unusual for a complex partial seizure unless she suffered status epilepticus - the state in which a seizure doesn't abate as expected. What was the time interval between her two episodes, please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The last one was about 2 weeks ago.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. Sandy needs to be carefully observed over the next two weeks. If a complex partial seizure is occurring its character may change in a manner in which its more easily identified as seizure. An anxiety attack (which is more often associated with cognitive dysfunction in our geriatric dogs) may not change in character and is often characterized by aimless wandering/searching, vocalization, and trembling. I can't set a follow-up in this venue and so would appreciate your returning to our conversation with an update - even after rating - at a time of your choosing.