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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30325
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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Our 9 year old Shih Tzu has started (about) once a month

Customer Question

Our 9 year old Shih Tzu has started (about) once a month letting out a loud squealing sound and stuff in middle of the night. She sleeps with us and my husband has had to shake her out of it. Could it be some sort of seizure or sleep apnea? She sleeps a lot during the day but it has only occurred at night. Last night it happened and she actually wet the bed too for the first time. Any help would be appreciated.
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?
Customer: Holly
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Holly?
Customer: She does snore and isn't over weight
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 12 months ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Holly. Yes, you're correct to consider a complex partial seizure (also called psychomotor seizure and previously called petit mal) which is described as abnormal focal or asymmetric sensory or motor activity affecting any part of the body and which may be associated with autonomic signs, (salivation, vomiting, urinating, defecating, e.g.) and is associated with a change in mentation (mental status) and/or behavioral abnormalities. Seizures occurring during sleep may or may not waken my patient. Sleep is the most common post-ictal (post-seizure) symptom. Mark your calendar for these event and for just what you witnessed. Holly's vet will need all the information you can gather when deciding if HOlly should be prescribed an anticonvulsive drug. Most of us will accept one mild (lasting less than 5 minutes, no thrashing about, no loss of consciousness) event monthly before prescribing such a drug. Should Holly suffer another event within 24 hours of a prior one clustering is diagnosed and that may presage status epilepticus - the state in which seizure activity doesn't abate unless I heavily sedate or anesthetize my patient. She would then need the attention of a vet at your earliest convenience.

Seizures first arising between the ages of 1-5 years are usually considered idiopathic (unknown cause) epilepsy. Seizures arising after 6 years of age are often caused by brain tumor or, less commonly, adult onset epilepsy. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.