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NancyH, Dog Expert:Rescue, Train,Breed,Care
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 31958
Experience:  30+ yrs dog home vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior&training, responsible show breeding, genetics
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My 6 yr old lab has episodes of temporary paralysis that ...

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My 6 yr old lab has episodes of temporary paralysis that last about 2-5 mins. She is concious and alert the whole time. They have happened 4 times in the past 5 months. My vet says they are not seizures but can't diagnose anything else. Any ideas?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  NancyH replied 10 years ago.
Does this happen right after heavy activity?
Does this happen when she is just falling asleep or waking?
Any history of a neck injury?
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: This always happens when she is waking up. She cannot rise. And she always (always) has 2 episodes in a row. She will recover from one and be fine for a minute or two, then go right into another one.
Expert:  NancyH replied 10 years ago.
That does sound like a possible epileptic episode particularly the repeat. The way epilepsy works is that depending on the part of the brain impacted you will see different responses. While many dogs have the electrical disturbance in the area of the brain that causes convulsions not all do.
You can read more about epilepsy here
This sounds like more of a partial or focal seizure than a grand mal. The most common times for a seizure is on waking or as the dog drops off to sleep.
In this breed thyroid issues can trigger seizures and if she has not been checked for a thyroid problem that might be worth doing.
Other possibilities, if she has not been checked for a tick carried disease they can cause odd symptoms with muscles and joint pain included, if she has not had her neck checked this could be due to a problem in the neck with an unstable vertebra pushing on nerves.
If she is tied out on a choke or even a flat collar she could have damaged nerves in the neck or vertebra from hitting the end of the tieout.
It could be lifting her head after she wakes puts pressure on the nerves.
You might want to talk to a veterinary neurologist and this site may help you locate one
You might find chiropractice or acupunture treatment will help her too
Hope this helps you!
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Nancy Holmes's Post: Thank you for your reply. I just have annother question. I took her to the Vet yesterday and he says he thinks it's a heart problem. Possibly a murmur. He thinks this because these episodes always happen when she is awaking from sleep. He thinks her heart slows down when she is sleeping and then when she gets up she has poor blood circulation causing her legs to be useless. I wanted to get your opinion on this. He is certain these are not seizures because she is always alert when she is having them and because she recovers so quickly from them. He wants to do an ultrasound, xrays, blood work. What do you think?
Expert:  NancyH replied 10 years ago.
It could be a heart issue of course.
But seizures do not always result in a loss of conciousness or last a long time.
One thing you can check is to see if her feet are cold indicating circulation loss. You can also look at her gums and tongue and see if where they are pink they look blue or white or if when you press on a pink spot see if the color comes back or not.
Labs of this age can have thyroid issues which can trigger a seizure so that is something to consider.
You might ask your vet about a referral to a neurologist as a specialist sees these kinds of things far more often than a general practitioner and so might be able to pinpoint a problem much faster.
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