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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 20729
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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dog: seizure, She was foaming at the mouth and convulsing..stumbling

Resolved Question:

My dog has had some kind of seizure, She was foaming at the mouth and convulsing. I got her out of the dog house and after a a minute or so she stopped. When she got up she was stumbling around and not hearing my voice. She is acting fine now but she still seems a little disoriented. She is a 9 year old boxer. What should i do or look for tonite to see if she is okay.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for the questionCustomer

In direct answer to your question : There is nothing you can do in this situation other than to reassure your dog and make sure she is comfortable. In the morning at the first opportunity you should have your vet check her over.

While I cannot diagnose this over the internet I can tell you the following :

1. Seizures in Boxers are usually the inherited form of epilepsy this is very common in your breed. However these generally start when the dog is quite young say between two and three years of age. For fits to start when a boxer is nine years of age may well mean that something else is going on.

2. Clearly your dog had a fit, another name for this is epilepsy and it occurs in the dog more frequently than you might think. I will tell you what I know about the situation :


Causes: There are basically two forms of epilepsy, one is the inherited form which is common in some breeds this is also called idiopathic epilepsy and the other is epilepsy which is secondary to some other disease situation or factor. Inherited epilepsy is present in certain dog breeds and in particular strains within those breeds. There is quite a list of susceptible breeds, I have commonly seen it myself in Alsatians and Golden Retrievers for example but as I said it is present in quite a few breeds including Boxers.


The secondary form could occur in situations such as brain cancers, trauma to the head, liver disease, kidney disease, low blood calcium, poisonings to name just a few situations. As I said the inherited form tends to first affect dogs when they are young, say between two or three years of age and the disease will be more or less static while the secondary form is usually progresses. The secondary form usually affects older dogs in my experience and the outlook is often very serious.


Symptoms: A classical description of an idiopathic epilepsy type fit would be as follows. There is a pre-fit period which is difficult to spot although it is said that other dogs in the house will notice it, the dog may be restless in this phase. The actual fit has a tonic phase where the dog goes all stiff, this is followed by a clonic phase where the dog paddles its feet and may salivate and whine. After the dog recovers there is normally a period of post-fit depression where the animal is sleepy and confused and may bump into things. This as I have said is the classical description but be aware this pattern may vary from dog to dog. Another feature is that the dog may have been sleeping or dreaming just prior to the onset of the fit. Once a dog has had an idiopathic type fit there is a likelihood that a pattern will develop and more fits will occur on a regular basis, say one a week or once every couple of months.


Diagnosis: In a normal vet practice Idiopathic epilepsy would be diagnosed by the clinical signs, the owner’s description and by eliminating the other possible causes by running diagnostic test such as blood assays etc.


Once the animal is stable it can then go drugs designed to prevent fits happening in the future { anti-convulsives } and some attempt can be made to diagnose the actual cause of the fits if this is possible.


If I have not covered your question fully enough or you would like to ask more I will be online for the next hour or so and I will be at your disposal.

Scott Nimmo BVMS MRCVS



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