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He is trembling, then losing his balance & then falls

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He is trembling, then...

He is trembling, then losing his balance & then falls forward and can’t get up on his own. When we stand him up he can’t keep his balance without his back legs spread wide apart- he is has had about 6 episodes within the last two days.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the dog. What is the dog's name?

Bailey

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Bailey?

Oh and when he falls over he Goes stiff

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Dog
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1/21/2018
Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 6 months ago
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19,002
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

I am sorry to hear about Bailey's episodes of loss of balance, stiffness, falling over, and trembling.

  1. Does he seem normal between episodes?
  2. How old is Bailey?
  3. Do the episodes seem preceded by a particular activity (sleeping, excitement)?
  4. Is he eating and drinking normally?
  5. Has he ever done anything like this before?
  6. Does he have a history of a heart murmur or heart disease?
  7. Is he mentally aware during these episodes? Meaning does he seem aware of you talking to him and does he respond to his name?
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Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 6 months ago

These episodes sound very much like possible seizure episodes, especially if Bailey seems mentally unaware during the episodes.

Seizures are rhythmic, unintentional muscle movements which the dog is unable to control and often loses consciousness during. Many dogs will repeatedly have chewing and or paddling motions of their legs, drooling, be unable to walk normally, and in some cases can lose urine and stool control.

After a seizure a dog may be tired and a bit confused why they are and about the time period that they seem to have lost. They know something happened, but they have no memory of the episode. As you can imagine that is unsettling.

There can be several reasons for seizures.

The most common is idiopathic epilepsy. That means that we don't know why but a circuit of sensitive neurons in the brain gets stuck repeatedly firing. Epilepsy begins happening most commonly in dogs 6 months to 6 years of age. We do believe that there is a genetic basis for dogs to have epilepsy as certain breeds are more commonly afflicted and siblings will often have them as well. If mom carried some of the genetics for epilepsy she may not be affected. But if she bred with a male that also carried some of the genetics for epilepsy (and he may not have been affected either) then together if the wrong combination of genes resulted we could get puppies with epilepsy.

Other causes for seizures are viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections, toxin exposure, sensitivity to medications (like ivermectin in some heartworm preventions or certain types of flea control products), metabolic diseases leading to waste products building up and affecting brain chemistry, low blood sugar, hypothyroidism, or even granulomas or masses in the brain.

Most of the other disease processes that cause seizures cause other symptoms, those dogs are sick or abnormal other than during the seizure.

Some dogs with lower than normal seizure thresholds will seizure in response to being exposed to artificial colors, preservatives or gluten. So you might wish to feed him a diet without artificial dyes or flavors. Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets NeuroCare is formulated just for dogs that suffer from seizures.

Decreasing stress is also a way to avoid seizures so if you know an event will be stressful for him avoid it if possible. You can also use calming sprays such as DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) or pheromone impregnated collars to keep him calm.

Exercise should be kept at normal levels. Exercise is a great way to naturally relieve stress and increase positive endorphin levels in the brain.

In a patient with a possible seizure episode I would have your veterinarian examine him, check a biochemistry profile to look at organ health, a thyroid profile to make sure his thyroid function is normal, and a complete blood count. We do want to make sure there are no underlying problems.

If his seizures become more frequent than once a month or more than one happens in a day, even if it has been several months since the last one, I would discuss medication to prevent them. The reason for that is the likelihood of status epilepticus (one seizure after another) and possible brain damage is higher with those scenarios and we wish to avoid that.

If his episode was more of a fainting or syncope episode (where he just seemed to collapse and lose consciousness rather than rhythmic muscle movements) then he may have a heart condition. Your veterinarian can also examine him for any heart rhythm abnormalities and recommend medication to help.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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Dog Specialist: Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian replied 6 months ago

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****

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