Jump to content
BC Boards
Sue R

Elderly dog's possible seizure?

Recommended Posts

I'm hoping some dog friends can help me here - this morning, on the way back from the old dogs' shorter walk, I think Megan (who will turn sixteen in fifteen days) had a seizure. She's never had one before that we are aware of. Right in front of me, as we were standing while Shana gave treats to her horses, she fell down on her side, with her neck strongly contracted back, and lay there paddling her feet. She lay like that for a few moments, her feet stopped paddling, and then either she or I eased her head back to a more normal position, where she laid for another minute or two, initially whining as she breathed (not a "throat whine" but a "nose whine"). She stopped the whining and lay there a bit more, then rolled up on her chest, where we let her rest a couple of minutes before she got up with a little help from me, and we walked home. She acted on the way home like absolutely nothing had happened (and I've heard that dogs that have seized can do just that, walk off like nothing ever happened).

One of two things happened, I believe. Either she had a seizure or another dog bumped her rump and it knocked her over, and she hit her head on the road when she landed and/or had the breath knocked out of her. However, I did not see or notice another dog bump her - I thought they were all pretty stationary when this happened but I could have missed something. Or, less likely but possibly, her hind end gave out (which is not usual for her - it is her front end that occasionally fails) and she fell and hit her head.

Can anyone with experience give their opinion or advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like a seizure to me, Sue. We had a dog when I was a kid who had them. And I've witnessed them in humans several times. A spoonful of ice cream or honey, (anything that will go down the throat easily and is high in sugar) can help after the seizure is over. Blood sugar goes way down, and the sugar boost helps them feel better, sooner.

Sorry to hear that Megan is seizing. Scared the you-know-what out of me when I saw my dad have one, I was about 12. 

Recovery in humans, at least, is pretty quick. Hope Megan is feeling like herself!

Ruth & Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no! I hope she doesn't have a repeat episode.

 

Sounds like a seizure to me also. What you describe is very close to the grand mal seizures that Natt used to have. Natt's seizures were a bit stronger, and she didn't come out of them as rapidly  as Megan.

It can be very difficult to determine an exact cause for seizures. Based on Megan's history, it could be related to her age or her kidney issues.

Did you check to see if the pupils of her eyes were flicking back and forth? If so, it could be a seizure related to a vestibular incident. Although my understanding is that the dog may be unsteady on his/her feet for a period of time afterwards. Torque recently had a vestibular incident. I did not witness a 'seizure', but he was stumbling a bit on his feet all of a sudden, and when I brought him to the vet, she showed me his eyes slightly flicking back and forth. He was fine after a couple of days.

Sending positive vibes to Megan for a non-occurrence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have anything useful to add. I've only ever witnessed one known seizure in a dog and that one was, well, not the place to go into it now. Because I'm replying to wish you and Megan the best going forward.

One thing I will add is that if this had been my dog, I'd be looking into CBD oil, which is supposed to be good for seizures as well as many other things like arthritis. I'm seriously considering giving it to my own older guy (~12.5-15, though I think the lower end of this) just because.

Sure hope it was a fluke and that it'll never happen again.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Megan could walk ok after a brief rest it wasn't vestibular. Shonie had that and she had to have a harness on all the time. She gradually got better, over about 4-5 days, I think.

Ruth & Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is her heart? While I agree that it sounds like a seizure, my 16 1/2 year old Dachshund, Maggie, had what appeared to be a seizure but turned out to be congestive heart failure. She did have a heart murmur, but when the ER vet told me it was CHF, I was a bit taken aback. It looked very much like you describe and, to me, like some sort of seizure.

My Whippet began having occasional petit mal seizures many years before Maggie had her episode. I remember thinking it odd that my vet ordered Doppler imaging of his heart after his first seizure. Of course it wasn’t his heart, but after Maggie’s symptoms of CHF, I understood a bit more why my vet wanted to rule out a heart problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for replies! 

Doubt vestibular has anything to do with it - no eye movements or other eye or balance issues that would indicate that. 

She has had a mild heart murmur for about three years now. I had her scheduled for a tooth cleaning and that's when that was discovered, shortly after she was diagnosed with the kidney failure. 

Her kidney values have stayed reasonably consistent, with only a gentle trend towards worsening, over the 3 1/2 years since her diagnosis. I have had her on a home-prepared diet, following guidelines from the Yahoo group k9kidneydiet. 

I just got home a few minutes ago - she has been fine all day. Fingers and toes crossed that it's just a one-off but I know that could be wishful thinking. 

Again, thank you all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No advice from me, but I want to say I hope that she recovers fully and that the incident is not repeated. I would be terrified if that happened to my dog, and I am sorry that she and you experienced that. Here's hoping it was a one time thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fingers and toes crossed but so far she has not had any other episodes. 

She is having a bit of digestive issues today (diarrhea this morning, and a sluggish appetite occasionally lately, but I'll chalk that up to the long-standing kidney failure) but that seems to be resolving. 

We love them to get old because we hate to part with them, but old age comes with its own problems. Meanwhile, she'll be 16 on Sunday and is still doing quite well - she's an active, happy, and contented dog, and who could ask for more? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not much to add, but I had a dog once who had three seizures (that I'm aware of) that were very similar to what you describe.  They happened with no warning, lasted maybe a minute or two, and when they were over they were over.  She just got up and walked away like nothing had happened. All three seizures happened when the dog was between the age of 2 and 4, and I never witnessed another one after that, although given how quickly she recovered, she could have had other seizures while I was at work that I wasn't aware of.  The first one occurred while we were on a walk, and the other two occurred in the house.  I thought to offer her a little food after the second and third seizure, and she was ravenous - I didn't know about the effect of seizures on blood sugar at the time, but have read about it since, so as Ruth suggested, you might consider carrying a small packet or two of honey with you just in case. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sue, I have been around a lot of seizures.  Three of my own dogs had them.  Two were mild and didn't cause any problems.  And Joey has been good since going on meds. 

All the really old dogs that I have taken care of that had seizures died within a few hours.  It wasn't the seizure that killed them.   It was something fatal that triggered the seizure. 

So I would think that since your dog recovered quickly and has been doing well since is a very positive thing.  May have just been a thing.

With old dogs it is just day to day.  I am always grateful for every day they are still with me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/27/2018 at 1:43 PM, Sue R said:

 

We love them to get old because we hate to part with them, but old age comes with its own problems

This is so true. My Kit will be 17 in December, assuming she makes it to there. she is having a lot of trouble with her hind legs, although every morning she is perky and wants to go for her walk and play tug. As the day goes on it becomes more difficult for her to get up. It is, indeed, a very bittersweet time when the dog you love gets to this point. Best of luck to you and Megan, Sue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Megan had her third seizure this morning. She will be 16 1/2 years old next month.

None of her seizures have been long-lasting or what I would consider extreme. The first, which was in mid-August, was probably the worst in terms of time (maybe a minute) - she collapsed on her side, stiffened with her back contracted and head drawn towards her back, paddled, then began to softly whine as her body relaxed, her contraction went away, and she was shortly able to lie on her chest, then get up, and walk off, appearing within minutes as if nothing had happened.

About a month or so later, she had her second seizure, like the first in progression but milder - she collapsed, stiffened and contracted but not as much, didn't paddle, hardly whined, and came out of it in about half the time, walking home again as if nothing had happened.

This time was way different - she was eating her breakfast in her crate, totally normally, when I heard the crate rattle. I looked to see her having a bout of diarrhea and looking unsteady on her feet. I got her out of the crate and could see she was having trouble walking. She collapsed, contracted, paddled, then relaxed and whined gently, rolled over onto her check, and was able to get up. I got her outside and she had another, mucus-filled liquid movement. What I noticed was that she was very unsteady on her feet for about a minute.

I read where a dog having a seizure can poop or pee during the seizure, and also that he/she can drool, chomp, chew, or even bite their tongue. Fortunately, Megan has so far exhibited none of the "mouthy" symptoms other than the little bit of whining as she is coming out of the seizure.

Anyone else experienced this? I had just been quite pleased to think she hadn't had but the two seizures with the second being so mild, and it being six months or so since those happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sue, I have not experienced this. I just want to say that I feel for you and for Megan, going through this. If it were my dog I would find it very upsetting.

Sending you both good mojo and a gentle ear rub for Megan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When my Whippet had his first seizure, during the last part of it, he staggered toward the front door and urinated on the carpet. He remained dazed for a bit afterward. He only had maybe three seizures in 12-13 years. All the best to Meg.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am really sorry this is happening.  There are few things as upsetting as watching a grand mal seizure.  Blood sugar does drop tremendously during and after a seizure. Vanilla ice cream really helped my Australian shepherd, the honey packets are a good idea when you are away from home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sue, call and talk to your vet.  Grand mal siezures in old dogs are not epilepsy.   Something is causing those siezures.   The seizures are a symptom of some other problem. 

The vet might be able to give you something that can help.  Melatonin sometimes helps.  sometimes diet can help.

I think it is a good sign that she isn't having them very often.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I have talked to our vet about the first two seizures and will talk to her about this one. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let us know what oyu find out Sue.  At her age it is likely not epilespy, but a symptom of something else.  Given her kidney history and her age I'd be hesitant about putting her on any conventional seizure medication.  Losing control of bowel/bladder is pretty common during a seizure.  Is she restful the hours and night following a seizure?  If so that is good for you and her.  Echo the comments about the general usefulness of vanilla ice cream or honey for the blood sugar.  Melatonin and CBD oil are good if the seizures are followed by a period of restlessness or anxiety.  Expect also that she is essentally blind for several moments following a seizure.  I'm sorry to hear this, my border collie had epilespy and I don't wish that on any one's pup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did bring up whether or not the vet felt Megan would benefit from medication and, as you say, with her kidney issues and her age, the vet was not in favor of doing anything like that, especially since we've had only a few incidences spread out over several months, without lasting effects. 

I have to say I don't remember if she had a good night before or after but I don't remember her having a restless night recently so probably she had good nights. Between her and my other 16 year old, we virtually never have an unbroken night but we call it a good night if the potty trips are all that gets me up and there is no general restlessness, which seems to happen for one or the other occasionally. 

This is the first time she lost any bowel control and seemed quite as wobbly. Since I didn't have eyes on her, I didn't see just what happened before she soiled in her crate. I got her out of it and she walked about 6-8' before she dropped and seized. Once she was done with that, she was able to walk to the door and outside but was quite shaky on her feet, yet determined, as she had to continue emptying her bowels (which she was able to do outside). Once that was over, it was like nothing had ever happened, as usual. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The old dogs can be a real puzzle, and you may never get answers. At Megan's age and given the infrequency of the episodes I'd be inclined to just "treat" symptoms as they happen rather than try to prevent. Although some individual border collies are quite long lived, you need to consider that you're dealing with dogs at the end of their lives. For me, that means keeping them comfortable and trying to keep them safe. When Willow had her fainting spells (what I called them) she saw multiple vets and had all sorts of tests. She has a grade 5 murmur and some heart enlargement, but we even did an EKG and couldn't find any abnormalities. And yet, she "fainted." I had an epileptic so am well familiar with grand mal seizures. Although Willow would fall over, get stiff, and whine this weird high pitched whine, I never felt that she was having seizures per se. The few episodes Boy had were even more bizarre (he stopped breathing and I couldn't find a heartbeat, but then after what seemed like forever, I'd find his heartbeat and he'd be breathing again . Afterward, he was very weak, but the weakness didn't last long). My point is that although some diagnostics might be in order, if for no other reason than to rule out the obvious, I also believe that dogs go through things as they get toward end of life that are just inexplicable. It doesn't make it any easier to bear, but I think just being a calm presence and supporting however you can in the moment can be the most useful approach. I've had so many old ones, and they've all presented unique challenges.

J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...