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My dog had a horrible seizure

Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17031 replies159 threads Senior Member
Today I was at home, on my computer basically surfing, on the recliner in my bedroom. Kitty was sleeping peacefully on the bed and my 13.5 year old golden doodle was snoring on the floor in my adjacent bathroom. All of a sudden I became aware that the dog was standing up, and all four limbs were shaking. I started up, and then he dropped, having violent convulsions, eyes rolled back in his head, making horrible sounds. I thought "did he eat something poisonous?" I started calling out his name, thinking I might shock him out of it, but he just kept seizing, his legs "swimming," his body convulsing, foam coming out of his mouth. It was horrible horrible horrible. I am a seasoned RN who has seen human beings code and die, and I've stayed cool as a cucumber and went about the business of trying to save a life. This time, I FREAKED. I started crying, thinking this sweet and loyal friend was going to die on my bathroom floor. After 3 or so minutes, he finally stopped. He eventually stood up and walked drunkenly to the corner of my bedroom and stared at the wall.

DH had just gotten home from the airport in time to hear me crying and to see the dog as he came out of it.

We took him to the doggie ER and by the time we got there, he seemed okay. The vet said that at his age, it could be due to a few different things, a brain tumor or something "intracranial" the first that came to mind. We were discharged with instructions to keep an eye on him and if he seizes again, to bring him back for hospitalization and IV drug management.

Have any of you experienced anything like this? What was the outcome?

I'll be honest, this dog barks a LOT and has been the source of much frustration, but today I felt so horrible seeing him suffer like this. I know he is old, but thought he had a couple of years left in him.

Input, even if bad, would be appreciated.
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Replies to: My dog had a horrible seizure

  • MomofWildChildMomofWildChild 22763 replies192 threads Senior Member
    I am so sorry. What a horrible thing to go through. That is a pretty old doggie, though. I hope it doesn’t repeat.
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  • thumper1thumper1 75258 replies3300 threads Senior Member
    We had a sweet cocker spaniel....Thumper...who had a seizure disorder. He took phenobarbital daily for about his last six or seven years. I don’t recall anynextensive testing being done...our vet prescribed this...and told us he hoped it worked. He may have had one or two additional seizures but he lived a nice long life.
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  • AltrasAltras 354 replies6 threads Member
    Yes. Had it happen to a Golden. Out of the blue. Similar scenario...went to the ER, post ictal for a while, then fully recovered and never seized again. Never found a cause. Tumor and other possibilities as the vet told you. Dogs eating grass sprayed recently with pesticides can do it too. Our dog died a couple years later (about 10 yo) of a neurodegenerative disorder.
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  • 1214mom1214mom 4594 replies184 threads Senior Member
    Nothing helpful to add. We have a Bengal cat, and very occasionally she will have what seems like a mild seizure, where she seems kind of loopy/unstable for maybe 15-30 seconds, and then she’s fine. We have taken her to the doc, but short of doing very expensive tests, there’s not much they can and do for her. She’s about 10 years old, and other than that she’s fine, so we haven’t done anything about them.
    But she doesn’t foam at the mouth or anything near as scary as what you’re describing. I hope you pup is OK.
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  • bajammbajamm 1660 replies19 threads Senior Member
    We had a "speagle" a beagle spaniel mix that did this at 13ish years of age. We had adopted her when she was 3, so unsure what her early life was like, other than she seemed well taken care of.

    One Sunday afternoon, a week or two before Easter, I took her out for her afternoon walk and she did this while still in our back yard. It stopped, so I took her in. It happened several more times inside. I got her back out to the back yard and just sat with her while she continued to seize, then rest, then seize again. She was my daughter's dog and D was not at home. It was during D's Jr year of high school.

    The dog had shown no signs of being sick before this, just slowing down and not as able to do stairs and her walks shortened, but it was relentless that afternoon.

    When D got home I had to explain what was going on. We took the dog in to the doggie ER. The vet told us all sorts of treatment plans, all of which would cost thousands. I asked the vet what she would do if it was her dog and she just looked at me without answering. So, I asked if putting the dog down was an option (the vet had not mentioned it) and she then said that is what she would do if she were in our situation. SO, that is what we did.

    I do not remember the actual dx, that was 9 years ago.
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39065 replies469 threads Senior Member
    Toledo, apparently, that was happening often enough that the FDA issued a warning:

    https://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm620934.htm

    @Nrdsb4 - so sorry to hear that. Hope it was a once in a blue moon occurrence.
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  • tx5athometx5athome 3890 replies5 threads Senior Member
    I read recently that xylitol is toxic to dogs. Is it possible he consumed anything with that?
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  • Thelma2Thelma2 2589 replies49 threads Senior Member
    Unfortunately, yes. We had a Hungarian Vizsla that had his first epileptic seizure at the age of 6 months. He was treated successfully with phenobarbital for some time so that might be a good protocol for your guy if it happens again. Our only issue on it was adjusting as he grew, as he would have break out seizures. But being an adult, if you guy goes on it, it may do the trick.

    We did not have luck with Potassium Bromide with epilepsy.

    Seizures are very scary. Preacher had grand mal seizures with the foaming of the mouth and usually incontinence, but not every time. Do you have other dogs?
    I ask because you never know how another dog might react.
    we had two others. Our German Shepherd was so scared when the Vizsla would seize and she would go as far from him as possible. But our German Short Haired pointer, who was his best buddy and the sweetest and gentlest dog would attack his front legs so we always had to secure the GSP when the HV had a break out seizure and keep him kenneled until the HV had completely come around.

    Good luck and I am so sorry you and your sweet pup had to experience this.

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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17031 replies159 threads Senior Member
    I read recently that xylitol is toxic to dogs. Is it possible he consumed anything with that?

    I don't think so. I had some pizza and gave him some of the crusts; possible something in that? I usually don't give him people food unless it's a bit of steak or chicken. But who knows. He did get into our trash can a couple of days ago, and I have no idea what he got a hold of. But honestly, that was several days ago, so doesn't seem likely to be the culprit.
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  • jym626jym626 55863 replies2907 threads Senior Member
    We used to dogsit for a friend’s dog she developed seizures in her later years. They chose not to do extensive testing to identify the cause, but the dog was maintained on anticonvulsants to treat the symptoms and she did not have b=very many subsequent seizures. So sorry for you and your pup.
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  • VaBluebirdVaBluebird 3328 replies235 threads Senior Member
    edited January 26
    I'm so sorry. That is so scary. I hope your dog will be okay.
    edited January 26
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  • gosmomgosmom 1925 replies56 threads Senior Member
    After the rains in CA last week, there was an abundance of mushrooms popping up. Sadly, two dogs in the 'hood died from consuming them....and owners reported dogs seized big time before they died. Hope you are not in the mushroom areas....poor doggie.
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17031 replies159 threads Senior Member
    No mushrooms here. That's terrible, though. ;(
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 39065 replies469 threads Senior Member
    Back in the day when our late GSD was still a puppy, he found a lawn 'shroom... he dropped like he was going to die, foaming at the mouth. This was in the pre-Google days, so yellow pages to the rescue... by the time I was able to find the phone number of an emergency vet, the pup sprung up and began running around in the yard like nothing bad ever happened. We never visited the emergency vet, and our regular vet gave him a clean bill of health. Go figure.

    Hope your dog is going to be OK.
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  • powercropperpowercropper 1673 replies72 threads Senior Member
    Our dog also had a seizure out of the blue, after switching flea/tick meds.

    We went back to the most basic flea med (no tick control since dog is older and is not out much besides a short walk). No more seizures.

    So sorry for you and your dog. Hopeful that this is a one time experience.
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  • LizardlyLizardly 2507 replies11 threads Senior Member
    One of my cats suffered something that looked like a seizure or stroke. He usually came when I called at a certain time of day to eat. This time he didn't so I went looking and found him hiding in a bush. He would meow at me but not come. I scooped him up and brought him in and noticed that only one side of his body was working. Took him to the vet who gave him a steroid and a rec for a specialist. The specialist said he could do a CAT scan (haha), but it would require sedation (which might kill the cat) and cost lots of $$$. And would likely be inconclusive. I went back to the original vet, who took the cat's BP, said she would monitor him in a more basic, low cost way, and gave him more steroids. The cat got better on his own, never had another incident, and ten years have passed. We never figured out what happened.

    Think about what the dog has been eating and what he might have been exposed to in the environment. I hope it is just an isolated incident. You may have to think about how much you are willing to spend and do. I am so sorry.That was scary.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8529 replies91 threads Senior Member
    edited January 27
    One of our dogs had four or five such seizures after age 10. Twice I put my hand in his mouth to assure that he wouldn't bite or swallow his tongue. Don't do this as it will result in multiple puncture wounds to one's hand.

    Never determined the cause. This dog ran with a pack of coyotes anytime he could get loose. Usually ran for about 12 or 13 hours overnight, sometimes stayed gone for 24 hours. My suspicion is that ate some poison intended for coyotes.

    Definitely not a pleasant experience.

    P.S. Although the seizures occurred over 5 years ago & that dog has now passed, just reading the title of this thread brought tears to my eyes.
    edited January 27
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  • Nrdsb4Nrdsb4 17031 replies159 threads Senior Member
    edited January 27
    @Publisher, I told the vet that the seizure was so long that I had worried about his airway and/or just oxygenation in general. She told me under no circumstances to try to clear his airway as it was likely I could be bitten.

    She also tried to assure me that even though it was horrible suffering from my perspective, that it is almost certain that he was completely unaware of what was happening. At the time, it seemed like he was aware and just unable to do anything about it. Logically, her assertion seems more likely.

    He didn't have another last night unless it was during the middle of the night. He sleeps in a crate downstairs, while our bedroom is upstairs.

    Thanks for the various stories. Our dog has not had any changes in heartworm medications. He has been on several meds for a pinched nerve in his spine. One of them, Gabapentin, is sometimes used in dogs to prevent seizures! None of the others is known to cause seizures in dogs.
    edited January 27
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