Long time no post! I know this is long, but please bear with me on this important topic. Any advice is MUCH appreciated. Thanks in advance.
I got a big scare around 4:30 AM this morning. My 3 yr old retriever mix (Eve) may have had a mild seizure this morning. I was woken up to thrashing around, which at first I thought was Eve playing (or possibly fighting) with my other dog, Cinnamon. When I turned the light on, it was just Eve thrashing around on the floor, kicking her legs around. I have seen them both do this while dreaming, but to a lesser degree, and they easily snap out of it when I call their names. This was different, since her eyes were open, but she looked completely out of it. I grabbed her and tried to stand her upright, but she fell back over. It was like she was totally disoriented and could not keep her balance. Sort of just flopping around. I picked her up and took her to her water bowl (didn't want any), and after a minute or so (felt like forever though) she stopped, but had a frightened look in her eyes. There was no foaming at the mouth, urination, defecation, and her muscles did not seem tense/tight. She just seemed like she had no control over her movements and balance. Today I have fed and watered her as usual, but have kept her very calm. She is usually a very energetic (borderline annoying sometimes) dog. Very bouncy and playful. Today she seems content to sleep all day.
Of course, a little of this could be in my head (I'm a worrywart), and the event may be a little clouded by grogginess from being woken from a deep sleep at 4:30 AM. However, my gut tells me there's a good possibility it was a seizure, since she just seemed so completely out of it, and I've never seen either dog act like this. Another thing - I checked her gums afterwards and they seemed paler than usual.
Anyway, she's up-to-date on vaccinations and heartworm meds. I took her to the beach last night, so there is a possibility she picked something up out there, or simply ingested too much sand or salt water. I find this doubtful, though, as she goes to the beach ALL the time and has never had any problems like this before.
I've done a little research today on epilepsy, and I guess she may need an MRI or CSF done if this keeps up. Anyone know how much these tests generally run? I plan on taking her to my vet tomorrow for a check up and blood tests as a preliminary step (rather than the MRI after just one "possilbe" seizure).
What do you think? Does it sound like a seizure to you, or could it be something else? What are some other things that can cause seizures? Anything I can look for? Signs, physical or behavioral symptoms? What can I do to prevent and/or help in the case of another episode? What are the expected costs of MRIs and other associated procedures?
Sorry for all the questions, I'm just a concerned mom. Any help is appreciated. Any helpful websites would work too.
It sure does sound like a seizure. My last dog, Oreo, a lab/beagle mix had exactly the same thing happen as what you described. I took him to the vet, and they checked him out and he was normal, so all they told me to do was keep a log as to when it happens. If they happen frequently (more than 1-2 times a week) they'll probably put him on meds. Otherwise, they won't do anything unless it really starts to affect their quality of life. They did tell me that labs/lab mixes are prone to epilepsy. For your peace of mind, though, take him to the vet.
Cinnaeve, I'm not sure where you are located...but vet costs are different everywhere. Before you take her in, call a few places and see what they'd bill for those procedures. Many vets will try a mild medication before doing such extensive imaging.
A dog seizure may be described as a sudden attack, spasm or convulsion. It is an abnormally-occurring, involuntary behavior.
Seizures are the result of muscle responses to an abnormal nerve-signal burst from the brain. It's a symptom of an underlying neurological dysfunction.
Seizure in dog may be caused by different factors and the first step in diagnosis is determining whether the cause is from within the brain, as with infection or trauma, or outside of the brain, as with external poisons, low blood sugar or circulating metabolic toxins. A blood test or ophthalmic exam can be performed to determine this.
Here are the various types of seizures a dog may experience:
MILD: this can be a simple as momentarily staring into space, or upward eye movement.
MODERATE: the dog falls down, loses consciousness and extends its limbs rigidly. Paddling of limbs, salivation followed by possible loss of control of bladder and bowels and vocalization (blood curdling scream) may follow. This may occur for 1-3 minutes and is most often followed by a period of restlessness, pacing, bumping into objects and loss of balance. (Post Ictal period) The dog is conscious but may appear deaf, blind and disoriented. Great care must be taken to prevent the dog from injuring itself at this time.
STATUS EPILEPTICUS: Status can occur as one continuous dog seizure lasting 10 minutes or more, or a series of multiple seizures in a short time with no period of normal consciousness, this may be life threatening.
CLUSTER SEIZURES: Multiple seizures within a 24-hour period time, may also be life threatening. It is often difficult to distinguish between the two types and veterinarian assistance is imperative.
THE PANDROME: may precede the seizure by hours or days. It is characterized by changes in mood or behavior.
THE AURA: signals the start of a dog seizure. Nervousness, whining, trembling, salivation, affection, wandering, restlessness, hiding and apprehension are all signals.
THE ICTUS: A period of intense physical activity usually lasting 45 seconds to 3 minutes. The dog may lose consciousness and fall to the ground. There may be teeth gnashing, frantic thrashing of limbs, excessive drooling, vocalizing, paddling of feet, uncontrollable urination and defecation.
THE POST ICTUS: after the seizure, the dog may pace endlessly, appear blind and deaf and eat or drink excessively.
Pets aged one to five typically have no cause to the seizures and are labeled epileptic. Epilepsy is a term which simply means seizure disorder. Certain dog breeds are more prone to epilepsy, including Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Collies and Schnauzers. Epileptic pets may be prescribed medication to help suppress frequent dog seizures.