Species: Dog Breed: Standard poodle Age: 8-11 years
I have a 9 year old standard poodle (neutured) that has had a seizure episode recently ( first one as far as we know). Prior to that he has had severe diarrhea throughout the entire day. When the blood tests were drawn the vet said that based on the results it's probably brain tumor (?) and that the dog was very dehydrated. When we were leaving the emergency room the doog had diarrea again (big time) and there was a bone (from lamb shank he snatched previously) in it of about the size of a quarter.
Is it possible to diagnose the brain tumor like that?
Is it possible to have a seizure episode as a result of a severe diarrea and dehydration?
Is it possible for it to be an epilepcy that late in life?
How urgent is it that we retest him again?
Here is the blood exam results, I am including only categories that are "off" and not including the categories that are normal.
TP - results: 8.4 g/dl reference range: 5.2-8.2
TBIL - results: 1.3 mg/dL reference range: 0.0-0.9
CHOL - results: 345 mg/dL reference range: 110-320
HCT - results: 57.2% reference range: 37.0-55.0
HGB - results: 18.8g/dL reference range: 12.0-18.0
pH(ven) - results: 7.46 reference range: 7.31-7.42
PCO2(ven)-results: 31.0mmHg reference range: 32.0-49.0
Na - results: 162 mmol/L reference range: 144.0-160.0
ALB - results: 4.0 g/dL reference range: 2.2-3.9
P.S. We gave the dog anti-worm medicine about 10 days prior to the accident and he has a nasty ear infection (did not give him antibiotics, were using anti-biotic cream). It has been 3 days since. The first day folliwing the accident he was very weak had obvious fever and has been doing better and better since. Now he is back to his active self, eating, drinking, urinating, playing normally. No fever.
PLEASE HELP!!! We have been worried sick since then. I feel like I am on an edge of a seizure myself :)
Dr. Marie replied:
Hi Anna. I am so sorry to hear that Malish is not doing well. While it is hard for me to comment accurately without actually seeing Malish I can give you my ideas on what you have written.
While epilepsy CAN possibly start at 9 years of age we usually start seeing seizures at a much younger age if a dog has epilepsy. This means that there is likely another cause other than epilepsy.
When we see an older dog who has a seizure we often do think of a brain tumor as a possible cause. Another possible cause is a serious issue with the liver or kidneys. But, the bloodwork doesn't show us any obvious liver or kidney issue. I have occasionally seen dogs who have liver or kidney cancer and don't have major elevations in bloodwork.
The bloodwork that you have given me shows what I would call mild dehydration. However, your vet has the capability of doing a physical exam and can determine if the dehydration was more severe.
Do we know for sure if what your dog had was actually a seizure? We can occasionally see dogs have issues with their heart that can look like a seizure. Dogs can have something called a syncopal episode which can cause either fainting or tremors or other things that look like a seizure. You may want to ask your vet about the possibility of this.
Then, there are some dogs who have a seizure once in their lives and never have another one again.
Unfortunately the only way to know for sure if there is a brain tumor is to do an MRI or CAT scan and those are quite pricey.
If this were my case, given that your dog is feeling well now I would likely monitor him for the next couple of weeks and then I would recommend rechecking his blood panel at that time just to make sure there aren't further changes. I would also recommend a urinalysis if this hasn't been done yet. Sometimes an indication of liver or kidney problems is evident on urine tests before we can see changes in bloodwork. It may also be a good idea to have some chest xrays done. This can tell us if the heart looks enlarged, and also your vet can look for evidence of cancer in the chest as some brain tumors can have metastasis (spread of cancer) to the chest.
I know it can be very scary to see your dog have a seizure. Keep a close eye on him and monitor to see if he is having more. It does sound like your vet is doing the things that I would do.
Feel free to respond if you have more questions. However, I will be heading to bed shortly and may not be able to respond until the morning.
Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.
Dr. Marie replied:
One other thing. I recently (just this week) wrote an article about seizures in dogs. It may be good information for you to read. You can find it at www.askavetquestion.com/seizures.php
Thank you for such a prompt answer. I know it's hard to say anthing without seeing a pet, however, forgetting the "seizure" for a moment - and just judging by the blood test - is there a clear indication of a possible cancer in the bloodwork?
The dilema I am in right now is that I have just purchased insurance and am planning to take Malish to a better clinic (hoping that there will be some reimbursement for the possible tests done), however, the insurance converage would not start in another two weeks. Should I forget everything and hurry in for the next blood test or would it wait two weeks?
Dr. Marie replied:
You're very welcome Anna!
There is no way to diagnose a brain tumor by looking at bloodwork. However, this is the logic that your vet is likely following: Malish is a little too old to have epilepsy...the bloodwork is not showing a liver or kidney toxicity so this is not a cause of the seizures...there is no low blood sugar so we can't blame the seizures on this. Unfortunately once we have ruled out those things there are not a lot of other things that can cause a seizure other than a brain tumor.
However, I have seen dogs that can just have a seizure for no known reason.
You may want to talk to your insurance company about Malish's situation. In most cases insurance will not cover any charges that are related to a condition that has already been either diagnosed or suggested at the time you purchase the policy. It's kind of like buying flood insurance two days after a flood has happened.
Your new vet will have to make notes on the record as to why they are doing the tests they are and as to what Malish's history is. The insurance company will likely want to see these notes before deciding whether to reimburse you.
It's worthwhile to talk to the insurance company first and find out whether or not they will cover the tests.
I really hope everything works out ok for you!
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Dr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.
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