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Seizures and vomiting.

Species: Dog
Breed: mixed Aussie cow dog
Age: 2-5 years
Sunday 11 pm to midnight Klyde had his first gran mal seizure during which he urinated, defecated, and foamed at the mouth. After an extended period of rapid breathing and heartbeat, and signs of weakness and disorientation he seemed okay. The feces had a hard, dark mass that looked like a bundle of sticks or twigs in it.

Between midnight and 7 am he had another seizure after which he vomited a great deal of what appeared to be dog food partially digested and again had rapid breathing and heartbeat for a long time and seemed in distress.

About 7 am he had another gran mal seizure, after which he vomited a cup or so of liquid appearing to be dog food like and again was breathing rapidly for at least half an hour.

Then he got up and went outside, urinated, and came back in. Seemed tired but okay. Perhaps an hour to 30 min later he went outside with me and we walked the ranch looking for what he might have eaten, during which time he seemed subdued but otherwise normal. On returning inside he took a small drink of water.

At 2 pm Monday he had another gran mal seizure. He has now had about five more seizures (it is 4 pm Tuesday here) several hours apart. He seems to have them when he is sleeping - in the afternoon/evening/night hours. He has a seizure, then vomits or retches ineffectively, and has rapid breathing and heartbeat for at least half an hour afterward.

Although yesterday he seemed fine between seizures he is now wobbly, bumping into things and seems weak and somewhat disoriented, possibly having vision problems. He is drinking water and has even eaten a small amount of dry dog food although he later vomited it up. He has not had a bowel movement since the first seizure.

I am a former vet tech and have also worked at animal shelters. My initial thought was that this was a poisoning of some type. We live on a ranch in Southern New Mexico and have rattlesnakes, tarantulas, coyotes and other wildlife. However, there is no swelling, tenderness or any sign of a wound.

Klyde has always been a rather anxious dog, easily startled or frightened and with a lot of seperation anxiety which has been made worse with the death of his "mom" three years ago, and recently his "dad" had a stroke and was in the hospital for a week. Klyde is very attached to me. Right now he stays within a few feet of me at all times, and until his "dad"(Dave) left for work today he wanted us both in one room right next to him. He cried and was very upset when Dave had to leave. Much more so than usual. My second thought is this may be epilepsy?

This could not have happened at a worse time for us financially. There is no way we can take him to a vet until Friday at the earliest as we do not have any cash. None. Our reserves are long gone after Dave's illness kept him from working for three months. He only recently returned to work.

Do you have any advice on how we can keep Klyde at least comfortable until Friday, and/or any ideas what this could be?

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Summer...I am so sorry to hear that you and Klyde are going through this hard time.

It certainly does sound like Klyede is having seizures. It is normal to notice a dog being a little bit "out of it" for several hours after a seizure.

There are several possible causes for seizures. While epilepsy is possible, it is a little bit unusual to see this many seizures in such a short time. It makes me a little bit more concerned about some type of toxin (although epilepsy is still possible). Here is a list of things that can cause seizures if ingested:

Japanese Yew (ever green like bush with red berries)
Metaldehyde snail bait
methomyl fly bait
organophosphates (like systemic insecticides disyston or disulfaton)
strychnine
tremorgenic mycotoxins - sometimes seen in mushrooms on the ground
5FU (5 flurouracil) anticancer medication

If you think that Klyde has ingested any of these, let me know and I'll look them up for you to see if I can tell you what to expect.

Do you know if Klyde ever had a serious virus such as distemper when he was young? If so, some dogs can develop scarring in the brain which can cause seizures later on in life and this is very serious.

If it is epilepsy, unfortunately there is no test for it. If you are able to go to a vet they will do a blood profile to look for any obvious organ disease. If none is found they may decide to prescribe medications to help to stop the seizures. Unfortunately there is no medication or supplement that you can give at home that can help.

I have had a couple of cases of epilepsy that came on quite quickly with multiple seizures. Usually the dogs have done well once we got them stabilized, but most of the time I have had to hospitalize the dog and put them on a valium or phenobarbitol drip.

If you are having trouble getting finances for your visit you can try some of the resources seen here: (cut and paste this link into your browser):

http://askavetquestion.com/blog/?p=20

Until you can get him to a vet, the best thing you can do is to keep him as quiet as possible and avoid stress as any stressful event can make a seizure more likely.

I hope he does ok!

Dr. Marie.



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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.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much for your very kind and prompt reply. I wish I could send you a bonus but...well maybe later this month (I have a few different tiny Internet incomes).

Because we have both ranch dogs and barn cats we do not ever use poisons on our ranch. However, we can not control the people around us. Klyde usually stays close to the house but I know he has been over to at least one neighboring ranch (the owner took a shot at him but missed and then told me about it later!). Thus, the poisons you mentioned are not out of the question - especially the fly bait :( but we don't have them here. Some ranchers do use strychnine for coyotes, but as far as I know none of them near us do so.

We are on the high desert, so most of the plants and the mushrooms you mentioned are unlikely.

Some of the research I did last night suggested eating a toxic insect as a possibility. Klyde does eat bugs and we have quite a variety of them here in the desert.

Of the drugs you mentioned the only ones we have in the house are the anti-cancer drugs which belonged to his "mom". I've been over the house and if he got into anything like that there is no evidence of it, such as the bottle or label laying around chewed. Dave says none of them are anywhere he could get to them, and he has also recently disposed (as in down the toilet) of a lot of that old stuff.

I will have to ask Dave when he gets home about any major illness Klyde may have had as a puppy. I do know Klyde was adopted from the animal shelter. Dave will get home after 10 pm and I will find out then.

We have a bad storm blowing in and I need to get outside and feed. I will pass your information on to Dave. We will cross our fingers that it's a poison and he'll get it out of his system soon and be okay. Meanwhile, we'll keep the house dark and quiet and keep things calm and routine as possible for Klyde.

Thank you again for your kind reply. If you like, I'll let you know how things go.

Summer




Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome...don't worry at all about the bonus! I appreciate the thank you and that is good for me.

I really hope Klyde does ok!

Dr. Marie.



Customer reply:

Just wanted to let you know that Klyde has not had another seizure since 7 am yesterday morning. We all got a good nights sleep. He went out and fed with me this morning and outside of being rather more spooky than usual he seems just fine. Not wobbly at all. Thanks so much for helping to put my mind at ease. We seem to be out of the woods.

I did ask Dave about any infections and he told me they adopted him as a young puppy from the shelter. As far as he knows this is the first major illness of any kind. We talked about the poisons you mentioned and more or less concluded that someone else out here probably has fly bait or possibly strychnine for coyotes out. Not likely we'll get anyone to admit to that. Hopefully Klyde has learned his lesson about eating stuff he finds laying around.

This morning I've got a barn cat up a power pole and a mule gone walkabout after tearing down fence. I love living on a ranch ;) I have blogs and when I get time will definatly sit down and write a nice (and true) plug for your website and service with a link. The world needs more vets like you.

Thank you again

Summer


Customer reply:

Just wanted to let you know that Klyde has not had another seizure since 7 am yesterday morning. We all got a good nights sleep. He went out and fed with me this morning and outside of being rather more spooky than usual he seems just fine. Not wobbly at all. Thanks so much for helping to put my mind at ease. We seem to be out of the woods.

I did ask Dave about any infections and he told me they adopted him as a young puppy from the shelter. As far as he knows this is the first major illness of any kind. We talked about the poisons you mentioned and more or less concluded that someone else out here probably has fly bait or possibly strychnine for coyotes out. Not likely we'll get anyone to admit to that. Hopefully Klyde has learned his lesson about eating stuff he finds laying around.

This morning I've got a barn cat up a power pole and a mule gone walkabout after tearing down fence. I love living on a ranch ;) I have blogs and when I get time will definatly sit down and write a nice (and true) plug for your website and service with a link. The world needs more vets like you.

Thank you again

Summer


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks so much for the kind words and I am glad that Klyde is doing well!

It is a good idea to write the dates of his seizures on the callendar. This way if he does have another seizure (hopefully he doesn't) you will be able to remember how long ago it was that he had this bout.

Sounds like you have an interesting life!

I would greatly appreciate a mention on your blog!
Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. 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.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.