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Stimulus sensitive seizures.

Species: Dog
Breed: pomerainean mix
Age: More than 15 ye
Hello, My dog is part pomerainean and part something else. He is about 25lbs. He is also 16+ years old. He is starting to show his aging more and more. He has some hip displacment , getting cateracts i believe he also cant hear very well. For the last year or so he seems at times to have trouble keeping his balance and walking a straight line. Like he is being pulled to one side. All that being said the main reason i am contacting you is this. About a year ago i was playing my electric guitar kinda loud and all of the sudden rambo started freaking out. He was barking wildly and flopping around on the ground. His heart was beating very hard and fast also. I took him to the emergency vet and they told me he probably had a siezure and to just watch him. Then about 3 months ago while my wife was running the vacume he had another episode like the first one. These siezures or what ever they are last around 45 minutes from start to finish . Then today i was outside cutting a piece of wood with a skillsaw and boom, he went into another episode. Running around barking wildly , running into things, flopping around on the floor. He actually cut his lip open this time because he was banging his head on the wall before i could get to him. Its becomming very apparent to me now that these seizures are being brought on because of loud noises. Wich is a little wierd because as i said he is almost deaf. He has not had such an episode without there being a loud noise first. He almost never barks normally either. Does that seem possible to you that loud noises could trigger these episodes? Also i am wondering if maybe this could also be connected some how to his equilibrium problem. Like maybe he might have an ear infection and the loud noise maybe hurts his ear so much it causes a siezure? Obviously you would probably wonder why i dont just take him to the vet to check. When i took him to the emergency vet i mentioned that possibility to him and he said he did not see an ear infection. But it didnt seem to me that he really checked his ear that closely for the $250 he charged me. I just want to know another opinion. Right now i am not working so my money is kinda tight. Thats not to say i cant come up with a little for the vet.. So tell me what you think...Thanks

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Aw, poor little Rambo. It sounds like these episodes are very unsettling.

What you are describing sounds like something that we call "Stimulus-sensitive seizures". In dogs, the most common reason for a stimulus sensitive seizure is some type of noise. In people, this type of seizure can be triggered by flashing lights (like strobe lights for example).

It's interesting that some noises will set him off even though he is deaf. My guess is that he can still hear certain frequencies and this is what is setting off the seizures.

He may be able to be helped with an anti-seizure medication such as phenobarbital.

There is a possibility that his seizures could be caused by a tumor in his brain. Unfortunately if this is the case then the phenobarbital may only help temporarily.

I hope he is feeling better soon!

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. 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:

Just 1 more quick question , about his problem with his eqilibiam , could that be caused by an ear infection?

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

While an inner ear infection can cause equilibrium problems, it really shouldn't cause the seizures that you are describing. Seizures originate from the cortex which is kind of like the outer covering of the brain, and an infection inside the ear shouldn't cause seizures.

One possible connection is if there was a tumor in the middle ear that was also affecting the cortex of the brain. But this is really not very common!

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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.