I think my dog had a seizure or a stroke – what happened?

Our question this week was:
I just had an episode happen with my 5-year-old Maltese and I’m not sure what it was. I thought maybe a stroke or a seizure but in reading the symptoms of those two diseases it doesn’t seem to be that.

He was laying on his side and I was petting his belly. He tried to get up but his back legs were not working he jumped over me and landed next to me. He was sitting up right but he wasn’t moving, his eyes were open and it looked like he was trying to look and react but he couldn’t.

I was screaming his name and he was slightly twitching. He finally came to and when I picked him up and tried to put him on the floor his back legs again were limp. He seems to be fine now and back to normal but it scared me and I don’t want it to happen again.

What can I do? Do you have any idea what this might have been. Like I said I thought maybe a seizure or stroke but I am not sure. Help!

Jennifer Matthies

Answer
Hi – thanks for your email Jennifer. You wrote that your dog had a brief episode where he tried to get up, wasn’t moving, his eyes were open and it looked like he was trying to look and react but he couldn’t and he was slightly twitching. He finally seems to be fine now.

I’m not sure what happened but I think it could have been a seizure. Seizures can look many different ways in dogs and this may have been one type. Strokes are relatively uncommon in dogs and often are associated with permanent damage (he would not be “fine” now).

If it was a seizure, there are many underlying causes for seizures. Toxins, trauma, epilepsy, cancer, infections and metabolic disease can all cause seizures.

What I recommend is that you take your dog to your local veterinarian and let him or her do a complete examination. They may also want to do blood work to determine if there are any abnormalities.

An article that might be helpful to you is Seizure Disorders.

Regards,

Dr. Debra

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