acute collapse in dogs

Acute Collapse in Dogs

Overview of Acute Collapse in Dogs

Acute collapse is a sudden loss of strength causing your dog to fall and be unable to rise. In acute collapse, your pet falls to the ground either into a sitting position (hind limb collapse) or a lying position (complete collapse). Some dogs that suddenly collapse will actually lose consciousness. This is called fainting or syncope. Some dogs recover very quickly and look essentially normal just seconds to minutes after collapsing, whereas others stay in the collapsed state until helped.

Acute collapse is usually caused by a disorder of one of the following:

Diagnosis of Acute Collapse in Dogs

Veterinary care should include diagnostic tests to determine the cause of acute collapse so that subsequent treatment recommendations are specific and most likely to be successful.

There are dozens of diseases that can cause acute collapse. In order to pinpoint which is responsible, your veterinarian may perform one or more of the following evaluations:

Treatment of Dogs with Acute Collapse

Treatment of acute collapse is dependent upon the underlying cause. Initially, emergency treatments may be necessary if the blood pressure is too low or if bleeding has occurred. The following are possible treatment options that your veterinarian may choose to implement.

Home Care

In-depth Information on Acute Collapse in Dogs

A collapse may involve extreme weakness of the front or rear limbs, falling to the ground, or unconsciousness, in which case the dog does not respond to sound or touch. The severity and symptoms are often related to the cause of collapse.

Often consciousness is maintained, but the dog has an expression of confusion or anxiety or a “glassy-eyed” appearance. The collapse may last for only a few seconds, or it may take many minutes to hours before your pet can stand again.

Numerous diseases can cause acute collapse. Often a disease is fairly advanced when something this extreme occurs. However, there may not have been prior symptoms.

Causes of Collapsing in Dogs

Examples of illnesses that may cause canine collapse include:

Diagnosis In-depth

If your pet is still in a collapsed state when he is brought to the veterinarian, tests will be done immediately and hospitalization with continuous monitoring may be recommended, particularly if the situation is perceived as life threatening.

Your veterinarian will determine the underlying problem and the immediate threat it poses to your pet. Alternatively, if your pet’s condition improves spontaneously, and your dog seems well when you reach the veterinary hospital, tests will still be performed. These will be aimed at determining the cause of the problem in order to assess the risk of future collapse and to see whether medication is warranted.

Numerous diseases can lead to acute collapse. Therefore, your veterinarian may perform one or more of the following tests:

Treatment In-depth

At the time of initial collapse, it is best to go immediately to the nearest veterinarian rather than spend time on “life-saving” measures. Inappropriate cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), for example, can be ineffective and cause internal organ damage if done improperly.

The most beneficial treatment for acute collapse is the elimination of its cause. Finding the cause can be complicated and time-consuming because so many potential explanations are possible. Therefore, treatments often are general (“supportive”) at first and then become more specific as new information is obtained from test results.

The following are examples of treatments the veterinarian may provide.

Many of the diseases that cause acute collapse are progressive, which means they can get worse. Once a diagnosis has been reached and the cause of collapse is known, you should discuss with your veterinarian the frequency of rechecks.

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Acute Collapse

Follow-up care may include: