My dog just had a seizure for the first time – what should I do?

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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – Our 13-year-old male Chihuahua had an episode today. This has never taken place before to our knowledge. He just fell down and was nonresponsive, drooling and his breathing was very shallow.

It took a good 10 minutes before he was alert and by 20 minutes he could move his limbs again. It took a good 30 minutes before he would walk again.

After a good hour he was back to normal, running and barking. What happened?

Paul and Lisa Maxson

Answer

Hi – thanks for your email. Sorry to hear about your dog’s “episode”. It is hard to know 100% what happened but it sounds like he either collapsed or had a seizure. Some dogs can collapse, have syncope or have a seizure. The way that he was slow to come out of it and how he is normal now – makes me lean more toward the episode being due to a seizure.

I recommend that you read a few articles and see if any of them fit with what your dog did or is doing now. Read Seizure DisordersAcute Collapse in Dogs and Syncope in Dogs.

The fact that he is acting normal now is very good. Make sure his color (gum color) is pink and that he is not having any difficulty breathing.

To be safest, I’d recommend that you take him to your veterinarian for an evaluation. If it was a seizure, the question is why. Some dogs will seizure from metabolic disease and others from cancer.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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