My King Charles Cavalier had a seizure and has a high WBC – Why?

Our question this week was:

My 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel had a seizure, we rushed him to our vet and we found he had a white blood cell (WBC) count of 21,000 and was placed on antibiotics. A repeat WBC was done 2 days later and it is up to 24,000. What could cause this?


Cindy Krueger


Hi – thanks for your email. Sorry to hear about the seizure. Seizures are relatively common in dogs and can occur for a variety of reasons. The question is – is the White Blood Cell (WBC) count related to the seizure or a totally separate issue. If you just look at the seizure – there are many causes from toxins, trauma, infections, metabolic disorders or epilepsy. The WBC count increase can be caused by inflammatory conditions or infections.

It is hard to know if the two abnormalities are related (seizure and elevated WBC).

This brings up a host of other questions. Was this the first seizure? Is your dog otherwise acting normal? If the seizure were caused by a severe underlying infection – I’d expect other neurologic signs besides one seizure or other symptoms (such as not eating, vomiting, etc).

I’d recommend giving the antibiotic and rechecking with your vet. I’d carefully monitor for any physical abnormalities including additional seizures, lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, lethargy as well as any neurological signs such as loss of balance.

A couple articles that might be helpful to you are Seizure Disorders,Idiopathic Epilepsy in Dogs and Understanding Blood Work: The Complete Blood Count (CBC) for Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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