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Acute Seizure in a Dog

Erin Y. Akin, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), Bush Veterinary Neurology Service, Woodstock, Georgia


|January 2017|Peer Reviewed

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A 7-year-old spayed golden retriever is presented after a seizure lasting 30 to 60 seconds. During the seizure, the dog fell onto her left side and paddled her legs; her head and neck were extended, she appeared to be unconscious and unresponsive, and she urinated. Salivation was profuse. After the seizure, the dog vomited, appeared blind and disoriented, and paced around the house. One hour later, she returned to normal and had a ravenous appetite.

The patient has no history of seizures, but on further questioning, the owner reports the dog recently has been less active and appears to stare off into space. To the owner's knowledge, the dog has not gotten into any toxins, and there is no history of diarrhea, coughing, or sneezing. Appetite is inconsistent but good—normal for this patient. There is no out-of-state travel history, and the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite preventives. There is no major medical history other than a right cranial cruciate ligament rupture that was surgically repaired via tibial plateau-leveling osteotomy 3 years prior.

Physical examination findings are unremarkable, and vital parameters are within reference range. A detailed neurologic examination is unremarkable and reveals no neurologic deficits. The dog is visual. The owner agrees to CBC, serum chemistry profile, urinalysis, and a thyroid panel; all are unremarkable and fall within reference range. Considerations include structural brain disease and idiopathic epilepsy. Metabolic and systemic diseases that can cause seizures are considered less likely based on diagnostic testing results.


Case Route 1

To monitor the dog for the rest of the day, begin treatment with oral anticonvulsant medication, and send her home for further monitoring.

Case Route 2

To perform a preanesthetic workup and brain MRI, +/- CSF tap and analysis, +/- infectious disease testing.

References and Author Information

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