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October 29, 2011


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My friend Veej in Wisconsin referred me to you. You have helped her with her cats. I have had my little chihuahua (female, about 4 or 5 years old, weighs approx. 7 lbs)---she is having seizures. Today she had 2 back to back, first time for that. I live in NM & the seizures have started about 18 months ago & seem to have been limited to the cooler temp. time. My vet said that not to worry about it, but I am. She urinates while seizing, her back legs totally go out, today all 4 went out & during the second seizure she fell over. I am worried. Do you have any information you can give me to help her? I have had her since she was little & weighed 14 oz. & she had bronchitis. She was abandoned by a family. She is a lap dog & very sweet. Thank you. Holly Bawcum, 505-604-6110, holhill@yahoo.com


Hello, Holly,

I can only give you the general guidelines that I follow, as per what the neurologists have recommended to me. I am certainly not a neurologist, nor an internal medicine specialist. Without actually seeing your pet, I cannot really give you definite advice.

Seizures are caused by something (often impossible to determine what) having a bad effect on the brain tissue, which is the body's "electrical switchboard". Each seizure can cause additional damage. Thus, while some dogs have one seizure and never have another one, the typical course is for the seizures to gradually become more severe, longer lasting, and more frequent.

Because of this, some neurologists have recommended starting anti-convulsant medicines if a dog has had three seizures, no matter how far apart they are. While this may prevent further damage, it seems a bit much to start twice-a-day, every day, medicine if a dog is having a mild seizure lasting 10 seconds, once every year or two.

We always start by checking a blood chemistry panel to be sure that there are no obvious problems with liver, kidney, blood sugar, or electrolytes. If this is normal, I ask the owner to keep a log, noting every seizure's date, form, length, time to full recovery, and the circumstances that preceded the seizure.

If seizures are coming frequently (every couple of months), if they are severe, if they are long-lasting (minutes), if they won't stop without medical treatment, or if we have cluster seizures, we start anti-convulsant medicines.

A cluster seizure means that you are having multiple seizures in a day, or seizures daily for a few days. This is always an indication to start medication, in my opinion.

Does two seizures in a day constitute a cluster? I can't answer that for you, but I would ask your veterinarian to re-examine your dog and re-evaluate her case in light of this new information.

If he/she is uncertain as to the best course, or if you are not satisfied with their explanation, you could ask for a referral to a specialist.

It sounds like these are new developments. If your veterinarian is not aware of all the data, it is hard to make a good recommendation. Do get in touch with your veterinarian again.

Good luck.


I love ingenuity in solving problems! This was fun to read.

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