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Possible Stress Related Seizures in shih tzu?

April 10th, 2006, 12:20 PM
Hey guys,
About a year and a half ago I posted here a few times regarding problems my shih tzu Toby was having and though, thankfully, those turned out to not be as serious as I had initially believed this place was a wonderful forum for advice and support during that period and so I decided to run the latest development in Toby's life past you guys.
Toby is now ten and, I think, may be experiencing seizures. He's otherwise perfectly healthy and behaves normally (ven his leg weakness has cleared up and he's doing the steps and everything well, especially for his age) but, occassionally, will have what SEEMS like a seizure in his sleep. He's had three instances I would consider part of this string (the first in October, the second in February and now just last night) and they only seem to occur when he's in a deep sleep, that is when he's in bed for the evening. This raises a problem because he sleeps on the end of my bed and, since I've been asleep when this has occured, it's been hard for me - in my very initial stages of waking - to take in the EXACT details of the situation, but I'll attempt to give a run down of the exhibited symptoms.
The first instance in October consisted of Toby waking me up with crying while he was asleep, he also seemed to be kicking his back leg a bit. I called his name once and he didn't respond, but when I gently rubbed his side he seemed to wake up; sitting up and looking at me. During this time I didn't see any sort of drooling, confusion or urine or fecal discharge like I've read about online. The second time, in February, was roughly the same situation although, this time, Toby actually sat up and looked at me when he was called. Again no discharge or confusion or anything like that. Now, this morning, I woke up and found Toby crying again and bucking as if he were running. I called his name and he seemed to jerk his head around to look at me at which point his eyes were open (though I don't know if they had been WHILE he was crying, kicking). I then picked him up and noticed that he did have a small drop of saliva on his chin and seemed somewhat confused, looking at me when I said his name but also seeming slightly disoriented in those first couple seconds. I then put him on the ground and opened the door to see if he had any sort of understanding of where he was and, when the door was opened, he wagged his tail and trotted out into the hall HOWEVER instead of walking into the living room as would be usual when waking he veered into an adjacent bedroom and actually did his business on the floor (which is very uncommon for him though when I walked him around the yard a few minutes later he went again, and apparently he had I don't know). After that he walked out into the living room and seemed largely fine, playing with his ball and eating his treats within the first few minutes of waking up. Regardless, I got a better look at this one for whatever reason and feel he was definitely slightly disoriented for a short period of time...not to the point that he was stumbling or unable to navigate but seemingly moreso than usual.
Now, another thing I've noticed is that ALL three of these scenarios have come on the heels of days in which Toby faced a uniquely stressful or busy situation. The first seizure came on the night after he spent 6 hours at the groomers (which he HATES), the second came on the night after he spent over an hour at the vet for shots (ditto) and even last night's fits this pattern as he had spent all day Sunday at the groomers. I don't know if stress somehow factors into this and, if so, if it's more likely they're just nightmares (which he has been known to have throughout his life..perhaps they've just gotten more severe due to his age and being a deeper sleeper at this point) or if that could actually provide the trigger for a seizure.
Now, I actually DID take Toby to see the vet two days after his first incident and - upon hearing it - he believed it to be what he called "a vivid dream". After the second incident I called him, told him the story and asked him whether, based on the fact that it's happened twice within 4 months, it might be something to look into and, again, he said it was probably a nightmare based on the circumstances and the description I gave of the event. However, given that this is a third incident within the span of less than a year I'm slightly concerned..especially given that I did detect saliva,at least slight confusion and the whole pooping thing happened. I definitely adore this dog more than I could possibly articulate and am OBVIOUSLY terrified at what I've read online about seizures in older dogs (that, essentially, a brain tumor is the lone viable explanation) but I plan on calling the doctor tonight to try to set up an appointment but, in the meantime, am a nervous wreck and just wanted to know what you guys thought about the particular circumstances or if anyone has had similar scenarios develop with their pets. I want to be strong for Toby and attempt to do what's absolutely best for him, so I'm looking for all the imput I can get.

Thanks a lot for reading this,

April 10th, 2006, 12:43 PM
There are many different reasons for seizures, and sometimes it's impossible to tell what they are from.

My dog developed them when he got older they'd come and go sometimes and would leave him very limp and weak.

Personally I believe that many illnesses are caused by a weakening of the immune system and a systemic ongoing poisoning of the body brought on by lack of good wholesome food and vaccinosis and pesticides used in flea control.

Personally I home cook for my dog and do not vaccinate her other then rabies which is required by law.

Boosting your dogs immune system and making healthier is the best way to try to encourage the fight against any disease or illness.

Best of luck.

April 10th, 2006, 12:45 PM
To me, from what you described, they're dreams. Whenever my dogs have an eventful day, they always have crazy dreams. They growl, drink, cry, play, they do everything they did that day basically, in their sleep. They can have many of these a day.

From what my vet has said, if it's a seizure, you can't wake the dog up. It goes on whatever you do, until it's finished.

The drool- could be just that he was sleeping with his mouth open (like humans do- only dogs produce more drool...).

April 10th, 2006, 03:52 PM
I too believe the dog is dreaming, my golden retriever Blaze is 26mths old and now has epilepsy he has seizures. :sad:

When he is having a seizure you can not wake him out if it, no name calling or anything can or will wake them until the seizure is over. It can seems like forever but normal seizures should only last between 2 and 5 minutes. After the dog wakes they go nuts running around the house, they know nothing.... believe me it's very sad to watch.

Forsure while a dog is in a seizure they WILL always urine & fecal discharge anal glands too, they can't help it.
I have learned that stress can bring seizures on there are many triggers, if I were you I would have the dog checked to be safe but once again I say just dreams. Good Luck, hope everything works out well.


April 10th, 2006, 04:39 PM
I just reread your post (i have to admit I skimmed it because it was long)
It does sound like dreaming to me! :D

My dog kicks, barks, whines, wags her tail, lips flap all over, eyes roll to the back of her head etc... it's all dreams.

BUT if you are concerned about it, can you take a video next time it happens and show your vet or give a link here if you load it up somewhere.

April 10th, 2006, 07:49 PM
Consider having Toby groomed 1 st. appointment in the a.m. and that will eliminate 6 hrs. sitting in a cage waiting for his session. I groom alot of senior dogs and keep them only as long as necessary (2 hrs.) The double booking at groomers is very stressful for any dog, let alone a senior so express your concerns and see if they can work on him solely from start to finish without anytime being caged. The clipping, bath and fluff dry can be done in steps 1 through 3, also ask for hand rather than cage drying.

April 11th, 2006, 09:09 AM
This sounds like a dream to me also. Joey had these kinds of dreams from time to time and would actually be lying on his side and his legs would "run" and he would let out little muffled barks. Once he barked loud enough to wake himself up.

Now Cooper does the same thing when he falls into a deep sleep. He twitches a bit, and makes little growly barking sounds.

Joey actually did have seizures in the months before he died and they were VERY different. He would flop on the floor suddenly arch his back and howl piteously. He didn't always urinate with a seizure but when he did it was not a controlled thing. My husband picked him up and urine just started flowing. Obviously not something he was doing on purpose. It was a loss of control.

(BTW--Joey was a shih tzu mix and Cooper is a shih tzu.)

I'm not saying that you shouldnt keep an eye on him and make your vet aware of what's going on but I wouldn't panic about it. It sounds like deep sleep dreaming.