Friday, October 12, 2012
Wednesday evening, I walked out of the bathroom and saw Pallo being weird. It was obviously not right. He was still standing up, but was repetitively slamming his head forward and into the ground, and pawing at his face and head with his paws. He was weaving while doing this, and every movement appeared drunk. Huge amounts of saliva were pouring out of his mouth in streams. I called his name to no response, and hurried over to him. He didn't respond or seem to notice when I touched him, when I placed him on his side (so he would stop hitting his head), or when I held onto him. I couldn't tell if he was breathing.
Thinking that these symptoms had three possible options, I pried his mouth open to check to see if he was choking on something. The pawing at the face was what led me to think it was a possibility. While all of Pallo's muscles were stiff in his entire body, I did manage to slowly open his jaws, move his tongue around, and sweep his mouth out with a finger. I felt no obstruction, even in the very back of his mouth/upper throat area.
With his eyes in a fixed stare, but steady, I felt pretty sure that Pallo was no experiencing a vestibular episode. Generally, a vestibular episode will present with nystigmas, or rapid eye movement, either side to side or up and down. Additionally, dogs having a vestibular episode normally respond to outside stimulation, at least somewhat, and Pallo seemed to not "be there" when I talked to him or handled him
Of the three possibilities, then, it left only one on the table. Pallo was having a seizure. And I have never encountered that before. In something along the lines of panic mode, I grabbed my cell phone and called a good friend of mine who also competes in flyball and has dogs. I blurted something along the lines of "Pallo is having a seizure, what do I do?" at her as soon as she picked up the phone. She very sensibly told me to go to the emergency vet.
I picked up Pallo, who was still completely tense in his whole body with the occasional violent twitch of the head or front legs and ran out to the car with him. I jumped in the car, holding onto Pallo, and drove down the road toward the emergency clinic. My phone rang and it was Greta, another good friend and fellow flyball-and-dog person, who Nicole, who I originally called, had asked to call me. Putting the phone on speaker and balancing it on my shoulder, she asked me what happened and I explained. She was most worried about Pallo still being stiff. Most dogs come out of seizures quickly, but sometimes a seizure can last and last until there is brain damage or death. Pallo had been stiff for 5-10 minutes by the time I pulled into the vet (who is thankfully just down the street).
As I pulled into the vet, still on the phone with Greta (who has a border collie with epilepsy, making her the perfect person to be talking to), Pallo's muscles relaxed and he started breathing more normally. He lifted his head and looked at me, and began to respond to my touch and voice. The emergency vet would, at that point, not be able to do anything for him, since he had come out of the seizure. With Greta's advice, I felt okay following my own inclination to give my personal vet a call and skip the emergency vet, unless Pallo went into another seizure.
My vet called me back within 20 minutes (it was about 9pm when this all happened). She agreed that it was safe to wait until morning to bring Pallo in and we scheduled an appointment first thing in the morning. I was told to keep an eye on him over night, keep him from hurting himself if he had any additional seizures, and go to the e-vet if he had a seizure last longer than 5 minutes or if he had more than three seizures during the night.
I had a restless night, but by the time I went to bed, Pallo was acting normal but tired. I had him sleep on the bed with me (which he normally does anyway) so that I would be woken up if he had another issue. Every time he moved through out the night, I woke up and checked on him. He had a good night with no more problems and we headed to the vet in the morning.
We decided that the only real thing to do was to run some blood work (mainly for kidney and liver values) to rule out a poison or organ failure as a cause for the seizure, and wait and see how he does. The blood work came back this morning as completely normal. Which is good, of course, but it leaves me in a bit of a limbo, since I have no idea what caused the seizure, whether to expect more, or what is going to happen. Pallo is doing just fine, with no apparent lasting issues.
At this point, we just play the watch and wait game. The hope is that the seizure was idiopathic, with no real cause. Pallo will not be getting Comfortis (the oral flea medication) ever again, as it has a possible side effect of lowering the seizure threshold. Other than that, there is nothing we can really do except wait, watch, and hope.