Get dog checked following seizures

Pete Keesling

Q: Last week, our old dog, Margie, had two seizures. Each lasted a few minutes, and afterward, she seemed a little weak in her legs. She staggered around the room and it seemed like she didn’t know who we were. Since then, she’s been perfectly normal, except she isn’t eating as well as she used to. We have an appointment to see her vet this week, but should we worry?
A:
Seizures can be caused by a lot of different medical conditions. Some of these relate to geriatric changes in circulation or age-related changes in the liver. Metabolic problems can also be at the root of convulsive disorders. And even though vets don’t see a lot of brain tumors, we always have to be aware of their possible effects.
Here’s a rule of thumb for all pet owners. Any noticeable and unexplained change in your dog’s behavior can be a signal of potentially serious health issues. Margie’s decrease in appetite worries me. Her vet should do a thorough physical exam and run some blood tests.
With this information, you’ll be able to rule out some of the more common medical problems that might be the cause of her lack of appetite and these seizures. But if the exams are inconclusive, you might want to take her to the veterinary teaching hospital at UC Davis for a CT scan and other, more-detailed tests.
Sometimes seizure activity occurs for no apparent reason; diagnostic tests don’t always find an answer. Veterinarians refer to these as idiopathic convulsions. Medications can usually control these seizures and most dogs do well when taking these drugs. 
Q:
Bernie, our 7-year-old terrier, has a stuffy nose. She’s had a discharge from her right nostril for the past two weeks. It seems weird that only one side is draining. Could this be more than an infection?
A:
Sure could be. Bernie’s vet needs to check to see if she might have one of several different conditions. A infected or abscessed tooth could cause unilateral (one-sided) drainage from the nose. So could a foreign body (like a foxtail), or even a polyp or tumor. Bernie needs to be examined by her vet right away to find the cause of that runny nose. Usually it’s something simple, but even simple infections can become complicated (and expensive) problems if left untreated.
Q:
Our dog, Wally, can predict rain. No kidding. A day before clouds roll in and the rain starts, he gets really demanding. He grabs his leash whenever I’m near the front door and whines to go for a walk. He hardly ever does this in the summer or when it’s a sunny day. And he hates to go out when it’s raining (I have to pick him up to go outside when it’s stormy). Ever hear of something like this before?
A:
Sounds as though you’re convinced Wally has special talents and further, he knows what he wants. I love hearing stories like this. I never completely discount pet owner’s adulations about their companion. After all, no one really knows the full extent of a dog’s (or cat’s) talent or their ability to communicate.
But what do you readers think? Does Wally have a special talent? Can a dog really forecast changes in the weather? I have serious doubts. On the other hand, if Uncle Jeb can predict rain when his joints ache, who’s to say Wally the Dog can’t somehow do the same? If he can, he might be the first dog to get a job with the National Weather Service.

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