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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30346
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My bichon/shiitzhu aged 14 has had some unusual episodes

Customer Question

my bichon/shiitzhu aged 14 has had some unusual episodes over the last year involving sudden agitated barking and running. he is usually placid, eats well and enjoys his walks.
The first 3 times he came out of it after a few minutes but this morning he had one which lasted for an hour-high-pitched barking whining. I rushed him to the vet who said he was not in pain and his heart rate and breathing normal. He was given an injection to sedate him .When the injection wore off, he had another attack of this odd demented barking and I gave him half a tablet of sedating drug that the vet had given me for him in case he had an attack in the night. I took him back to the vet who took blood samples and said he was worried about the reoccurrence so soon. I was advised to monitor him and to take him in again if I see another attack. He did eat his dinner and is sleeping as I type but I'm very worried about him in case it comes back. The vert said it may be dementia or a brain tumour and that we will need to see how the blood tests come back and how or if he settles. I guess it is difficult for you to add anything based on what I've written but I guess I'm looking for any other ideas out there. Also at what point should I put him down? i am not insured and today's visits cost 150£ Do you think he has long to live anyway and should I do it now before he gets worse?
Submitted: 30 days ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 29 days ago.

You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 29 days ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. Please let me know if you still need help. May I have an update on him, please?

You appear to be describing complex partial seizures (also called psychomotor seizures). Most of us will accept one mild (lasting less than 5 minutes, no thrashing about, no loss of consciousness) event monthly before prescribing such an anticonvulsant drug. Because he has suffer another event within 24 hours of a prior one clustering is diagnosed and that may presage status epilepticus - the state in which seizure activity doesn't abate unless I heavily sedate or anesthetize my patient. If seizures quickly return after sedation/anesthesia, the prognosis is poor to grave. Yes, brain tumor is most likely at his age and unless he spontaneously normalized you have little alternatives to either initiating an anticonvulsant drug or having the final kindness performed.

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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 29 days ago.

Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
bloodwork came back with increased inflammation and anaemia. Dog has settled but taking more steroids for inflammation. His weight is stable and he has a good appetite but not keen to go for long walks. Vet says take it as it comes and dont overreact and euthanise. Would welcome opinion as to whether or not he has cancer and general outlook for him
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 25 days ago.

Thank you for the update. Cancer in the form of a brain tumor is certainly a consideration in such a patient and that cancer may have metastasized from elsewhere in his body...which may or may not be relfected in his blood work. Can you upload a copy of his test results to our conversation? I understand that you might not have a copy at home but his vet can give you one which you can scan into your computer and then give me the file link or you can photograph the pages and upload them by using the paperclip icon (if you can see that icon) or by using an external app such as dropbox.com/

I not only review the test results but also note which tests should have been performed but weren't.