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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 30380
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cavalier King Charles went stiff and was shaking violently.

Customer Question

My cavalier King Charles went stiff and was shaking violently. I just comforted her and she was a bit wobbly when she got up but OK now. I would say she is very elderly not sure how old as she was rescued, but I would guess about 12 years.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry to hear of this with Ruby. You've described a simple partial seizure (previously called petit mal) if her mental status remained normal. It would be called a complex partial seizure if her mental status were altered.

In any event, the advent of seizures at Ruby's age is worrisome for both intracranial (within the skull) disorders such as brain tumor and extracranial (outside the skull) disorders such as hepatoencephalopathy (a poorly functioning liver can intoxicate the brain) and uremic encephalopathy (poorly functioning kidneys can intoxicate the brain). Dogs with extracranial disorders such as those are usually quite ill otherwise, however.

In our geriatric patients, basic diagnostic testing in the form of a senior/geriatric panel of blood and urine tests is prudent in the hope of finding an internal medical disorder which we might be able to address in a conservative fashion. If testing reveals nothing untoward, by the process of elimination we assume that Ruby's problem resides in her brain and we need to decide whether advanced testing in the form of cerebrospinal fluid analysis and MRI is reasonable or whether prescribing anticonvulsive medication would be more appropriate.

Please log this event as to the date, how long it lasted, and just what you witnessed. Ruby's vet will need all the information you can gather when deciding whether or not anticonvulsive medication should be prescribed. In most cases, we'll accept one mild (no thrashing about, lasts less than 5 minutes) seizure monthly before instituting anticonvulsive medication.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
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Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'm going to check back with you in a week for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.

Please disregard the info request.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ruby
Thank you for your advice. I took Ruby to my vet and unfortunately I had to have her put to sleep. The vet said one of the valves in her hart wasn't working so causing distress. Thank you for your concern and advice. Marion
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
My condolences for your loss of Ruby. I appreciate your updating me.

Please disregard the info request.