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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 31810
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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We have a much loved little collie/spaniel cross called

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Hi, we have a much loved little collie/spaniel cross called Nellie who is nearly 14 years old. She has started having moments where she freezes and stares into space for a little while before snapping out of it. She also has periods where her head shakes and she nearly collapses but which are over in a few seconds. We are English living in France and have taken her to two vets here. They said these things must be expected in a dog of her age and didn't offer any treatment. She recently had a course of cortisone for an itchy skin problem and was much better while she was taking it. The vet said it would be the meds allowing better circulation of blood to the head that caused the improvement. Can you advise whether there is any treatment that would make her condition less distressing for her and us.
Many thanks,
Mary

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

Mary, I'm sorry to hear of this with Nellie. You've described two forms of complex partial seizures (also called psychomotor seizures). Her freezing and staring represent a behavior called "absence seizures" while her head shaking/nearly collapsing are more typical motor-related partial seizures. Most of us will tolerate one mild (no thrashing about, no loss of consciousness, no incontinence) seizure monthly before considering anticonvulsive drugs. Prior to drug therapy it would be prudent to have Nellie's vet perform a senior/geriatric diagnostic panel of blood and urine tests in an attempt to spot an extracranial (outside the skull) disorder that may be precipitating the seizures and that might be addressed in a conservative manner. Intracranial (within the skull) disorders such as brain tumor require MRI to identify - advanced imaging I would find inappropriate for a dog of her age. Regretfully, brain tumor is the most common cause of seizures in the geriatric dog. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thank you very much for your reply, we will return to the vet and ask if they will perform the tests and/or supply appropriate drugs.

You're quite welcome. 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.

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Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.