View Full Version : Dog fainting or seizure? Episodic falling? or something else?

27th October 2009, 11:17 PM
Hi, I am new here. :) I have three Cavaliers and have a question about one of them (her name is Donna). Just wondering if anyone has any idea what might cause this.

She is a Cavalier, of course, and 8 years old but has always been very healthy and is fit and very active, not overweight at all. The vet has checked her for a heart murmur and thought she didn't have one but couldn't hear too well because she kept wriggling! She absolutely loves exercise and has no sings of heart disease.

But anyway, a while ago my sister was walking her and a boxer snapped at her or something and scared her and she immediately fell over on her side like she fainted. My sister thought it was a seizure, and I wasn't there so I don't know. Anyway the next day my sister walked her again and the same boxer jumped out from behind a wall and scared her and the same thing happened. Both times she lay on the ground like she was unconcious for a few moments and then got up like nothing happened. Since then she has been terrified of walking past the boxer, and they used to be friends! So I am not walking her past there anyway.

I read about episodic falling but was a bit confused by it. One article said it could be like the dog falls over for a short time, like my dog did, or could last for much longer and the dog could has muscle spasms. I know the dog would be concious for it but I don't know if Donna was concious or not, since I wasn't actually there. And it said there is an increase in muscle tone? So would that be noticeable to me? I just thought maybe it could be because she was stressed or excited at the time.

Or could this be a sign of a heart problem? Or maybe she was playing dead? I've seen kittens play dead and it was just like this.

Thanks to anyone if they have any ideas or suggestions.

(Btw, I mentioned this to my teacher who is a veterinary nurse and she said that it doesn't sound urgent but to mention it to my vet when I next see her, which will be this week to get a cat neutered anyway.)

28th October 2009, 01:30 AM
Hard to know -- did your sister say she actually fell over as if unconscious and/or unable to move, or did she cower on the ground or lie low? A dog might well drop flat if frightened but also she may have a heart problem at her age (it would be pretty common in cavaliers) and a fright could perhaps cause her to faint? I agree with your teacher -- it doesn't sound urgent but worth asking your vet). If the only time this ever happens is these times, then I am sure she was just cowering in fright.

Vets are often not that great at hearing murmurs -- they will miss about half of early (low grade) murmurs. Some are poor at hearing stronger ones. It might be worth getting a different vet to listen. Unfortunately there's only one cardiologist in Ireland, in Dublin, but cardiologists are the best option.

A dog might have no outward signs of congestive heart failure, but still have a serious level of heart disease. One of my recent rescue dogs has no signs at all of CHF -- no coughing, panting, etc -- and she is very playful and loves walks. But she has a sever high grade 5 or 6 murmur -- so strong you can feel her heart beating very clearly just placing a hand on her chest. However any vet would pick up a murmur of that severity.

28th October 2009, 11:15 AM
I'm sure she wasn't cowering in fright because she fell onto her side and lay on her side and was limp, as if she was unconcious. But she hasn't done anything like it since and has seemed fine. So I guess I will mention it to my vet anyway. She has cavaliers herself and loves them so I'm sure she will be helpful. Thanks. :)

30th October 2009, 01:41 AM
Having had two dogs with EF my experience is that it is mainly related to heat, exercise and stress. My present boy who suffers with it has had attacks during exercise on a hot day (we have obviously stopped that), when he has collided with something and once rounding a corner and coming face to face with three Gordon Setters, their dark presence was enough to trigger an attack, so it is possible this happened with your girl. However, my boys limbs go absolutely rigid not limp, he also tries to bring his front legs up over his head. He is fully conscious, just unable to move. I sit quietly with him and just reassure him until it passes, then he gets up and carries on as if nothing has happened. My vet did run bloodworks on both of these dogs but they were negative. The present boy is not on any medication, I am aware of his problem and work at preventing these situations arising.

31st October 2009, 06:12 PM
Thanks for more info. I'm not really sure if Donna went limp really or anything. I did mention it to my vet yesterday though and she said that as long as it doesn't happen again, don't worry about it. The receptionist said that the same thing happened to her Jack Russel when a dog jumped out at it too, so hopefully it was just a fright. I'll make sure to keep checking her heart regularly anyway and keep an eye out for this sort of thing.