Watching your dog collapse is scary, and, unfortunately, the potential causes are all serious.
The reason for a collapse is a sudden loss of strength, similarly to fainting or passing out. You dog might appear weak, disoriented, or showing other symptoms of distress prior a collapse.
Potential causes of a collapse include:
- blood loss
- heart problems
- circulatory problems
- respiratory problems
- neurological problems
Trixie is a senior Terrier living an active life. All her life she’s been a healthy dog.
The first sign that something might be wrong was Trixie’s change in behavior. Instead of enjoying her time outside, Trixie would restlessly pace around. It was clear she was not just walking around checking things out; she was in some discomfort. Trixie could do this non-stop for long periods of time; at no point she would sit or lay down to rest., She also started picking at her food.
Of course, such signs can be easily explained away at first; it is possible for a dog to feel unwell without a serious cause. If it happens more than once in a blue moon, however, it is a reason to investigate,
Further information: Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog: The Big Picture
Trixie falls over
Three months since these strange changes began, things got scarier.
As every night, Trixie rushed up the stairs to cuddle and watch TV with her mom. As she reached the landing, though, Trixie fell over, rolling over on her back. Was it an invitation to play or belly rub? Trixie hasn’t done that before.
Before her mom could figure it out, Trixie started howling and would not stop or respond. Trixie was having some kind of seizure.
The whole ordeal laster about five minutes and then Trixie was back to normal.
Trixie’s mom took her to a vet the next day.
When the veterinarian examined Trixie, he couldn’t find anything wrong. she seemed healthy. Her heart was racing but she hated going to a vet, it would explain that.
Blood work didn’t show any problems either.
The problem with diagnosing strange fits in older dogs is that they can have many possible causes, and they don’t happen while the dog is in the veterinary clinic. When examination and basic lab work doesn’t provide any pointers, all the veterinarian has to go on is the owner’s description of what happened.
For example, to a veterinarian, epileptic seizures and syncope look quite different. To a do parent, however, they just look equally terrifying.
With the lack of other clues, the veterinarian asked Trixie’s mom to film the episode should it happen again and start a diary of observations.
It took only a couple of days for Trixie’s mom to be able to present video footage of the episodes.
They always happened following exertion—when Trixie went upstairs. That suggested a heart problem.
The footage confirmed that Trixie’s problem was not epilepsy. Trixie wasn’t convulsing or trashing around but rather fell over and remained motionless.
Examining the heart
The veterinarian decided to ultrasound Trixie to examine her heart. Trixie was diagnosed with a leaky heart valve. That’s why Trixie’s collapse always happened after she rand up the stairs—her heart couldn’t pump blood to accommodate the physical demand.
Trixie got medication for her heart and is no longer allowed to rush up the stairs. She can take short, calm walks avoiding stress and excitement.
Being an older dog, Trixie’s future is uncertain but medication and adjusted lifestyle should help her to stick around and enjoy life longer.