Charlie a 4 year-old Shih tzu mix presented to Southeast Veterinary Neurology for evaluation of canine seizures.
He had originally presented to his regular veterinarian for evaluation of neck pain. Charlie had begun to hold his head low and cry out in pain when touched. Dr. P performed blood tests and radiographs which did not show a cause for his neck pain. Possible causes of a slipped disk, meningitis and other causes were discussed and a trial of antibiotics and pain medications were prescribed.
Charlie initially improved on medications, however after a few days he became more painful and had a seizure. He was admitted to a local emergency clinic. At that time he was obtunded and was minimally responsive. He was stabilized overnight and transferred to Southeast Veterinary Neurology the following day.
On examination, Charlie was minimally responsive. He tended to turn his head to the left. He was unresponsive to any stimuli on the right side of his body. Notice that he doesn’t blink when touched near the right eye and doesn’t blink when his right eye is approached.
An MRI and spinal fluid analysis were performed that showed encephalitis. Treatment was instituted immediately. Here is a video of Charlie’s examination and response to treatment.
The important points of Charlie’s case are the following:
1. Canine seizures are a neurological problem. Seizures can be caused by idiopathic epilepsy but can also be caused by underlying brain problems such as brain tumors, strokes and encephalitis.
2. Encephalitis carries a guarded prognosis. But with early evaluation, an accurate diagnosis with a high-field MRI and aggressive treatment by a board-certified neurologist, even severely affected dogs can be treated.