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Old lab just collapsed, but now seems OK...am worried, any advice?

(6 Posts)
eslteacher Wed 03-Apr-13 18:43:12

We have a lab who is 12 and a half years old. He has arthritis in his back legs, which he is on medication for.

I just got in from work, and he was all over me at the gate as usual, jumping up and down and running around excitedly. He waited patiently as usual while I unlocked door and turned off alarm, again all normal so far.

But then when I gave him the 'you can enter' signal, which usually results in him bounding off like a loon and running all around the house, he just took a step forward and in slow motion his legs collapsed beneath him. Then he slowly rolled onto his side and kind of pawed the air with all four legs, I think that lasted about 10 seconds. He didn't seem to be having any trouble breathing and wasn't making any noise. Then the pawing stopped and he rolled back onto his tummy, and just lay there for a bit very still, and I just stroked him and stroked him. Finally he pulled himself up (a bit stiffly, but that's always the case now) and walked off with me when I encouraged him.

He seemed pretty much normal directly after, wanting to rub up against me and play with his ball etc. He's asleep now (about 1 hour later) but again, that's pretty normal.

Am just worried especially because we are supposed to be dropping him at a friend's house later tonight, who will look after him while we go away to see my parents for four days. This friend is great with dogs, absolutely loves our dog and has looked after him many times before. But now I am just freaking out in case something happens while we are away. On the other hand, this trip has been booked and paid for for ages, we've organised the time off work and part of the reason for going is to see my mother who is also ill herself (though not life threatening or anything). She'll be so disappointed if we don't go, we don't live in the same country so don't see them often.

Does anyone know what this mini-episode thing might have been? And whether it is something that is likely to recur? Obviously we need to take him to the vet, but should we be absolutely delaying our trip to organise that, or can we do it on Monday when we get back? I just don't know enough to know if this is a really sinister sign of something we should be really worried about, or just an old dog getting a bit too excited and falling over because of the existing arthritis.

My poor dog, I felt so scared for him and I can't bear the thought of leaving him, even though he'd be in very good hands with my friend whom he loves. But then telling my parents we can't go, and then him being fine all weekend would be really hard too. Any advice would be really gratefully appreciated.

GerardWay Wed 03-Apr-13 18:49:54

I didn't want to read and run but I don't have much helpful advice. When we had our Retriever she had arthritis. It might be that your vet needs to increase or change his medication. I really hope he's feeling happier soon. A big hug for you though.

PariahHairy Thu 04-Apr-13 02:45:08

Can you just see how he is? I'm sure you friend would take him to the vets if necessary, just give them all the insurance details etc.

crabb Thu 04-Apr-13 08:11:41

Check his gum colour. They should be a healthy pink (like salmon pink). If they're very pale pink to white then please get him to a vet straight away. Old Labs have a higher incidence of a type of tumour that can cause internal bleeding (pale gums, collapse). They can die very suddenly from this - our old fellow did 2 years ago. Having said that, what you describe sounds more like a seizure, in which case it isn't an immediate emergency as long he recovers within, say, 5 minutes. You should call the vet if he doesn't come out of a seizure, or has multiples close together. It's also possible that he may never have another one. Good luck.

TataClaire Thu 04-Apr-13 14:46:08

our 13.5 yr old lab is very doddery on his back legs despite meds and accupuncture but sometimes they give out on him - a bit like a power failure which he doesnt know until it happens so he can fall over. Upping his meds and keeping his weight down helps smile

eslteacher Sun 14-Apr-13 17:10:09

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I just thought I'd update in case anyone in a similar position stumbles over this thread in the future looking for advice

Dog seemed fine, so we took him to our friend's and went off for the weekend. He was absolutely fine while he was with her, though she thought he seemed generally a bit more tired and less energetic than last time she looked after him.

We took him to the vet when we got back. The vet checked his heart, and found that everything in that department normal. Ultimately, he said pretty much the same as crabby did above, that it was a seizure/fit that could just be a one off, and was probably down to him being less able to cope with excitement as he gets older - even the daily excitement of me arriving hiome from work! He said we should try to stop him getting too over-excited generally, but how we're going to do that in reality I'm not sure! And if he has another fit very soon, or if generally he ever has more than one in a short period, we should take him back to the vet for more examination. If he has another one in six months and then recovers again immediately, it's not necessary to take him back unless that's followed by another one quite quickly, if you see what I mean.

So, I think it's just a part of him getting old. I hope it doesn't happen again though, as I was so scared at the time and of course he must have been too. But thankfully at the moment he seems fine and has just been enjoying water games with the garden hose, albeit in a more restrained fashion than in his youth!

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