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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on September 25, 2005

Question

I was interested to read in your column the letter from G.V. in Washington, D.C., about the golden retriever who collapses, then gets up after a few seconds.Our 15-year-old peekapoo had the same symptoms. The vet X-rayed her and discovered a huge tumor on her heart, taking up almost the entire chest cavity.Perhaps G.V.''s vet should X-ray their dog as well. Unfortunately, our dog had to be put down, but perhaps theirs can be helped.

N.C., Tryon, NC Sep 25, 2005

Answer

There are many reasons why animals suddenly collapse, and even if the animal seems fine after the first time this occurs (other than obviously slipping on a smooth surface and having difficulty getting up), immediate veterinary attention is called for. Brain, spinal cord, heart/circulation, and other organ and system disorders (especially in older animals) can cause sudden collapse, incoordination, and muscular tremors and weakness. Repeated episodes in younger animals could be due to other factors such as low blood calcium, or adverse drug or vaccination reaction and even poisoning.Animals so afflicted may show fear or panic, but pain may not be evident. Even so, it is an emergency situation and a "let''s wait and see if she''s better tomorrow" attitude is unacceptable.

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