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Kathryn Price

Thank you for your story. My six year old Shiba Inu recently had either a seizure or tetany, and we're still trying to figure out which it was, and what caused it.

My main question is this: During the tetany, were Blueberry's arms and legs pulled up in front of her, or stretched out behind?

I go into more detail at the above URL but, basically, she had a slow buildup - five minutes or so of stiff legs and side muscles, where she was wobbly and concerned-looking. Then she vomited and defecated, and suddenly she was like a marionette, standing upright on her hind legs and starting to fall over. We laid her down on the floor. She started rubbing her face on the carpet and then wound up on her stomach, with her legs straight out behind her and her arms rigid at her sides. The worst of it lasted less than a minute, then she slowly recovered. By twenty minutes later she could walk around, forty minutes later she was acting like nothing happened (except being tired, not wanting to play, and being more emotionally needy than usual).

We are in the midst of a snowstorm today, so additional blood tests will have to wait another day or two. Your blog entry has given me some more ideas of what tests to run, and any feedback you have would be very helpful and appreciated.

Thanks,

-Kathryn

Dave Tufte

I pasted my reply to the e-mail here.

Hi:

I am so glad that you read this. I hope my answers (below) help.

At 02:00 PM 1/6/2005, you wrote:
A new comment has been posted on your blog voluntaryXchange, on the post
Veterinary Detective Story.

http://voluntaryxchange.typepad.com/voluntaryxchange/2004/09/veterinary_dete.html

IP Address: 216.192.69.23
Name: Kathryn Price
Email Address: kathryn@bandia.net
URL: http://www.livejournal.com/users/caitriona_nnc/67098.html
Comments:

Thank you for your story. My six year old Shiba Inu recently had either a
seizure or tetany, and we're still trying to figure out which it was, and
what caused it.

My main question is this: During the tetany, were Blueberry's arms and
legs pulled up in front of her, or stretched out behind?

In front. Usually she senses that something isn't quite right and lays down normally (on her chest rather than sides) near us. So, naturally her legs are in that position already. The few times that we have found her in mid-tetany, she has usually rolled to her side, but again the legs are more forward than back.


I go into more detail at the above URL but, basically, she had a slow
buildup - five minutes or so of stiff legs and side muscles, where she was
wobbly and concerned-looking.

I can confirm concerned-looking.

I'm not sure about wobbly. Ours has trouble standing because she can't control her legs properly.

Then she vomited and defecated,

That has never happened to us.

and suddenly
she was like a marionette, standing upright on her hind legs and starting
to fall over.

Blueberry never stands like that, so I can't say.

We laid her down on the floor. She started rubbing her face
on the carpet

Facial itching is definitely a symptom (even in humans). I read that online somewhere, so I don't have a cite handy for you.

and then wound up on her stomach, with her legs straight out
behind her and her arms rigid at her sides.

Never seen that.

The worst of it lasted less
than a minute,

Blue's last much longer - 20 minutes minimum.

then she slowly recovered. By twenty minutes later she
could walk around, forty minutes later she was acting like nothing happened
(except being tired, not wanting to play, and being more emotionally needy
than usual).

That seems reasonable.


We are in the midst of a snowstorm today, so additional blood tests will
have to wait another day or two. Your blog entry has given me some more
ideas of what tests to run, and any feedback you have would be very helpful
and appreciated.

Blood tests are not that informative with hypoparathyroidism. Hypoparathyroidism itself should only be detectable when calcium is low anyway (because it's a lack of response to something that doesn't happen too much anyway). A serum calcium test is informative, but then you need to figure out how they got that way.

I hate to say this, but I am suspicious of your symptoms. The "she vomited and defecated, and suddenly she was like a marionette" part makes me think poisoning (for the first part) and stroke (for the second). Of course, I hope it isn't either one. Typically, Blue is only able to move her head during tetany, and then only through a limited set of movements that she can only do repetitively (say like, small circles). She pants the entire time (probably can't expand and contract her lungs fully), and she "drools" in that her mouth is open, and she's panting, and the saliva more or less just falls out of her mouth (but not in too excessive quantities). Occasionally she will try to stand and fail due to lack of flexibility (but only at the beginning and end of the episode).

Keep me posted on your bloodwork. I have now gone and read your webpage after writing all this. I can's say much about hypokalemia. But, it would not be unusual to have a blood test after tetany show reasonable calcium. Tetany is a mechanical response of your muscles to low serum calcium. It will persist until that calcium goes back up again. Complete hypoparathyroidism is 100% fatal by asphyxia because it cannot end. But, that rarely if ever happens because the system keeping serum calcium high enough is so simple. If you survive tetany, your blood will be normal for calcium every time if it is sampled after the tetany has passed.

DT

P.S. Where's it snowing that hard?


Thanks,

-Kathryn

H.P.

Call Artis!!!!!!

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