PSYCHOMOTOR SEIZURES

 

Psychomotor seizures are somewhat rare and since they are rare, there is little information available. As a result I have asked Guardian Angel Tina (and Angel Jaff) and Guardian Angel Diane (and Molly), who are dealing with psychomotor seizures, to describe what Jaff and Molly go through with them so that anyone who may also be experiencing these unusual seizures, will know what they are. Both Tina and Diane's stories are below.

Since there is so little information on canine psychomotor seizures, there is a possibility that your dog may have been misdiagnosed with Grand Mals or Tonic Clonic seizures. Tina and Diane's descriptions will help you decide if you are dealing with psychomotor seizures. Tina found some information describing psychomotor seizures and it is included at the end of this report.

We also asked Dr. Thomas, one of our advisors, if there was any special medication for psychomotor seizures and this was his response:

"In human patients, certain types of seizures tend to respond better to specific drugs. We don't know if this is true in dogs so in general, we use the same drugs to treat psychomotor seizures as for other types of seizures."

WB Thomas DVM,MS
Dipl.ACVIM(Neurology)
University of Tennessee

We hope this is helpful...

Joanne Carson, Ph.D.
Founder - Epi Guardian Angels

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Seizure Descriptions Provided by Guardian Angels

 

Guardian Angel Tina and Angel Jaff (Border Collie):

Many months before Jaff ever had a Tonic Clonic or Grand Mal seizure he would exhibit strange behaviors with the most recurring one being that he would look up at the ceiling, duck his head and cower as though the ceiling was coming down on him. He would constantly look back up as though he was checking on it. He'd keep his head lowered and would just roll his eyes up to look.

It was very frustrating because I knew that something wasn't right but when I would describe it to someone or even my vet it was dismissed as nothing. People would say he heard something like squirrels on the roof or the heat turning on.

The worst case of psychomotor behavior that Jaff exhibited ended with us taking him to the ER vet. We simply could not control him at home. He must have had some Grand Mal  seizures during the day while I was at work. Up to this point he had never had daytime seizures so leaving him had not been a concern. When I got home from work and realized what had happened I gave him the rectal valium and we kept an eye on him. He had a few more Grand Mal seizures that night but nothing out of the ordinary for him. Jaff seemed to settle down and be done with the seizures after a few hours.
 
But a little while later from a dead sleep he bolted upright, sailed over the sofa and ran head first into the sliding glass door. He was completely panicked and looked like he was being chased by the hounds of hell. We were finally able to subdue him and calm him down again.

We went upstairs a little later to get ready for bed and he started again. He walked into a corner of our walk-in closet and began climbing straight up the wall. I have never seen anything like it.

Once we all recovered from those 2 episodes we got in bed and tried to relax. We put a baby gate across the bedroom doorway.  He rested for a while and then from a dead sleep he ran straight over and through the gate and was climbing upward as he was running. That hallway is actually a balcony that overlooks our living room. He just about had a paw over the railing before my husband jumped out of bed, tripped over the gate and tackled him to the ground. He had been seconds from making it over the balcony. He was simply out of his mind. It was tragic to watch.

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Guardian Angel Diane and Molly (Shepherd Husky mix):

Molly's psychomotor seizures begin after a day or two of Tonic Clonic or Grand Mal seizures (which are much reduced with the valium protocol.) She doesn't always have them during a cycle, but never has them unless she is just finishing a Tonic Clonic - Grand Mal cluster period. She may be resting and rise up into one, or just walking around, acting completely normal, and suddenly lose consciousness.

During a psychomotor seizure Molly walks with her front feet held very high in a kind of prancing motion, like a dancing horse. Her neck appears rigid and her head is tilted slightly back. Her eyes appear vacant and her gaze is fixed. She walks in a straight line, not turning corners or reversing direction. She attempts to go through anything in her path, climbing over furniture and up walls until she is upright and falling over backwards. She often heads into a corner or into a space between furniture that she could not possibly fit in.

When I lift her and try to redirect her path she remains unconscious and her front feet continue moving. She doesn't navigate stairs in this state, but will walk off the top step into thin air. Calling her name or clapping does nothing to rouse her, although she regains consciousness on her own in 10 to 30 seconds.

Molly usually will have 3 or 4 of these in a half hour and then one or several hours will pass before they begin again. Occasionally a psychomotor will progress to whole body shaking and then into a tonic clonic - grand mal seizure, especially if Molly gets herself stuck somewhere. I always try to stay close by and redirect her path to prevent this from happening. Molly may have as many as 20 psychomotor seizures during the course of a day which, thankfully, always signals the end of the seizure cycle.

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Here is the information that Tina found describing Psychomotor Seizures:

"A complex partial seizure will originate in the area of the brain that controls behavior and is sometimes called a psychomotor seizure. During this type of seizure, a dog’s consciousness is altered and he may exhibit bizarre behavior such as unprovoked aggression or extreme irrational fear.

Complex Partial Seizures (a.k.a. Psychomotor or Behavioral Seizures) are associated with bizarre or complex behaviors that are repeated during each seizure. People with complex partial seizures experience distortions of thought, perception or emotion (usually fear), sometimes with unusual visual, olfactory, auditory and gustatory sensations. If dogs experience the same things, it may explain the lip-smacking, chewing, fly biting, aggression, vocalization, hysterical running, cowering or hiding, in otherwise normal animals. Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distress, salivation, blindness, unusual thirst or appetite, and flank biting are other signs. There is an obvious lack of awareness though usually not lack of consciousness. Abnormal behaviors may last minutes or hours and can be followed by a generalized seizure."