Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rilley Rocked the Neurological Exam!

The Small Animal Clinic at the University of Guelph
Well, it's that time of year again!  Rilley had his annual neurological check up today with his neurologist Dr. Fiona James at the University of Guelph's Small Animal Clinic.

Recently there have been a couple things that had us concerned, so today's follow up appointment came about at the right time.  Two weeks ago, we had taken Rilley for a walk, one that was a little bit longer than usual.  When we returned home his hind legs were shaking.  Then the next evening Rilley experienced a breakthrough seizure.  It was his third in almost as many years and presented itself in the exact same manner; rapid, uncontrolled jaw movement that lasts for about 10 to 15 seconds.  It could also be described as teeth chatter, although his teeth never contact each other.

Rilley waiting to be called in to see the neurologist.
When we arrived, Dr. James was just finishing up a procedure with another patient, so we met with one of her residents who had briefed herself on Rilley's history beforehand and knew the major points of his case.  She took him off to meet up with Dr. James so they could perform the physical and neurological exams.

We are pleased to report that Rilley passed the physical and neurological exams with flying colours and he had even lost some weight!

To follow up on our concerns, Dr. James' advice was, as we had been told by Dr. Pluhar in Minnesota, that seizures are not an uncommon occurrence in dogs who have had tumours removed and since his have been so minor and infrequent, we should not be overly concerned.  As for his back, beagles are apparently prone to some disc compression in their lower backs as they age and that may contribute to the shaking.  Additionally, the shaking appears to be positional; meaning that it only occurs when he sits or stands in a certain way...if we notice him shaking, a slight move is all it takes to make it stop, which a lot of times Rilley will do on his own anyway.

So all in all, the recent concerns were not an indication of any decline in his health and Dr. James was pleased to see that Rilley is continuing to thrive.

Way to go Rilley, you really did rock the neuro-exam!

(You'd think that with all the time he's spent at universities that he'd be close to getting his own Ph.D.)


  1. Great news Riley!
    Did they mention what caused the chattering mouth movement? I noticed my fathers dog doing that last weekend and I was wondering if it was a type of seizure?
    Thanks for keeping us updated!! Love to hear the good news!

    1. Thanks for continuing to follow Rilley's story Anne!

      The chattering movements were definitely a breakthrough seizure which is a result of the surgery. Whenever Rilley has an episode, he seems completely oblivious to it happening so it isn't considered a major event. We were only concerned this time around since it seem to occur around the same time as the shakes.

      While neurologically Rilley is fine, he will always be at risk of seizures, that's why Dr. Pluhar suggested that he stay on medication, three times a day, for life.

      I can't say with any certainty if your father's dog is exhibiting signs of a seizure. We only know that Rilley's is definitely minor seizure activity.