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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear poodle people, we are asking for your input on a behavior that has come on for our 2 year old standard poodle Otis. Here is a video of this behavior that we have deemed “attacks” -


These “attacks” have been happening to him for about a half year now- they happen sporadically and he can go weeks without it happening but when it does he gets very frantic and paces and licks the carpet obsessively and has that retching cough and gag reflex and often he will vomit. He will not settle down and goes around like he is doing in this video and when we take him outside he just tries to eat grass like crazy. Driving around in the car sometimes will calm him down and then he will just have the gag reflex for awhile longer and then it will go away and he calms down. Usually it will go away and come back later in the night or the next day. Then it will just not happen again for weeks or even a month. Sometimes seems to happen after he has been roughhousing with our other dog but other times seem to happen randomly. We took this video recently when he was having one of these spells and he was in such distress that he was whining while he was coughing and licking.

He is under our watch constantly as we work from home so it’s not something he has eaten, except that we have wondered if there a possible connection between him eating cooked chicken breast, but not sure if this is how food allergies could ever present? Honestly I just want to hope it could be a poultry allergy even though it doesn’t seem like a clear connection but we have now had 3 different vets weigh in and the potential diagnoses have ranged from Addison’s to seizures. He got bloodwork done for the Addison’s but it has not come up so it would not be typical Addison’s, so they are suggesting now to do an ultrasound of his adrenal glands to see if they are small and it could be atypical Addison’s. Another vet said it looks like seizures and he should be on phenobarbital.

He is usually such a happy and healthy boy - he is not lethargic and will play and run for many hours every day and has a good appetite and drinks lots of water. We waited until he was 2 years old to neuter him and these attacks have occurred before and after neutering so does not seem to be correlated.

Thank you so much for watching and giving your input!!! We just want to figure out what is happening so we can help him feel better 🥲
 

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My image of Tonka crossing the bridge has him streaking across to his favourite thing, a huge field of green grass. I always let him graze his fill. I never saw it as harmful.
 

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Has your vet seen the video? Seems like it should be very helpful to a vet.
Sorry you're Otis isn't feeling well. I can only guess, but it sure looks like he's trying to bring something up (foreign object? Rock? Hairball?). Anyone done an x-ray on his digestive system?
Is his belly soft like normal during an episode (bloat?)?
 

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Welcome to you and Otis.

Of the three vets who’ve weighed in, were any of them specialists?
Have you changed any laundry, chemicals that you clean with, have you painted or changed your flooring or new carpets etc... These behaviors that he exhibits remind me of a chemical reaction to something in his environment.
 

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I also would ask if any of the vets who've seen your pup are either Internal Med or GI specialists?
Have you had a chance to show the video to any of the vets, or, has your pup had an episode in front of any of them?
That video could be a diagnostic tool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for weighing in! The emergency vet did not see the video since we weren’t allowed inside but the two other vets have seen the video and that was where one suspected Addison’s and the other seizures. He has not had an x-rays done for obstruction, digestive system etc. He is a very suspicious and careful eater so he truly doesn’t eat anything but his food and treats (our lab will eat absolutely anything by contrast). I totally agree it looks like he is trying to vomit something up, and before this video he did throw up his dinner. He will then continue to try to throw up as he does here in the video but nothing comes out. I would say his belly is soft during these episodes and I don’t think it would be bloat since he is vomiting and passing gas, and we are careful for him not to exercise after meals.
 

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I always assume everyone else keeps their homes and properties free of fragrance and chemicals at doggy level, but I think @Deere’s question is a good one. Have you done a thorough audit of your home, property, and frequent walk spots? Don’t assume anything is benign just because the label says it’s safe.

Personally, I would be having GI x-rays and the recommended ultrasound done asap, and asking my vet to send the video on to a neurologist for their feedback. I would be wanting their opinion before starting meds, but that’s just my personal preference.

Additionally, I would be keeping a daily journal of episodes, sleep and wake times, exercise, toileting, meals and snacks, etc. to see if any patterns emerge, ideally laid out in a simple chart format for easy reference. I would be doing this starting today. It takes very little effort to jot down quick notes and it’s amazing what they can uncover.

With Peggy’s allergies, for example, I discovered my memory is very unreliable, even as I’d swear up and down it was accurate. With the help of my notes, I connected dots I’d otherwise have overlooked.
 

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I would definitely take this video back to a vet. He looks to me like he has something lodged in his throat. I've had animals come up with the darndest problems: thread or twine wrapped around their tongues, splinters lodged in the throat, even a carpenter ant that bit onto a tongue and refused to let go even unto death. I haven't personally had a critter get a foxtail or grass awn embedded, but it seems to be a thing that can happen as well.
 
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