Acute Collapse in Dogs
If it does occur quickly check the left side of their chest

Acute collapse in dogs is not just a fainting spell; it is a very sudden loss of strength.

Collapses can occur in older dogs as they lose strength in their back legs, but this is still not an acute collapse.

This is a situation where your dog has lost strength so suddenly that they will fall into a sitting position or may actually fall in a lying position.

Husky eyes are chillingThe first warning sign-no response to touch or sounds

Acute collapse in dogs most often will involve an unconscious state where your dog does not respond to either sound or touch.

If this does happen, the underlying cause is very advanced and this may be the first warning sign that you are witnessing.

This condition can be life threatening to your dog and should be treated very seriously.

Acute collapse in dogs can affect any age group or any breed so suddenly that it will leave your dog in a stage of complete disarray for a short period of time.

Some dogs will recover very quickly as if nothing serious has just happened, while others may not be able to get up at all without help.

There are several potential causes of acute collapse in dogs and if you do experience it with your dog remain calm but also be very cautious as you approach them.

They may still be in a state of confusion and if is a respiratory problem and they are choking, their first natural instinct is to bite.

Acute collapse is usually caused by one of four potential disorders; the nervous system, the musculoskeletal system, the circulatory system, or the respiratory system.

If this situation lasts for more than a few minutes and your dog cannot get up on their own, it has now become a medical emergency.

In severe cases, it may be several hours before your pet can move and get up without help.


Acute collapse in dogs can be caused by diseases of the nervous system that involve you dog’s spinal cord, nerves, and the brain are the most common cause for an acute collapse.

The first possible situation may be a form of emboli.

Emboli is the plural form of an embolism which is an obstruction in a blood vessel caused by a blood clot or some other type of foreign matter that is stuck in the bloodstream.

Once this occurs it affects the spinal cord in your pet.

Acute Collaspe in DogsRule number One-Stay Calm

An inter-vertebral disk disease may also be the cause and this is a slipped disk in the back or the neck of your dog.

When this condition causes a collapse, it is in an advanced stage.

Degenerative myelopathy, another potential cause, is a gradual loss of the nerve functions in your dog’s spine caused by some type of a disorder or disease in the spine.

This condition may cause varying degrees of both reduced sensation and even paralysis as it advances.

There is another nervous system potential cause referred to as myasthenia gravis.

This nervous system disease is characterized by both a weakness and a very rapid fatigue of any muscle that is under voluntary control.

It is a breakdown of normal communication between your dog’s nerves and their muscles.

This is especially dangerous as it can also affect your dog’s vision, chewing, swallowing, and breathing capabilities.

Respiratory diseases are the next most common cause of acute collapse in dogs.

It is almost always brought on by the blockage of your pet’s throat by either a foreign object or a condition known as laryngeal paralysis.

Laryngeal paralysis results when the abductor muscle of your dog’s larynx does not function properly.


What has basically happened to your dog is that in trying to take a deep breath, they can’t, as this lack of function won’t allow it.

After a couple of attempts your dog becomes extremely anxious which leads to more rapid breathing attempts and more anxiety.

This is a condition that does not just happen suddenly.

It is caused by longs periods, perhaps even years, of heavy panting or loud breathing.

These are warning signs that you can watch for and talk to your veterinarian about to help prevent. If it does become a serious situation and causes a collapse, it can also be fatal.

Acute collapsing may also be caused by a collapsed trachea or by fluid on the lungs.

Musculoskeletal diseases are the most common cause of acute collapse in older dogs and are usually caused by hip dysplasia which is arthritis in the hip joints or by lumbo-sacral disease.

This disease is the result of a compression in the root of your dog’s nerves and the spinal cord as they pass through your pet’s lower spine.


Much like hip dysplasia, it affects large breeds of dogs especially German Shepherds.

However, there is still one system in your dog that may be the cause of acute collapse in dogs; the circulatory system.

Heart diseases can very easily trigger these collapses and there are several different diseases that may be the underlying cause.

Congenital heart disease is a defect in the heart from birth and as a result it becomes weaker over time. However, this is less than ten percent of heart problems in dogs.

Heart worm disease is still the number one threat to your dog’s heart and can very easily be the cause of the sudden collapse.

this is the cause, it is very serious as damage to the heart may be advanced.

Heart worm disease can show a wide range of symptoms, or no symptoms at all until it is advanced and causes this collapse.

If your dog shows any signs of coughing, this is the first warning signal, as coughing in dogs is not normal.

If they start to have difficulty in breathing and are unwilling to exercise, it will only be a matter of time before that have an acute collapse.

Acute collapse in dogs does not always mean that there is sinister underlying cause to this very painful situation for both you and your dog.

The most important thing to do if your dog does experience a collapse is to not panic and try taking some very quick mental notes.


Did your dog lose consciousness, and if so, for how long?

Was there anything that you witnessed that may have triggered the collapse?

It will also be extremely important to check the left side of their chest to see if there is a heartbeat, as this may be the telling sign of heart worm infection as it affects the left side first.

Source of Help for Acute Collapse in Dogs

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