- Definition of a Seizure & What Causes Them in Dogs
- What are the Different Types?
- How Do I Know My Dog is Having a Seizure?
- What Can I Do To Help My Dog During and After Their Seizure?
- Are There Ways To Treat Seizures?
Dog seizures are terrifying experiences. It's frightening to watch seizures occur, especially when you're witnessing seizures in dogs. No dog owners want to witness a seizure episode for epileptic dogs, but sometimes, the reality is that a dog's seizures can appear at any time.
They are often categorized in one of three ways. A seizure can either be a focal seizure, a generalized seizure, or an unknown seizure. There is more than one seizure type because the length of time that a seizure lasts and the type of seizure activity that takes place can differ vastly.
Some dogs experience strange behavior leading up to them while others don't express any behavior changes at all. Those canine seizures are sudden and more surprising than pet owners anticipate.
No matter what, when a dog has a seizure, it is important for pet owners to remain calm. Panicking might feel hard to avoid but just remember to breathe. Your dogs need you to be there for them
Definition of a Seizure & What Causes Them in Dogs
The exact cause of canine seizures varies from one dog to the next. Many dogs have similar seizures but the causes of seizures can differ because the brain is a fickle organ that is susceptible to very unique changes. While the most. common cause of seizures in your dog is genetics, the only way to know the exact cause of seizures is by seeking diagnostic tests from your pet's vet.
Healthcare professionals can take a close look at the cerebral cortex of your dog and conduct a physical examination in search of other potential indications of an inherited disorder. Healthy dogs will pass these seizure exams with flying colors, while a dog with frequent seizures will show red flags.
Your vet might use potassium bromide to better understand the brain of your dog. A CT scan for your dog is highly possible as well, in addition to a spinal fluid analysis.
What are the Different Types?
They come in many forms, but the most common form is a complex partial seizure. This type of seizure originates in one part of the brain but it spreads like wildfire to other areas of the brain, causing adverse effects and odd behavior in dogs. It also creates abnormal electrical activity that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a long time.
Other types include:
- Non-recurrent seizure
- Idiopathic seizure
- Reactive seizures
- Cluster seizures
- Prolonged seizure
- Single seizure
- Grand mal seizure
- Psychomotor seizure
Here are some subcategories:
- Grand mal seizures
- Focal seizures
- Psychomotor seizures
- Petit mal seizures
- Status epilepticus
- Idiopathic epilepsy
- Genetic epilepsy
How Do I Know My Dog is Having a Seizure?
Here are some clear signs your furry friend is having a seizure:
- Jerking or twitching of the muscles
- Frothing at the mouth
- Temporarily blind
- Fly biting
- Altered behavior
- Dog's body temperature changes
- Chewing of the tongue during convulsions can confirm that a seizure is taking place.
- Paddling movements in the legs or falling to the side is also a common symptom
- Also possible for the dog to wet themselves or poop during a seizure.
- Disorientation, wobbliness or blindness can occur immediately after the cease of a seizure for a few seconds.
What Can I Do To Help My Dog During and After Their Seizure?
If you are witnesses your dog's seizures and trying to figure out how to help your dog. The best thing you can do when your dog has a seizure is to make sure they don't get themselves into a dangerous situation. You can't stop the seizure from happening but you can be by their side and maintain their safety as the seizure plays out.
If you believe your dog is experiencing an emergency situation, you should act fast and take your dog to the nearest location that treats dogs with canine epilepsy. Veterinary attention should be your first priority if your dog seems to need medical help for seizures that last a few minutes or more.
If your pet frequently has multiple seizures, it's possible that your dog has a seizure disorder. Seizures in dogs are not always concerning, but your dog might be part of the 0.75% of dogs that have genetic epilepsy or idiopathic epilepsy. When dogs have two or more seizures in a short period of time or a seizure lasting a long time, it might be time for you to consider taking your dog to the vet immediately.
Certain breeds of dog are more high risk for epilepsy than others, including:
- Australian Shepherds
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
Are There Ways To Treat Seizures?
As far as treatment options, there are a few different ways that seizures may be approached. One obvious way of treating them is with anti seizure medication. Another treatment option is CBD, which is an all-natural treatment method that makes sure you aren't giving anything man-made or artificial to your pets.
Even so, if the issue is ongoing, then most veterinarians will want to prescribe a seizure medication which is a normal, traditional course of treatment. These will be FDA-approved medications that have been used for many years in the ongoing treatment of different types. It's up to you to bring up CBD as an alternative approach to treating your pet's condition because most vets will suggest anti seizure medication first and foremost.
Don't be afraid to speak up and advocate for your pup!
CBD May Help - Seek Your Vet’s Opinion
Sources:Seizures and Epilepsy
Treating Seizures With Phenobarbital
Cannabidiol and Epilepsy
Ivana Vukasinovic grew up in Serbia and attended the University of Belgrade where she received a degree in Veterinary medicine in 2012 and later completed surgical residency working mostly with livestock. Her first year of practice was split between busy small animal practice and emergency clinic, and after two more years of treating many different species of animals, she opened her own veterinary pharmacy where an interest in canine and feline nutrition emerged with an accent on fighting animal obesity. In her free time, she acts as a foster parent for stray animals before their adoption, likes to read SF books and making salted caramel cookies.
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The Innovet Team
Please do not ask for emergency or specific medical questions about your pets in the comments. Innovet Pet Products is unable to provide you with specific medical advice or counseling. A detailed physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinarian are required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet requires emergency attention or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic health conditions, please contact or visit your local/preferred veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.
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