In this article we learn what to do if a dog has a seizure. The most common health problems among dogs are seizures which are incredibly distressing to watch. You might feel helpless at this time, but you have to put yourself together, stay calm and try your best to help your dog. According to data, the prevalence of epilepsy in dogs is around 0.5 to 5-7 percent. Out of 20 dogs, one will suffer a seizure at least once in its lifetime.
What is Dog Seizure?
Seizure or epilepsy is a scary condition for any dog owner. It is an abnormal and excessive neuronal activity in the brain that shows the forebrain’s problem. A healthy dog brain has normal neuronal activity. But sometimes, there is an imbalance that results in seizures.
What Is The cause of Dog Seizures?
Dogs will experience either a single seizure or multiple at a time. Whatever the case is, the dog’s seizures do not have anyone behind them. Any of the following conditions can be a cause of seizures in dogs.
- Kidney disease
- Brain cancer
- High or low blood sugar
- Traumatic injury to the head
- Liver disease
- Electrolyte imbalance
What Are The Symptoms of Dog Seizures?
Some dogs might start showing signs as soon as seizure starts. And some dogs become dazed, anxious, and unsteady and then display signs later on. Here are the most common symptoms that tell your dog is having a seizure.
- Paddling motions of limbs
- Involuntary defecating or urinating
- Jaw clenching
- Jerking body movements
- Foaming at the mouth
- Muscle twitching
- Chomping or tongue chewing
- Loss of consciousness
What Are The Different Types of Dog Seizures?
Seizures occur in the dog because of excessive neuronal excitation, and these can be one of any of the following categories:
Grand Mal Seizures
Grand mal seizures are generalized seizures that happen because of unusual electronic activity in the brain. Its duration can range from a few seconds to a few minutes.
In this type of seizure, the dog exhibits a strange attitude, wildly running around, chasing imaginary objects, biting its tail, etc. This seizure is difficult to identify because you can’t tell apart whether it is normal silly behavior or the dog has a seizure episode.
This seizure type results from abnormality outside the brain, indirectly affecting brain functioning. The causes can include; low sugar or calcium, electrolyte imbalance, metabolic disorders, high levels of toxins, or severe kidney and liver disease.
The seizure that results from brain abnormality is called symptomatic. The causes behind this type can be brain infections, trauma, tumor, strokes, inflammation, or congenital malformations.
The seizures that do not have any specific reason behind them are idiopathic. It is one of the most common forms of epilepsy in dogs. The cause can be genetic, with the first episode occurring at the age of 1 to 5 years. Following dog breeds are at more risk of developing Idiopathic epilepsy:
What To Do If A Dog Has A Seizure?
A seizure can be agonizing, but you should leave the dog alone during the seizure episode unless the location is injurious. If you have to move a dog, do it gently by grasping them from hind legs and pulling them. You can comfort your dog during a seizure but avoid grabbing the chest, shoulder, or mouth because they can clamp down on you, causing injury.
Remember, the dogs are likely not to suffer pain during a seizure, even if it seems so. Moreover, dogs do not choke on their tongue, avoiding grabbing its tongue. A dog might have saliva in the mouth, but this does not indicate rabies; it’s just a seizure symptom. The seizure lasts from two to three minutes which overheats the dog’s body.
Try to keep the body cool by placing a wet towel around the dog’s body. The towel should be wet, not cold. Try to record the seizure episode to show it to the vet. This will help the doctor to determine the time and length of the. Also, keep a record of any recent dog injuries and the frequency of seizure episodes.
How To Treat Dog Seizures
Seizures can occur because of a variety of reasons. So take your dog to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. The vet will inquire about the dog’s seizure history, so it is crucial to record previous seizures. Please write down the information or record it to show to the vet. Mostly, vets will infer treatment only if the dog is experiencing:
- Frequent seizures; once every four weeks
- Multiple seizures in one day span
- Prolonged seizures exceeding 3 minutes
Consequently, the vet is likely to recommend anticonvulsant medication, including phenobarbital or levetiraceta (Keppra). The drawback of this medication is that there is no coming back once you start giving it to your dog. Because this medication will continue for the rest of the dog’s life, you should keep all the factors in mind before deciding on medications. Also, discuss your concerns with a veterinarian and see if you have any other options or not.
In htis article, we have covered what to do if a dog has a seizure. Seizures are neurological conditions that occur because of uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the dog’s brain. During a seizure, dogs either lose consciousness or flop to the floor.
Or in another case, they are awake but experience unsteady and confusing movements. If your dog is in a similar situation, stay calm and don’t touch the dog. As seizure usually stays for 2 to 3 minutes, there are chances of overheating if it gets prolonged. So put a wet towel on the dog’s paws to cool it down.
Similarly, try to calm the dog without touching it. Consult the vet after the seizure is over. If the dog is experiencing multiple seizures in a day, there are high chances of severe brain damage, so try to take it to the vet immediately. The doctor will give your dog IV Valium to stop seizures at the moment, and medication for later use.