An Overview of Dog Seizures

 

Everybody knows that dogs are man’s best friends, and your pooch might be a very important part of your family. However, if your pet has a seizure, it can be scary, dangerous, and difficult to deal with. Here are some of the most common causes, symptoms, and treatments for dog seizures.

Before the Seizure

There are usually three different phases of a seizure. A typical seizure is preceded by a period of unusual behavior called the aura. Your dog may begin behaving oddly, become restless or anxious, demand affection, or try to hide. This might last from a few seconds to a few hours before the dog enters the next phase.

Dog seizure

Dog seizure (Flickr.com)

During and After

During the seizure itself, the dog will probably collapse and extend its legs rigidly. They will often pass out and may even stop breathing for a few seconds. This is followed by a rhythmic jerking of the legs, as if the dog is running; the dog may also chew, drool, urinate, or defecate. The seizure itself often lasts only about two minutes. The post-seizure state will set in as the dog regains consciousness; your pet will be disoriented and confused. They might seem tired or run into objects. This state can last from a few minutes to several hours.

Other Symptoms

Other forms of dog seizures can include jerking that is limited to only a single part of the body, or attacks that include tongue chewing, head shaking, and foaming at the mouth. If you suspect that your dog is having a seizure, it’s important to take note of all the symptoms. Knowing exactly what the seizure looked like can help the vet to diagnose the cause.

Potential Causes

There are a number of different problems that can cause a seizure. Your dog may have epilepsy, which is an inherited disorder where the brain’s electrical signals are not correctly regulated. However, seizures can also be caused by brain injury, infection, heat stroke, a tumor, or kidney or liver failure. In addition, female dogs that have recently given birth may experience a drop in blood sugar or calcium that can cause seizures. A dog might also have seizures as a symptom of poisoning, if they have been exposed to pesticides, lead, antifreeze, or chocolate. Bee stings or heart disorders do not cause seizures, although the symptoms may appear similar.

What to Do

If your dog has experienced a seizure, you should get them to a veterinarian. If the seizure continues for more than five minutes, that indicates a serious problem and you should get the dog emergency medical care.

At the Vet’s Office

A vet will examine the dog to determine the cause of the seizure; they may try to obtain a thorough medical history, perform a physical examination, or even take blood and urine samples. In some cases, the problem can be addressed by treating the root cause of the seizure, such as removing a tumor or providing an antidote to poison.

Medication

If the seizures become recurrent, however, the vet may provide anti-seizure medication. Once prescribed, this medication will have to be given for life, since starting and then stopping the treatment can put the dog at worse risk of seizures than before.

Seizures can be scary for both the dog and its family. If your pet begins to have one, then consult a vet as soon as possible.

Filed under: Dog Care

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