Convulsions, or seizures, are very troubling to witness. If your pet has an episode, call the veterinarian about handling the immediate situation. Keep the animal safe by removing it from stairways or dangerous objects. A blanket for padding and protection is usually not required unless the animal is actively pacing or thrashing. Swallowing the tongue is not often an issue with an animal amid a seizure, so don’t think you must pull the tongue out to prevent swallowing if you can. Time the attack and note the severity. If the episode lasts more than 3 minutes or clusters of 5 or more, your pet may require medication right away.
You can do nothing to stop the seizure at home other than provide a quiet environment (keep fearful or screaming children or loud music away from the dog) but do speak softly to the dog for reassurance. Any dog or cat that experiences a seizure should be examined, and blood chemistry studies should be done.
Dr. Sherry Weaver
What are Seizures in Dogs, and What Causes Them?
Seizures are caused by a sudden, uncontrolled surge of electrical activity in the brain. While epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in dogs, other potential causes include head injuries, poisoning, and tumors. If your dog starts having seizures, it’s essential to get them checked out by a vet to find the underlying cause. In some cases, medication can control seizures, but they may be permanent in others. Understanding what causes these episodes in dogs is an essential step in helping to ensure that your furry friend remains healthy and seizure-free.
Causes of Seizures
Low or High Blood Pressure
Types of Dog Seizures
One type of seizure is generalized, also called a grand mal. It’s when your dog can lose consciousness and convulse; this abnormal electrical activity happens throughout the brain (not just in one area). The duration will depend on how long you can watch them before it ends – some last only seconds while others go on for minutes! Focal seizing means repetitive episodes where unusual movements happen mostly around one side/limb. Some dogs may start out having both forms at once-a few second focal phases leading up until becoming fully generalized.
Another type of seizure in dogs is psychomotor, which can be quickly identified by the dog’s strange behavior and lasts between two to three minutes. Though not always easy for owners at first glance since they may also display other behaviors during this time, such as biting at nothing specific while running around like crazy!
Idiopathic epilepsy is a type of seizure that happens in dogs without any known cause and is a common neurologic issue pets face. The condition tends to affect more border collies, Australian shepherds, and Labradors than other breeds, but it can occur with any canine background!
How Do You Know if Your Dog Has a Seizure and What to Do About It?
Some dog owners might be familiar with the signs of canine epilepsy, which include collapsing to one side and making paddling motions with their legs. Dogs may also fall during a seizure before going into an automatic comatose state that lasts between 45 seconds and five minutes, depending on how severe; your furry friend could poop or pee during the episode.
It is vital to be aware of the warning signs to take appropriate action if your dog has a seizure. Common clues include behaving stressed or worried, looking dizzy or disoriented, and seeking attention. Consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Many pups with seizures can live happy and healthy lives.
How Can You Help Your Dog During and After a Seizure?
If you witness your dog having a seizure, stay calm. It can be a frightening experience, but it is essential to remember that episodes normally do not last very long and may not cause immediate damage. Gently move them away from any furniture or stairs to prevent them from injuring themselves, and stay away from their mouth to avoid being bitten. Talk to your vet about the seizure. If your dog has multiple seizures or the seizures last for more than a few minutes, it’s especially important to consult your veterinarian, as this may be a sign of a more severe condition.
What to Expect from Your Veterinarian
If you notice any changes in the behavior or health of your dog, be sure to call your vet so they can check for causes. They might prescribe medicine that will help with seizures, and other diagnostics like MRI may also come into play when looking at brain lesions! Always follow instructions carefully- missing even one dose could cause severe complications down the line.
Can Seizures in Dogs Be Prevented?
It would help if you took care of your dog’s health and well-being to reduce the risk of seizures. In the initial stages of treatment, you may need to have blood work done after the second and fourth weeks. Some episodes cannot be prevented, but you should avoid giving your pup salty treats as they can make seizures worse. You should also not stop giving your dog anti-epilepsy medication abruptly, as that can cause more severe episodes.
If your dog has a seizure that lasts more than three minutes, it needs to be treated right away by a vet. If they have several episodes in a short amount of time and do not wake up between seizures, he needs to see a vet as soon as possible.
Like BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin, certain chemicals might increase seizure activity. You should avoid giving your dog organ meats (livers and kidneys) at first, and it has also been suggested that pups with seizures eat food without gluten.
If you have a Belgian Tervuren, Shetland sheepdog, beagle, Labrador retriever, golden retriever, keeshond, or vizsla, they are more likely to have seizures. Other breeds of dogs that are more prone to having seizures are the Finnish spitz, Bernese mountain dog, Irish wolfhound, and English springer spaniel.