seizure disorder in dogs

Seizure Disorders in Dogs

Overview of Seizure Disorders in Dogs

A seizure or convulsion in a dog is a sudden excessive firing of nerves in the brain. It results in a series of involuntary contractions of the voluntary muscles, abnormal sensations, abnormal behaviors, or some combination of these events. A seizure can last from seconds to minutes.

The severity of the seizure can vary between a far-away look or twitching in one part of the face to your dog falling on his side, barking, gnashing his teeth, urinating, defecating and paddling his limbs.

Seizures are symptoms of some neurological disorder – they are not in themselves a disease. Some underlying causes include:

Components of a Seizure

There are three components of a seizure:

What to do if your pet has a seizure

What to Do After a Dog Seizures

Diagnosis of Seizures in Dogs

Diagnostic tests are needed to determine the presence of an underlying disease or cause for the seizure disorder. Seizures for which an underlying cause cannot be determined after thorough diagnostic evaluation are called idiopathic. Tests may include:

Treatment of Seizures in Dogs

Home Care of Dogs with Seizures

If your pet has a seizure, call your veterinarian promptly.

During a seizure, concentrate on observing the characteristics of the seizure while keeping him from harm. Do not attempt to open your pet’s mouth or manipulate his tongue – you may get bitten inadvertently. Protect your pet from injury by moving hazardous objects like furniture with sharp corners, or protecting him from falling down stairs. Loud or sharp noises may prolong or worsen the seizure.

After the seizure, give your pet sufficient time to recover from the seizure. Speak calmly and try to comfort your pet. Arrange to have your pet seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible after the seizure is over.

If the seizure episode lasts more than 10 minutes, you should arrange to be seen by your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.

Preventative Care

Prevention is aimed at keeping your pet calm and safe. Avoid exposure to poisons and toxins that can cause seizures – do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised. Keep him in a safe environment for when a seizure does occur. Keep your pet in a fenced yard or on a leash when going for a walk.

Make sure your pet receives all of the appropriate vaccinations so as to prevent known infectious causes of seizures like distemper and rabies.

Information In-depth on Seizures in Dogs

Several different diseases may cause seizures. The term idiopathic epilepsy refers to a seizure disorder that has an unknown cause despite a thorough diagnostic evaluation. Treatment and prognosis (outcome) of seizures depend on their underlying causes.

Common Causes of Seizures in Dogs

The most common causes of seizures in young dogs (less than 1 year) may include:

Diagnosis In-depth of Seizures in Dogs

Diagnostic tests are performed to identify underlying diseases that may be causing the seizures. Diagnostic tests may include:

Complete medical history and physical examination including neurological examination and ophthalmologic (eye) examination. Routine laboratory tests to evaluate the general health of your pet and to identify potential underlying causes of seizures, including the following:

Treatment In-depth of Dogs with Seizures

Optimal therapy of any serious or persistent medical condition depends on establishing the correct diagnosis. Seizures have many potential underlying causes, and the underlying cause should be identified before specific treatment can be recommended. Medication with anti-convulsant drugs will be recommended for patients with idiopathic epilepsy. Your veterinarian will determine if treatment is warranted, and if so, which specific medication is indicated.

Seizure medication usually controls the seizure disorder but does not eliminate seizures entirely. Identification and specific therapy for seizure disorder in your dog is the best treatment.

Drugs commonly used to treat pets with seizures include:

Follow-up Care of Dogs with Seizures