Seizure in dogs: what it is, dangers, symptoms and treatment of canine epilepsy

 Seizure in dogs: what it is, dangers, symptoms and treatment of canine epilepsy

Tracy Wilkins

A seizure in a dog is capable of scaring even the most experienced pet parent. Knowing how to deal with this type of situation is also something fundamental, so guardians must understand the basics of first aid for dogs, avoiding doing anything that could harm the animal even more. The dog seizing involves much more than what is seen during the moment of crisis and can beTo clarify some doubts about seizures in dogs, we talked to veterinarian Magda Medeiros, specialized in neurology, acupuncture and cannabinoid medicine for small animals. See below!

What is seizure in dog?

Dog seizures are caused by different reasons, but the reaction in the animal's organism always happens in the same way. Seizures occur when injuries or the presence of some substance alters brain functions. This imbalance causes electrical firing that resembles a "short circuit" of the brain, which leaves the dog convulsing and drooling most of the time.

Some people confuse epilepsy with a dog convulsing. What to do to differentiate one condition from the other? Specialist Magda Medeiros explains that seizure is a form of epileptic seizure: "Epileptic seizure is a transient occurrence of signs and/or symptoms due to excessive or synchronous abnormal neuronal activity in the brain, where there is a hyperexcitation of different circuits"Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by a lasting predisposition to generate epileptic seizures, that is, the animal will present recurrent and spontaneous epileptic seizures," he explains.

But can epilepsy in dogs kill? The answer will depend on the care the puppy receives. In general, canine epilepsy is not fatal. When a seizure in a dog is a symptom, it occurs in isolation because it is usually linked to other problems, such as canine distemper. Depending on what the associated diseases are, the dog with a seizure may die if it does not have the right care.assistance needed.

What causes seizures in dogs?

A seizure in dogs is actually a symptom, which means it is never just a simple seizure. Just like cases of fever, it always points to something else that is not working well in the animal's body. The veterinarian explains that seizures in dogs occur due to exaggerated electrical activity in the brain that can have several causes. "Idiopathic epilepsies are the most common.Structural epilepsies can be caused by injuries to the brain (trauma), infectious encephalitis such as distemper, non-infectious meningoencephalitis, strokes, brain tumors and advanced senile dementia," explains the veterinarian.

"Epileptic seizures caused by systemic (non-encephalic) causes can be caused by hyperthermia, nutritional imbalances (such as thiamine deficiency and hypoglycemia), liver disease, ingestion of toxic substances, kidney disease and changes in electrolyte levels such as sodium, potassium and calcium," he adds.

Symptoms of seizure in a dog

A dog having a seizure is easy to recognize, especially since it usually affects the whole body of the animal. It is something that can last from a few seconds to a maximum of about 2 minutes. If it exceeds this time, the recommendation is to go straight to a veterinary emergency room. To identify a seizing dog, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Involuntary body movements (spasms)
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Salivation (with or without foam)
  • Vocalization
  • Urinary and/or fecal incontinence
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Movements with the mouth and face
  • Rowing movement with legs and arms

It is worth noting that when it comes to epilepsy in dogs, symptoms can also be very similar. As seizures become frequent it is because they point to an epileptic condition, so it is important to be aware.

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Seizures in dogs: what to do?

When you notice the symptoms of seizure in dogs, do not despair. At that moment, the most important thing is to keep calm to try to help your four-legged friend. To begin with, something fundamental is to leave the animal in the most comfortable position possible to reduce the impacts of the crisis and the chances of sequelae. Magda explains that it is necessary to remove from close proximity any object that could fall and hurt you.the dog, aggravating the situation, such as a piece of furniture or stairs. A good option is to approach the convulsing dog with a pillow to support its head, preventing the shock with the floor from being a problem and causing trauma. However, she explains that you need to stay away from the dog's mouth, because it can bite you. After everything passes, the rule is clear: "When the crisis is over, speak softly toAvoid shouting and excitement in the environment. If the crisis lasts more than 5 minutes, seek emergency veterinary care as soon as possible," says Magda.

Before and after a seizure in a dog - puppy, adult or elderly - it is normal for the animal to lose a little of its senses and the notion of where and with whom it is. He may become a little aggressive because he is scared, especially if he does not recognize you. In addition, it is normal for him to pee or poop without realizing it. At this point, assist your friend until he returns to normal and go straight to the emergency room."Always write down the date, time, duration and intensity of the crises and, if possible, film the crisis for the record. Present all the data to your veterinary neurologist ", indicates the specialist.

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5 things you should not do at the time of dog seizure

When it is the first time that a seizure happens, many guardians immediately search the internet: "dog seizing, what to do?" The point is that it is not only important to know what to do at these times, but also to be careful about what should not be done at all, such as...:

  • Panicking, shouting or shaking the dog

  • Putting your hand or any object in the dog's mouth during the seizure

  • Pulling the animal's tongue out

  • Holding the dog's limbs

  • Offer water or anything else

It is important to understand the causes of seizure in dog

When arriving at the office for the first time after seeing the dog having a seizure, it is normal for the professional to start trying to discover the causes through elimination, as Magda explains: "Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination and laboratory tests to rule out systemic causes. In addition, the veterinary neurologist, through the neurological examination, will identify if there areother neurological symptoms in the animal and, in many cases, order an MRI of the brain to rule out structural brain causes (tumors, strokes, etc.). With these tests, he is better able to indicate an appropriate treatment for the control of seizures in dogs ".

It is normal to worry that seizures in dogs can kill, but if the animal is diagnosed and well treated, depending on the cause, it can go on with life normally. Epilepsy in dogs, for example, is one of those that only require specific care in the animal's daily life after the first seizures. Regardless of the cause, veterinary follow-up is essential.

Originally published on: 22/11/2019

Updated on: 27/01/2022

Tracy Wilkins

Jeremy Cruz is a passionate animal lover and dedicated pet parent. With a background in veterinary medicine, Jeremy has spent years working alongside veterinarians, gaining invaluable knowledge and experience in caring for dogs and cats. His genuine love for animals and commitment to their well-being led him to create the blog Everything you need to know about dogs and cats, where he shares expert advice from veterinarians, owners, and respected experts in the field, including Tracy Wilkins. By combining his expertise in veterinary medicine with insights from other respected professionals, Jeremy aims to provide a comprehensive resource for pet owners, helping them understand and address their beloved pets' needs. Whether it's training tips, health advice, or simply spreading awareness about animal welfare, Jeremy's blog has become a go-to source for pet enthusiasts seeking reliable and compassionate information. Through his writing, Jeremy hopes to inspire others to become more responsible pet owners and create a world where all animals receive the love, care, and respect they deserve.