Seizures in Dogs: Important Facts That You Need to Know

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6.1.2022

Seizures in Dogs: Important Facts That You Need to Know

Seizures in Dogs: What It Is and How It Can Be Managed

Seizures are one of the most common brain conditions in humans. However, they don't just affect people — they can also occur in dogs and cats and affect their overall health and quality of life. If your pet has been behaving strangely and you suspect that he has epilepsy, bring him to a trusted veterinarian near you as soon as possible.

Seizure Classification

Seizures are often classified according to where the abnormal electrical activity is happening in the brain. Generalized seizure (which is also called grand mal seizure) affects both sides of the brain and causes dogs to exhibit symptoms on both sides of the body. Focal seizures, on the other hand, originate from a certain part of the brain and cause pets to exhibit unusual movements on just one side of the body. The pet typically loses awareness of their environment during a generalized seizure, while they may or may not have imparted awareness during a focal seizure.

Causes of Seizures

There are many health conditions that can cause seizures. Electrolyte problems as well as low or high blood sugar can lead to seizures, along with anemia, kidney disease, liver disease, stroke, encephalitis (brain inflammation or infection), and brain cancer. Epilepsy, or seizures of an unknown cause, are a common diagnosis in younger pets with seizures. Eating poison and getting a head injury can also cause your pet to develop seizures.

Signs That Your Dog Has Seizures

A seizure can cause a pet to collapse and lose consciousness while drooling, chomping, and foaming at the mouth. They might also chew at their tongue, have twitching and/or stiffening muscles, and “paddle” with their legs while lying on their side, and some will even poop or pee. Once the seizure subsides, the pet might be wobbly and disoriented, which can cause them to bump into things and walk in circles. Temporary blindness may also occur.

Many pets exhibit certain signs before a seizure occurs, called an aura. These include staring into space, having a dazed look on their face, and being confused and/or unsteady. Pet owners can watch out for these signs so they can make the right preparations to keep their pet safe during the seizure.
 

What Should You Do If Your Pet Has a Seizure?

Animals cannot control their body while they’re having a seizure and can therefore be at risk for injuries. Because of this, your number-one priority is to keep your pet and yourself safe. If he’s near a safety hazard, such as a piece of furniture or a flight of stairs, gently slide him away from it. If the seizure lasts for more than two minutes, he should be brought to an emergency facility immediately.

Make sure to take note of the body parts that are affected during the seizure as well as how long the seizure lasts. You should also observe when the seizures take place (i.e., season, weekend vs weekday, and time of the day), how often they occur, and if there are any triggers such as startling loud noises or bright lights. Your veterinarian will need this information to make an accurate diagnosis and recommend the ideal treatment plan for your pet.
 

Reach Out to a Trusted Vet Today

Seizures are a serious condition that should never be ignored. If you suspect that your pet has a health issue and you’d like to know more about it, get in touch with a professional, like us at Staten Island Veterinary Group!

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