Dog seizures treatment is usually the result of abnormal activity in the brain and can lead to your dog losing control of their body. While relatively common, with up to one in 20 dogs suffering from fits at some point in their lives, seizures can be distressing and cause anxiety for you and your pet.
There are several reasons for seizures, fits and convulsions. If your dog is eight years old or younger, epilepsy is the most common cause. Other causes of dog fits can include low blood sugar levels, calcium deficiency, stroke, anaemia, heatstroke, infectious diseases, head trauma, liver disease, kidney disease, some poisons, high or low blood pressure, poor circulation the brain or brain tumours.
Is your dog suffering seizures?
How to stop a dog from having a seizure
There are often ‘triggers’ that lead to seizures in dogs, such as stress and changes in their environment. The most effective way of preventing your dog from suffering attacks is to minimize the likelihood of those triggers. You can also help their general health by feeding them a healthy diet, keeping an eye on their blood sugar and getting them checked regularly by your daytime vet.
Once a seizure has started, it’s essential to make sure your dog can breathe easily. Is there anything blocking the dog airways? Is their mouth apparent? Seizure dogs also often experience a rise in temperature as a result of increased muscle activity. If you’re concerned your dog is hyperthermic, you can keep this under control by wrapping them in cold towels or placing a fan in front of them. Just be careful not to cool them so much you cause hypothermia.
Has my fitting dog eaten something poisonous?
If your dog is suffering from a one-off, unexpected seizure, it may have swallowed something toxic. Slug and snail bait, which contains a chemical called metaldehyde, antifreeze and spot-on flea products, can all cause seizures when ingested.
Are dog seizures life-threatening?
Signs of fits in dogs
- Glazed eyes and twitching
- Violent jerking
- Champing of the jaw and drooling
- Passing urine or feces
Prolonged dog seizures can be deadly, but occasional or a one-off dog fit is not immediately life-threatening in the majority of cases.
However, regardless of whether your dog has a one-off fit or several, you should seek urgent advice from your vet. If your dog has a series of fits in a short space of time, they are at risk of brain damage and, in extreme circumstances, may end up in a coma. May need Emergency treatment, so please contact your vet as soon as possible.
Dog seizure symptoms
No two seizures look the same, but you may see your dog start to tremble, their eyes glaze over, and they may fall or lie down and begin to jerk violently. You may also see focal twitching, champing of the jaw, and drooling. Depending on the severity of the fit, your dog may also defecate or pass urine.
After the seizure, your dog may be disoriented and even appear blind. This is called the “post-ictal” period. This shouldn’t last for more than two hours. In recurring cases, you may spot subtle changes in your dog’s behavior before a seizure — called the “pre-ictal” period.
Dog having a fit, what should I do?
- Try not to panic
- Focus on your dog’s needs, as it is unlikely the seizure is immediately life-threatening
- Distance your dog from anything that might harm him
- Avoid touching your dog, particularly around the mouth, as he may mistakenly bite you
- Make a note of how long the seizure lasts
- Try to keep your dog as cool as possible (do not wrap in towels or blankets) as they can overheat.
- If this is the first seizure your dog has suffered, or if they don’t come out of it quickly, phone your vet immediately or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now.
Many dog owners will instinctively want to comfort or hold their pet during a seizure, but this is not recommended. Just remember they are not in pain and do not know you’re there. It would help if you only offer your dog attention once they have stopped actively fitting and only when it’s safe to do so.
During a seizure, turn off any lights, music, or television to minimize the amount of background stimulation for your dog. It’s also worth removing any sharp or dangerous objects around your pet just if they injure themselves while fitting. Never be tempted to put your hands near your dog’s mouth as they may inadvertently bite you. It would help if you also tried to time the fit as this information will help your vet and give you a guide as to the severity of the situation.
While it’s unusual for a dog to suffer clusters of severe seizures, it’s not unheard of. Single seizures that last more than five minutes or sets of short seizures are medical emergencies. Every second count if life-threatening complications are to be avoided, so being prepared and knowing the number of your local vet and nearest.
Dog seizures treatment
Your dog’s treatment plan will depend on several factors, including how many seizures they’ve had, the severity of the fits, and whether they’ve previously been diagnosed with epilepsy. In most scenarios, your vet will perform a thorough physical examination and some diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the seizures. If your vet feels your dog needs a brain scan, they will likely be referred to a specialist hospital or clinic.
If your dog is rushed to the vet after a cluster of seizures (more than two seizures in 24 hours), they will likely be prescribed drugs to control their condition.
Does my dog have canine epilepsy?
In most cases, epileptic seizures respond well to treatment. Can break down Epilepsy in dogs into three categories — idiopathic, structural, or reactive. Idiopathic epilepsy effectively means can establish no underlying cause of the seizures. This is the most common cause of seizures in dogs, and, in most cases, the condition is inherited. Idiopathic epilepsy is often called primary epilepsy.
Structural seizures can be brought on by head traumas, brain inflammation, stroke, or brain tumours. However, the fits themselves may not present for weeks, months, or even years after brain damage occurs. Reactive seizures are usually the result of metabolic imbalances. These can include low blood glucose, low blood calcium, high blood potassium, liver disease, and kidney failure. Poisoning from the likes of lead and snail bait can also cause structural seizures in dogs.
In most cases, it cannot cure epilepsy but can be controlled. There are drugs available that can help your dog live a seizure-free life. It would be best if you spoke to your daytime vet about your options.
Epilepsy in dogs, are some breeds prone to it?
Idiopathic epilepsy runs in the families of some dogs and is genetic in several popular breeds, including golden retrievers, beagles, Labradors, and Shetland sheepdogs. If your dog has epilepsy, you should not use them for breeding.