Dog seizures are one of the top neurological problems among canines, and they are brought on by a variety of conditions. If you have ever witnessed a seizure, you understand how scary it seems. Seizures or convulsions are caused by a brief disturbance in brain activity that results in involuntary muscle movement. Many seizures, although they are concerning, are mild and can be managed through treatment.
Your friends at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital explain more about the causes of dog seizures and what you should do to help your dog cope with this condition.
Types of Dog Seizures
There are four forms of seizures in dogs, including grand mal, focal, idiopathic epilepsy, and psychomotor. Grand mal seizures generally last for up to a few minutes and are triggered by disruption in the electrical activity of the brain. They are referred to as generalized seizures. Focal seizures resemble grand mal but only focus on one side of the brain or affect one side of the body.
Psychomotor seizures are unusual in that they cause the pet to behave erratically, sometimes running in circles or engaging in strange behavior. Whereas idiopathic epilepsy is a seizure with no known cause.
There are many conditions that can bring about a seizure in dogs, such as toxicity, kidney or liver disease, head injury, blood pressure fluctuations, electrolyte imbalance, anemia, head injury, and genetic predisposition.
Symptoms of Dog Seizures
As explained by the forms of seizures in dogs, the signs can vary greatly. Among those common forms of seizures, these are symptoms that can alert you to an episode.
- Muscle stiffening
- Jerking movements/spasms
- Loss of consciousness
- Tongue chewing
- Involuntary urinating/defecating
- Foaming at the mouth
- Restlessness, unusual behavior
Prior to a seizure, your dog may appear to be staring off into space or somewhat unresponsive.
What You Should Do During Dog Seizures
Consult your veterinarian when you suspect your pet has had a seizure. We will determine the cause and what type of seizure your pet experienced to allow for an accurate treatment plan. Most of the time, generalized seizures, while frightening, are not serious. If it’s an ongoing condition, a veterinarian may prescribe anti-seizure medication. During a dog seizure, follow these steps:
- Remain calm
- Move away any furniture or items that your pet can get hurt on
- Don’t touch your pet’s mouth or face, since this can be a bite hazard
- Speak in a low, calm voice and provide soothing back strokes
- Keep track of the time and duration and jot the episode down to discuss with your veterinarian
Afterward, your pet will need some rest and a relaxing environment in which to recover. If these episodes increase in frequency, always speak with your pet’s doctor about it.
Contact us if you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about dog seizures and what you can do to help your pet.