Just as humans can have seizures so can dogs. It has various causes and are categorized based on various attributes. Most dog lovers are more familiar with Epilepsy, but there are more causes for seizures in dogs.

What Causes Seizures in Dogs?

1. Epilepsy

2. Infection

3. Kidney Failure

4. Stroke

5. Liver Disease

6. Brain Injury or trauma

7. Toxins ans poisons

8. Brain tumors

9. Uncontrolled blood sugar

10. Encephalitis

11. Neurological disease

As you can see there are a number of things and conditions that can cause a dog to have seizures. They are characterized by phases, prodrome, pre-ictal, ictal, and post-ictal phrase.

A. Prodrome- happens before a seizure starts and is a clue that a seizure is coming on. Not all dogs experience this phase of a seizure.

B. Pre-lctal Phase- is called the “aura” phase which occurs right before the start of the seizure and it can be seconds to hours before the seizure actually starts. This is known as an “emergency broadcast” that something is wrong. It would be a sign to the owner to get your pet somewhere they can seize where he or she will be safe.

My Yorkie had seizures and I always knew when she was about to have one. I would hold her tight in my arms and would speak softly to her and rock her in my arms until the seizure ended. While this worked for her not all dogs can be held. Your dog might want to cling to you, tremble, whine or drool bad. This is a sigh the seizure is about to begin.

C. Ictal Phase– This is the seizure itself and can last from seconds to minuets depending on the cause and type of seizure it is. If a seizure lasting longer than five minutes should be taken to the vet right away.

D. Post-lctal Phase-This refers to when the seizure has ended and can affect the dog for days, but is not connected to the severity of the seizure. Their body is trying to cope with what has just happened to them (the trauma of the seizure).

Symptoms of the Post-lctal Phase

1. Pacing

2. Lack of coordination

3. Drooling

4. Confusion

5. Disorientation

6. Restlessness

7. Temporary Blindness

Types of Seizures in Dogs

1. Generalized Seizures– Both sides of the dogs brain receive electrical “misfiring” Often times the dog will fall to the floor, their legs will stiffen and extend where they will jerk. The dog may or may not be conscious. Your dog may stop breathing so watch them closely. After about 30 seconds you dog may chomp their teeth, their legs will tremble and paddle, they will drool and whine.

2. Partial Seizures- are known as focal seizures in dogs. You might see your dog jerk or twitch on one side of it’s body. They may curl their body to one side or turn their head to one side.

3. Cluster Seizures occur when your dog has several seizures over a short period, but they have spells of consciousness between episodes. These seizures require immediate medical attention, because they can threaten your dogs life.

4. Status Epileptics is when the dog has a seizure that lasts 30 minutes or longer. This is a serious issue and without getting immediate medical care he or she could develop severe brain damage or even die.

Things to do If Your Dog Is Having a Seizure- If you see your dog having a seizure remain calm. Getting excited or fearful will not help the dog. You have to be able to give the vet an explanation of what happened and about how long the seizure lasted.

When your dog is having a seizure don’t move the dog but move anything around the dog that could harm him or her while having a seizure. Try placing a cushion under the dogs head and talk softly to them telling them it’s going to be OK, or you could sing softly to them much like I did when my Yorkie would have a seizure.

There are also medications that the vet may put them on to try to control their seizures. Try to time your dogs seizure whenever they occur. Note everything that took place and when the seizure has ended call your vet immediately and explain everything that happened. This will help the vet to know exactly what steps need to be taken to help the dog.

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