What You Need to Know About Dog Seizures
Witnessing a dog or other pet having a seizure can be frightening, especially when it's your pet that loses control, falls over, chomps its teeth, salivates, drools, whines, paddles its paws, and possibly loses bowel and urination control. Eyes can enlarge (dilate) and your pet is unresponsive. Seeing a seizure happen to your dog or pet, you might panic and feel helpless.
Hopefully, your dog will never have a seizure experience. But, this information will help you understand the possible causes of seizures, and what to do and why if your dog has one, and the various treatment options available.
Epilepsy in dogs is one of many causes of seizure.
Some dog breeds are more prone to epileptic seizure. However, causes for "hereditary" epilepsy are not known for certain. Included in this group are: Keeshond, Tervueren, Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, Collie, German Shepherd, Irish Setter, Golden Retriever, Dachshund, Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard, Miniature Schnauzer, Siberian Husky and Wire-haired Terrier.
Dogs with allergies to dog foods with chemicals, preservatives and artificial flavors can have seizures.
Other causes include liver and kidney disease, tumors, poisoning, and low blood sugar.
If your dog is having a seizure, stay calm.
Although difficult to do, a calm, quiet, reassuring voice will comfort your dog. Remove objects that could be dangerous to or hurt the dog, or place pillows or wrap blankets between the pet and the object. Slide something soft under your pet's head, keeping your hands and face away from its head so not to risk a possible bite. Gently stroke the dog's hip or side, but be positioned on the opposite side of the feet and toenails. Muscle spasms can curl paws into claws that can rake your skin. Dim lights. Keep the environment as quiet as possible.
Write down observed details about the dog's seizure to report to your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian will want to know the time of day seizure occurred, time length of the seizure, time between each seizure if recurrent, if your dog urinated or defecated, if seizure hit suddenly or progressed from body twitching, when your pet regained consciousness, how long before your dog appeared normal again, and whether anything occurred leading up to the dog's seizure. Were there possible triggering events such as loud noises like fireworks, unusual items ingested or excessive activity or exercise?
Some veterinarians will want to see if your dog experiences a subsequent seizure.
Some will immediately perform blood tests, checking for anemia, liver and heart functions, calcium, glucose, and electrolyte levels. The veterinarian may run screens for toxins, take x-rays, or perform an electroencephalogram, although test results may not reveal reasons for the dog's seizure. Your veterinarian might wait to see if the dog has another seizure and may suggest medications. If the diagnosis is epilepsy, the dog has an excellent chance for a normal life with proper medical care and follow-up.
After seizure, dogs often appear lost or drugged. This state can last a few minutes to several hours depending on the severity of the dog's seizure. Your dog may respond to you, but react slowly. Seizures are exhausting. Your dog will probably want to sleep afterwards. Check your pet occasionally without disturbing its rest.
Eliminate the source of the seizures; you may be able to eliminate future seizures from occurring.
If your dog's seizures are due to chemical toxins, eliminate those toxins as much as possible. In any case, feed a diet of human grade food and treats that are free from chemical preservatives, fillers and by-products.
Natural approaches can help some pets, either prior to stronger medications or in addition to them, so you may be able to use lower doses.
Varieties of treatment options include a natural diet, nutritional supplements, homeopathy, herbs, conventional medications and acupuncture. Sometimes, placing an ear acupuncture tack in a dog's ear will stop seizures, and this requires only one acupuncture visit. Or, your pet can be treated with traditional Chinese acupuncture.
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