Why Is My Dog Having Seizures? (Correct answer)

There are many causes of seizures. Idiopathic epilepsy, the most common cause of seizures in the dog, is an inherited disorder, but its exact cause is unknown. Other causes include liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, or toxins. Affected dogs can appear completely normal between seizures.

  • One of the most common preventable reasons that dogs have seizures is because they ingest something poisonous. Obviously, the way to stop this from happening is to keep your dog away from harmful substances. Head injuries can also cause seizures in dogs, which is just another reason to try to avoid accidents of thi


What can trigger a seizure in a dog?

Dog seizures are caused by many differing reasons. Other common causes of seizures include issues with your dog’s health such as eating poison, liver disease, low or high blood sugar, kidney disease, electrolyte problems, Anemia, head injury, Encephalitis, strokes and brain cancer.

How do you stop a dog from having seizures?

How to Help if Your Dog is Having a Seizure

  1. Keep Yourself Calm.
  2. Sit Near Your Dog.
  3. Time Your Dog’s Seizures.
  4. Carefully Move Your Dog to a Safer Location.
  5. Speak in Comforting Tones.
  6. Lower Your Dog’s Body Temperature.
  7. Wrap and Comfort Your Dog.
  8. Let Your Dog Sleep.

Should I be worried if my dog has a seizure?

If a seizure lasts more than three to five minutes, this is an emergency and you should bring your dog to a veterinarian. Their body temperature can rise quickly and can be a problem. Especially as pets age, seizures that last that long can cause problems with their brain and cause brain damage.

How many seizures can a dog have before it dies?

Yet, several seizures in a row or a seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is considered an emergency situation that can be life-threatening. Call your vet immediately. The occurrence of more than three seizures in a 24-hour period is also an urgent matter that requires a trip to the vet right away.

What are the 4 types of seizures in dogs?


  • Generalized seizure or grand mal seizure. These are the most common types of seizures in dogs.
  • Focal or partial seizures.
  • Psychomotor seizure.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy.

What foods should dogs with seizures avoid?

Things to Avoid Chemical preservatives, such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin may increase seizure activity, as well. At least initially, organ meats such as livers and kidneys should be avoided. An article in Whole Dog Journal suggests that the diet of a dog with seizures should be free of gluten.

Can a dog live with seizures?

It can be hard to hear that your dog has epilepsy, but with a treatment plan in place, it is possible for your dog to live a completely normal life. However, you need to know how to handle the seizures. If your dog has a seizure, you should be sure that they are away from any objects that could hurt them.

What dog breeds are more likely to have seizures?

Your dog is most likely to suffer from seizures if he or she is a Belgian Tervuren, Shetland sheepdog, beagle, Labrador retriever, golden retriever, keeshond, or vizsla. Other breeds more prone to seizures include the Finnish spitz, Bernese mountain dog, Irish wolfhound, and English springer spaniel.

Can dog seizures be cured?

It is important not to alter or stop the treatment for epilepsy in dogs without veterinary advice. As epilepsy is a condition that cannot be cured, it is very likely that the animal will have to stay on treatment for the rest of its life.

Can dehydration cause seizures in dogs?

The brain swells, causing seizures, lack of blood supply to the GI tract causes ulcers. Dehydration leads to irreversible kidney damage. All these catastrophic events take place within a matter of minutes. Especially susceptible are brachycephalic breeds such as Bulldogs, Pugs or Pekingese.

How does dog act after seizure?

Postictal phase: After the seizure, many dogs exhibit a postictal phase characterized by disorientation. This may last minutes to hours. The most commonly reported signs are behavior changes, prolonged sleepiness, confusion, transient blindness, and eating voraciously.

What does a dog seizure look like?

Symptoms can include collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscle twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue chewing, or foaming at the mouth. Dogs can fall to the side and make paddling motions with their legs. Some dogs may look dazed, seem unsteady or confused, or stare off into space before a seizure.

Do dogs feel pain during seizures?

Despite the dramatic and violent appearance of a seizure, seizures are not painful, although the dog may feel confusion and perhaps panic. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not swallow their tongues during a seizure.

Do seizures in dogs cause brain damage?

That said, seizures can be a serious health concern and even short seizures could cause brain damage. If your dog suffers a seizure that continues for more than 30 minutes serious permanent brain damage could result.

Can a seizure paralyze a dog?

Pets can also suffer from epileptic conditions, just as humans can. The ictal phase or seizure proper, which may include full-body spasms (grand mal seizure), paralysis, leg paddling, loss of bladder and bowel control, or hallucinations. A post-ictal phase in which many of the pre-ictal symptoms are repeated.

Dog Seizures: Symptoms and What You Can Do

Brooke Butler, DVMI, contributed to this article. If you’ve ever witnessed a dog suffering a seizure, you’ve probably felt a sense of panic. When a dog suffers a seizure, he will normally collapse to the ground and may hold his legs straight out from his body while doing so. Depending on the scenario, he may also paddle his legs, and he may run around in a frightened circle for a few minutes before collapsing on the ground. Regardless of how your dog’s seizures manifest themselves, witnessing them is not pleasant, and you may be asking what you can do to assist your scared canine companion when they occur.

And if you believe your dog may have consumed something dangerous that might have caused the seizure, take him to an emergency veterinarian as soon as you possibly can.

Continue reading to discover more about the signs and symptoms of seizures in dogs, as well as how to proceed if your dog is experiencing one.

Symptoms of Dog Seizures

  • Brooke Butler, DVMI, contributed to this report. A dog experiencing a seizure is a really frightening sight, and you’d be understandably concerned if you witnessed one. In the event that a dog suffers a seizure, he will often collapse to the ground and may hold his legs straight out from his body. Depending on the scenario, he may also paddle his legs, and he may run around in a frightened circle for a few minutes before collapsing on his face. When your dog has seizures, it is never a pleasant experience to witness them. You may be asking what you can do to comfort your scared canine companion when these occur. If your dog is experiencing or has just experienced a seizure, make a note of all the information you can recall about it and book an appointment with your veterinarian right once. In addition, if you believe your dog may have swallowed something harmful that may have triggered the seizure, take him to an emergency veterinarian straight away. Aside from that, there’s a significant likelihood that your dog has epilepsy, which is common in dogs. Continue reading to find out more about the signs and symptoms of seizures in dogs, as well as how to proceed if your dog is experiencing one of these episodes.

How to Help if Your Dog is Having a Seizure

Whatever the case, whether this is the first time your dog has ever had a seizure or you’ve witnessed it previously, try to remain cool before attending to your dog. If you get in his face and start sobbing or yelling at him, he will become even more terrified of the entire situation.

Sit Near Your Dog

Sit close to your dog, but refrain from caressing him too much. Petting his back or other portions of his body that he can’t easily reach with his lips is something you can occasionally do with extreme caution. Keep in mind, however, that dogs may bite uncontrollably when they are experiencing seizures. In a similar vein, your dog may be confused when he approaches to you and may bite you out of fear, pain, or bewilderment if he feels threatened. In the event that you are dealing with a dog seizure for the first time, it may be preferable to refrain from caressing him, despite the fact that this may be extremely distressing for you.

Time Your Dog’s Seizures

Sit close to your dog, but avoid caressing him too much at this point. Petting his back or other portions of his body that he can’t easily reach with his tongue is something you may do on occasion, with extreme caution and patience. Dogs may bite impulsively during seizures, though, so keep this in mind. When your dog comes to you, he may be frightened and fearful, causing him to bite you as a result of his discomfort or bewilderment. In the event that you are dealing with a dog seizure for the first time, it may be preferable to refrain from caressing him, despite the fact that this may be extremely difficult for you.

Carefully Move Your Dog to a Safer Location

Sit close to your dog, but avoid caressing him too much. Petting his back or other portions of his body that he can’t reach readily with his lips is something you may occasionally do with extreme caution. Keep in mind, however, that dogs may bite violently while they are having seizures. In a similar vein, your dog may be bewildered when he comes to you and may bite you out of fear, pain, or bewilderment as a result of this.

In the event that you are coping with a dog seizure for the first time, it may be preferable to refrain from caressing him, despite the fact that this can be extremely difficult for you.

Speak in Comforting Tones

Sit close to your dog, but refrain from stroking him. Petting his back or other portions of his body that he can’t easily reach with his lips is something you may do on occasion, with extreme caution. Keep in mind, though, that dogs may bite uncontrollably during seizures. In a similar vein, your dog may be puzzled when he approaches to you and may bite you out of fear, pain, or bewilderment. If you’re dealing with a dog seizure for the first time, it may be advisable to avoid caressing him, even if it may be extremely distressing for you.

Lower Your Dog’s Body Temperature

When your dog has a seizure, the temperature of his body rapidly rises. In order to prevent more seizures, it may be beneficial to gently drape cool washcloths over his feet once the episode is completed. Wait until your dog has regained consciousness before doing this action, as he may bite you if you don’t.

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Wrap and Comfort Your Dog

When your dog has a seizure, the temperature of his body rapidly rises. After the seizure has finished, it may be beneficial to gently drape cool washcloths over his feet to relieve the discomfort. Hold off on doing this until your dog has regained consciousness; else, he may bite you.

Let Your Dog Sleep

After your dog has regained consciousness and is awake, he may appear to be exhausted. Allow him to sleep; you may check on him from time to time, but it is better if you allow him to relax.

Let Your Dog Eat or Drink

It’s possible that your dog will get excessively hungry or thirsty after having a seizure. While you shouldn’t pressurize him to eat or drink, you should allow him to do so if he appears attentive and is able to stand on his own two feet without wobbling or appearing bewildered.

Call Your Vet

Immediately contact your veterinarian and ask for guidance if this is the first time your dog has had a seizure, or if the seizure lasted longer than normal. Follow the advice of your veterinarian. If your veterinarian determines that your dog has epilepsy, he may be prescribed epilepsy medication. It is necessary that you consult with your veterinarian for further information on how to administer this medicine to your dog and what to expect in terms of adverse effects while giving it to your pet.

Are Dog Seizures Treatable?

Dogs are prone to seizures, which are not uncommon. Despite the fact that some breeds are more susceptible to seizures than others, all breeds are capable of experiencing them at some time in their lives. Séizures in dogs can be caused by a multitude of variables such as a dog’s nutrition, his age, inherited disorders, underlying illness, and other factors. They may also be caused by epilepsy in some instances. Only your veterinarian can tell you for certain what is causing your dog’s seizures, as well as how to best treat him if he does.

If you have any questions, please contact your nearestVEG location. You will always have the opportunity to talk with a competent veterinarian.

Dog Seizures: What to Do When Your Pup Has One

There are few things more frightening for dog owners than watching their pet experiencing a seizure. Despite the fact that these events might leave us feeling powerless and out of control, there are things you can do to ensure your dog’s recovery is as safe as possible. We spoke with Dr. Jerry Klein, the Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club, about seizures in dogs and what you should do if you observe one.

What Causes Seizures in Dogs?

The first thing to understand is that a seizure is not an illness, as Dr. Klein says. In the brain, there is some aberrant motor activity that manifests itself as this condition. It can be caused by a number of different factors, the most common of which is idiopathicepilepsy. The exact cause of epilepsy is still a mystery to veterinarians; however, there is evidence to suggest that it is genetic. In addition to electrolyte and blood irregularities, such as hypoglycemia, severe anemia, cancer and brain tumors, brain trauma, metabolic illnesses and exposure to chemicals, other causes of seizures in dogs include a variety of medical conditions.

What Do Seizures Look Like?

Dr. Klein points out that determining whether or not your dog is suffering a seizure is not always straightforward. Whole-body seizures, also known as Grand Mal seizures, occur when your dog’s complete body convulses at the same time. Some seizures, while more difficult to detect, may be localized, such as a facial tremor, or present as a sudden onset of rhythmic movements or actions, such as unusual barking, while others may be generalized. Although most animals recover fast after having a seizure, the time it takes for the owner to watch it might seem like an eternity.

What Should You Do if Your Dog Is Having a Seizure?

If you’re dealing with a seizure-prone animal, there are a few things to keep in mind, says Dr. Klein. “First and foremost, don’t panic.” Observing the following guidelines can assist to keep you and your dog safe until the seizure has passed:

  • Maintain your composure. Although it may be challenging, your dog’s health is dependent on your ability to concentrate. Check the time on your phone. Your veterinarian will benefit from knowing when your dog’s seizure began and how long it lasted since it will provide critical information regarding your dog’s symptoms. You may also ask a witness to record your seizure with his phone so that you can present it to your veterinarian later. If there is another person in the room, you can ask him to do so. Recognize that your dog is not aware or in agony, despite the fact that he may appear to be so
  • When dogs (and people) have seizures, they do not swallow their tongues. Do not attempt to capture his tongue, since you may get bitten as a result of the attempt
  • It is possible for seizure dogs to froth at the mouth or drool excessively, but this does not always indicate that they are infected with rabies. Keep your dog away from stairs during a seizure, cushion his head, and gently cuddle and console him until he begins to regain awareness in order to avoid him from harming himself. Some dogs may urinate or defecate on their owners’ property. This has no effect on whether the seizure is better or worse. Dogs that have seizures that continue longer than 2-3 minutes are at danger of developing hyperthermia (overheating). Cold water or damp cloths can be used around the groin, neck, paws, and head of your dog to attempt to cool him down, but it’s critical that you get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Never hesitate to contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian if your dog is having a seizure, even if your dog appears to be functioning normally. Set up a diary or make a note on your phone to keep track of your dog’s seizures, making a note of the date, time, and length of each seizure. This will assist your veterinarian in determining whether or not your dog’s seizures are related to a pattern. The term “cluster” seizure refers to a group of seizures that occur in a 24-hour period in a single animal. That means your dog needs emergency medical assistance, and you must take him to a veterinarian straight now to get him examined

Searching for the Genetic Basis of Bloat is a related article.

Emergency First Aid for Dogs

A surprising injury or sickness can strike at any time, and even the most conscientious pet owner cannot always safeguard their pet. Getting your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible might be the difference between life and death. To discover more about what to do in an emergency scenario, you may download this e-book now. *You must disable your pop-up blocker in order to download.

Help! Why is my dog having seizures?

For many pet parents, witnessing their dog suffer a seizure is a frightening and worrying experience. There are a variety of causes that can induce seizures in dogs, ranging from heat exhaustion to epilepsy. Our Winston-Salem veterinarians are here now to assist you in learning more about your dog’s seizures.

Seizures in Dogs

The fact that your dog is having a seizure is worrisome for many pet owners, and our veterinarians understand this. Knowing the causes of your dog’s seizures and what to do if your dog has a seizure can help to make the situation a bit less stressful for both you and your pet.

What do seizures look like in dogs?

Dog seizures can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, some of which are more obvious than others.

  • Focal seizures (also known as partial seizures) are seizures that exclusively affect a specific region of the brain on one side of the body. These seizures can be difficult to distinguish from other types of abnormal behavior since they frequently appear to be nothing more than unusual behavior. In addition to hallucinations (growling at nothing, or biting at the air), hair standing on end, dilated pupils, and difficulty walking are also possible symptoms of focal seizures. Generalized Seizures impact both sides of the brain, which means that you will most likely feel symptoms on both sides of the body, and your pet will most likely lose consciousness as a result of the seizures. The symptoms of generalized seizures vary depending on the kind, but some of the most frequent include muscular spasms, jerks, or a rapid collapse followed by loss of consciousness. Focal seizures that progress to generalized seizures are the most common kind of seizures seen in dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. As soon as your dog begins to have a generalized seizure, try to recall what the pet was doing just before the seizure began to occur. There were no odd actions or symptoms before to the generalized seizure, however there were some. Make sure to share the information with your veterinarian.

Immediately notify your veterinarian if your dog exhibits indications of having a seizure so that they can intervene. While not all veterinarians will recommend that you bring your pet in for an evaluation, depending on the severity of the seizure, an examination may be necessary in some cases.

What causes seizures in dogs?

The occurrence of a seizure happens when there is abnormal electrical activity in your pet’s brain, resulting in them losing control over their body. It is conceivable that your dog’s seizure is caused by one of the following underlying causes:

  • Epilepsy caused by genetic or idiopathic factors
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Nutritional imbalances
  • Low blood glucose levels
  • Liver illness
  • Tumors
  • Contaminants in the diet such as coffee and chocolate
  • Head trauma (such as a car accident)
  • Diabetes
  • Infectious disorders such as canine distemper virus infection (CDV) and rabies
  • Heartworms

Do some dog breeds have a higher risk of having seizures?

Some dog breeds definitely have a higher chance of having seizures than others, but it’s essential to remember that not all dogs from these breeds will have a seizure at some point in their lives.

  • Epilepsy is a regular occurrence in herding dogs carrying the MDR1 gene. Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, German Shepherds, Longhaired Whippets, as well as Old English and Shetland Sheepdogs are among the breeds that fall under this category. Large herding and retrieving dogs, such as German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, may be more susceptible to seizures than other breeds. Short-nosed breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, and English Bulldogs can also be more prone to seizures than other breeds of dogs. Some Bull Terriers are affected by a hereditary form of epilepsy that manifests itself in behaviors such as tail chasing, irrational fear, and unprovoked aggressiveness
  • This kind of epilepsy is known as familial epilepsy.

When should I call a vet?

Seizures are prevalent in herding dogs who carry the MDR1 gene, according to research. Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, German Shepherds, Longhaired Whippets, Old English and Shetland Sheepdogs are some of the breeds that fall into this category; others include: Several large herding and retrieving dogs, including German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers, have been shown to be susceptible to seizure activity. Short-nosed breeds such as Pugs, Boston Terriers, and English Bulldogs are more likely than other breeds to experience seizures; they include: It has been seen in certain Bull Terriers that they have a hereditary kind of epilepsy that leads them to behave in ways that are out of character for them, such as tail chasing, irrational fear, and unprovoked violence.

Contact your vet immediately, or visit the nearest emergency animal hospital, if there is a chance that your dog is having a seizure due to poisoning, if your dog’s seizure lasts longer than 3 minutes, or if your dogs has more than one seizure in a row! Seizures lasting for more than 5 minutes could cause serious permanent brain damage.

The therapy for dogs suffering from seizures is determined on the underlying cause. The source of your pup’s seizures will be determined by a series of tests performed by your veterinarian; if no obvious reason can be identified, the condition may be labeled as epilepsy idiopathic (without a known cause). The veterinarian will collaborate with you to find the most effective therapy for your dog’s seizures when a diagnosis has been made. Medication or the maintaining of a seizure diary may be used in the treatment of epilepsy.

If your pet is experiencing an emergency involving seizures,contact your emergency animal hospitalimmediately. Any time you cannot reach your primary care veterinarian, our team at Carolina Veterinary Specialists are here to help with 24/7 vet emergency services.

It is necessary to determine the underlying cause of seizures in order to treat them effectively in dogs. The reason of your pup’s seizures will be determined by a series of tests performed by your veterinarian; if no obvious cause can be identified, the condition may be labeled as epilepsy idiopathic. When your dog’s seizures are diagnosed, your veterinarian will collaborate with you to find the most effective therapy. Medication and keeping a seizure diary are two options for treatment. In some cases, your dog’s primary care veterinarian may recommend that your dog be seen by a veterinary neurology specialist for additional diagnostic testing and advanced medical care.

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What Can Cause Seizures in Dogs?

  • Anemia, head damage, encephalitis, strokes, and brain tumors are all possible outcomes of ingesting poison.

What Are the Symptoms of Seizures?

Collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscular twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue-chewing, or foaming at the mouth are all possible symptoms. Falling to one side and making paddling motions with their legs is something that dogs are capable of. Occasionally, they will defecate or pee during the seizure. They are also completely oblivious to their environment. Before having a seizure, some dogs may appear bewildered, unsteady, or confused, or they may stare off into space.

Your dog may become dizzy, shaky, or briefly blind as a result of the procedure. It is possible that they will wander in circles and bump into things. A lot of saliva may be dripping from their lips and down to their chin. They may attempt to conceal themselves.

What Are the Types of Seizures?

The generalized seizure, commonly known as a grand mal seizure, is the most frequent type of seizure. A dog’s awareness can be lost and he may convulse. It is believed that the aberrant electrical activity occurs throughout the brain. Generalized seizures are generally brief, lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. A focal seizure occurs when aberrant electrical activity occurs in only a specific area of the brain. Focal seizures are characterized by abnormal movements in a single limb or on a single side of the body.

  • They may begin as focused and subsequently spread throughout the body.
  • Your dog can start fighting an imagined thing or chase after their tail out of nowhere.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy is the term used to describe seizures that have no recognized etiology.
  • Despite the fact that any dog can have a seizure, border collies, Australian shepherds, Labrador retrievers, beagles, Belgian Tervurens, collies, and German shepherds are the breeds most commonly affected by idiopathic epilepsy.

What Should I Do if My Dog Has a Seizure?

First and foremost, maintain your composure. If your dog is getting too close to something that might damage them, such as a piece of furniture or the stairs, gently move them away from the dangerous object. Keep your hands away from your dog’s mouth and head because they may bite you. Make sure nothing gets into their mouths! Dogs cannot choke on their tongues because they are too little. If at all possible, time it. If your dog’s seizure lasts for more than a couple of minutes, he or she is at danger of becoming overheated.

  1. Softly converse with your dog in order to reassure them.
  2. When the seizure has ended, contact your veterinarian.
  3. If a seizure continues for an extended period of time, the dog’s body temperature can rise significantly, and he or she may have difficulty breathing.
  4. Your veterinarian may decide to provide IVValium to your dog in order to halt the seizure.

What Should I Expect When I Take My Dog to the Vet?

Your veterinarian will want to do a complete physical examination as well as laboratory tests to determine the cause of your dog’s seizures. Diagnostic imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), can aid in the detection of brain lesions.

Your veterinarian may recommend medication to help you manage your seizures. When administering medication to your dog, always follow the directions provided by your veterinarian. Make sure they don’t miss a dosage.

Mar Vista Animal Medical Center

SEIZURE DISORDER IN DOGSWatching your dog experience a seizure is both frightening and disturbing, especially if it is unexpected. There is collapse, involuntary movement, and often loss of consciousness followed by a period of daze and disorientation. Prolonged seizure activity constitutes an emergency. You are presumably reading this because your dog has had some kind of involuntary fit and you want to understand what it means and what can be done to prevent future episodes so let’s cover some basics. WHAT IS A SEIZURE AND HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR DOG HAS HAD ONE? A seizure results from excessive electrical activity in the cerebral cortex of the brain. The electrical activity starts in one area (called the “seizure focus”) and spreads outwards through the brain causing involuntary movements and loss of normal consciousness. Classically, the patient loses consciousness, collapses, becomes stiff at first and then begins paddling or struggling but seizures can take many forms. Any involuntary behavior that occurs abnormally may represent a seizure. Seizures are classified into several categories. GENERALIZED (GRAND MAL) SEIZURESThis is the most common form of seizure in small animals. The entire body is involved in stiffness and possibly stiffness/contraction cycles (tonic/clonic action). The animal loses consciousness and may urinate or defecate.(Video courtesy of: X3ROX45)FOCAL SEIZURES (ALSO CALLED PARTIAL MOTOR SEIZURES)Focal seizures involve involuntary activity in only one body part. Consciousness may or may not be impaired. A classic example would be the “chewing gum” fit that frequently is seen incanine distemper infectionsbut can be seen in other seizure disorders as well.(Chewing Gum Fit video courtesy of Elizabeth Montgomery)PSYCHOMOTOR SEIZURES (ALSO CALLED COMPLEX PARTIAL SEIZURES)Psychomotor seizures are focal seizures where the seizure is more like an episode of abnormal behavior than an actual convulsion. The pet’s consciousness is disturbed by this type of seizure as the pet appears to be hallucinating or in an altered state. The seizure may include episodes of rage or aggression where the pet does not recognize family members or may be as simple as a brief episode of disorientation or “spacing out.” Fly-biting is an example of a psychomotor seizure.(Fly-biting video courtesy of beckybrava)Seizures (neurological events) are often difficult to tell from fainting spells (cardiovascular events). Classically, true seizures are preceded by an aura, or special feeling associated with a coming seizure. As animals cannot speak, we usually do not notice any changes associated with the aura. The seizure is also typically followed by a post-ictal period during which the animal appears disoriented, even blind. This period may last only a few minutes or may last several hours. In contrast, fainting animals are usually up and normal within seconds of the spell, with no post-episode disorientation.*** POST-ICTAL DISORIENTATION IS THE HALLMARK OF THE SEIZURE ***CAUSES OF SEIZURES AND DIAGNOSTICS: There are many potential causes of seizures: toxins, tumors, genetic disease such as epilepsy, infections, even scarring in the brain from past trauma. Seizures resulting from metabolic problems or toxicity (i.e. when the brain itself is normal) are called Reactive Seizures.Seizures resulting from identifiable brain abnormalities are called Structural Seizures. Seizures for which no clear cause can be found are called Primary Seizures and the patient is said to have Epilepsy. It turns out that dogs of certain age groups tend to have common causes for their seizures. This means that certain diagnostic tests are especially important in dogs of one age group while other tests are going to be more important for dogs in another age group. Here are some basic concepts concerning how age is an important consideration: ANIMALS LESS THAN AGE SIX MONTHSSeizures are usually caused by infections of the brain. For dogs, the most common infectious diseases would becanine distemperor a parasitic infection such as with Toxoplasma or Neospora. Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid, obtained by a tap under anesthesia, would be important though now that PCR technology is available for detecting DNA of infectious agents, less invasive testing may be recommended depending on the infectious under suspicion. Particularly important in small dome-headed breeds (Pomeranian, chihuahua etc.) would be congenital disease such ashydrocephalus, where abnormal fluid drainage from the brain creates damage. ANIMALS BETWEEN AGES 6 MONTHS AND 6 YEARSThe most common reason for a dog, particularly a purebred dog, to begin having seizures in this age range is Genetic Epilepsy (also called Primary Epilepsy.) Epilepsy is diagnosed when no other cause of seizures can be found, there are no neurologic symptoms between seizure events, and the first seizure episodes begin in this age range. Usually basic blood work is done to rule out metabolic causes of seizures but more sophisticated and expensive testing (such as advanced brain imaging) is forgone as the presentation is fairly classic. Schnauzers, Basset hounds, Collies, and Cocker spaniels have 2-3 times as much epilepsy as other breeds. Labrador retrievers and Golden retrievers are also predisposed to epilepsy but tend to begin their seizures relatively late, closer to age five.
Miniature Schnauzer(Photocredit: Morguefile.com) Basset Hound(Photocredit: Morguefile.com) Collie(Photocredit: Morguefile.com) Cocker Spaniel(Photocredit: Morguefile.com)

CANNOT BE MORE THAN FIVE YEARS OLD. Seizures are most commonly caused by a tumor that has grown off the skull and is pushing on the brain in this group (” meningioma ” would be the most prevalent tumor kind). The majority of these cancers are curable if discovered early. A CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) would be the next step. When it comes to this form of imaging, a reference is almost always required. Patients for whom surgery is not an option may benefit from the use of corticosteroids to decrease swelling in their brains.

WHEN SHOULD TREATMENT BEGIN: In 2016, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine produced a consensus statement on this same topic, which may be seen here.

  • In cases when seizures occur in “clusters,” that is, when there are more than three seizures in a 24-hour period
  • When two or more isolated seizures occur within a six-month period, it is considered a cluster. If a seizure lasts for more than 5 minutes, it is considered severe. If the seizures or the post-ictal disorientation phases that accompany them are very severe
  • If the dog has a visible structural lesion on a CT scan, an MRI scan, or even a radiograph, it should be treated immediately. If the dog has a history of brain damage or trauma, see your veterinarian.

Notably, the breeds of German Shepherd dog, Border collie, Australian shepherd, Golden retriever, Irish setter, and Saint Bernard are infamous for their difficulty in seizing control, as is the breed of Border collie. The best course of action in these situations is to avoid waiting for numerous seizures to occur since each seizure makes the next more difficult to manage. After the first seizure, it is common for these patients to be put on medication. The greater the number of seizures that the patient has, the more difficult it will be to maintain control in the future.

German Shepherd(photocredit: MorgueFile.com) Border Collie(photocredit: MorgueFile.com) Australian Shepherd(photocredit: MorgueFile.com) Golden Retriever(photocredit: MorgueFile.com) Irish Setter(photocredit: MorgueFile.com) St. Bernard(photocredit: MorgueFile.com)

MEDICATION IS ONE OF THE OPTIONS FOR TREATMENT. In the United States, there are now four primary drugs that are used to control seizures in dogs: phenobarbital, potassium bromide, levetiracetam, and zonisamide. Phenobarbital is the most commonly prescribed treatment. When one medicine does not provide appropriate control, it is common to mix two or even three medications to establish acceptable control. The ideal first-line anti-convulsant drug is one that is effective, economically priced, easy to give, and has a low risk of adverse effects, among other characteristics.

  • Phenobarbital For decades, this has been the first-line treatment for canine seizure management since it is effective, moderately cheap, and can be administered twice daily, making it a very practical treatment option.
  • Approximately 80 percent of dogs treated with phenobarbital will notice a 50 percent reduction in the frequency of seizures.
  • The disadvantages of phenobarbital usage are related to the possibility of adverse effects.
  • If the phenobarbital dose is not sufficient to maintain an adequate blood level of phenobarbital, the dose should be increased or decreased as necessary.
  • Sedation is one of the drug’s side effects, which is generally transient during the first 1-2 weeks of pharmaceutical use and subsides as the patient’s body becomes used to the medicine.
  • These side effects may be unpalatable to some people.
  • Due to the fact that phenobarbital is excreted through the liver, it is necessary to have healthy liver function when taking phenobarbital.

More information about phenobarbital may be found here.

When phenobarbital was developed, this medicine was used to manage human seizures approximately 100 years ago, but it was quickly replaced by phenobarbital.

When dogs with seizures are started on potassium bromide, it is estimated that 52 percent of them will become seizure-free within a few weeks.

Potassium bromide has been linked to pancreatitis, and it is likely that it should not be used in people who have a history of the condition.

Potassium bromide usage is related with monitoring tests, much as it is with phenobarbital use, and sleepiness is a side effect of the medication.

Levetiracetam (Keppra TM) is a medication that is widely used to treat refractory epilepsy in dogs since it has been found to be quite dependable and to have a low risk of adverse effects.

When taken twice daily, it is not necessary to do any monitoring tests.

More information on levetiracetam may be found by visiting this site.

This medicine is a sulfa class anti-seizure medication that is quickly becoming a first-line therapy option, however it may also be used to enhance more conventional treatments.

Given that it is a sulfa antibiotic, it is susceptible to the adverse effects associated with sulfa antibiotics, which are mostly tear production/dry eye concerns, but can also include immune-mediated responses in certain cases.

For additional information on zonisamide, please visit this site.

TREATMENT CHOICES: DIET In 2017, Purina released a veterinary diet designed to supplement anti-seizure medications. The diet employs medium-chain fatty acids as a fat source (fats come in short, medium, and long-chain types which relate to the length of their chain of their carbon chain) and it turns out that MCT’s have a direct anti-seizure effect. Dogs that were not able to achieve full seizure control with medication were able to improve control or achieve total control after a 3 month trial on this diet. It is not meant to replace medications by any means, just give them a nutritional boost. (original graphic by marvistavet.com)

SEIZURES IN THE HOUSE (WHEN DOES IT DEVELOP INTO AN EMERGENCY?) A Single Seizure that Leads to Innovation When a pet does not have another seizure after starting medicine, he or she is considered fortunate; but, an infrequent breakthrough seizure (as frightening as it may be to witness) is rarely a cause for concern. In most circumstances, it is sufficient to administer an additional dosage of the oral anti-seizure medicine that has been administered before and consider the episode to be over.

  1. Within 24 hours, a second Breakthrough Seizure occurred.
  2. Given the high cost of emergency treatment, it may be prudent to provide diazepam (Valium®) via the rectal route as a first line of defense and to tide the pet over until one’s regular veterinarian can be contacted for assistance.
  3. The injectable substance is administered rectally by the use of a specific syringe that may be stored at the patient’s residence.
  4. Compounded pharmacies have recently developed diazepam rectal suppositories that may be more convenient to administer than the syringe approach; nevertheless, absorption rates for these medications are uncertain, and most neurologists prefer to administer the injectable medicine.
  5. Diazepam can also be administered through the nose, but there is a greater risk of being bitten.- It is critical not to put yourself in risk when dealing with a seizing animal.
  6. As previously stated, a single seizure at home is unlikely to necessitate much more than a simple absence from the scene and the prevention of the pet injuring himself.
  • The seizure activity was non-stop for at least five minutes
  • One seizure followed by another on a regular basis
  • One seizure after another on a regular basis


THIS IS CONSIDERED “CLUSTER SEIZURING” AND DEFINITELY WARRANTS SEIZURE WATCH IN A HOSPITAL SETTING.CAN SEIZURE MEDICATION BE DISCONTINUED EVENTUALLY? While there is some risk to discontinuing seizure medications, this may be appropriate for some patients. Dogs should be completely seizure-free for at least a year before contemplating stopping treatment. In breeds for which seizure control is difficult, it is probably best never to stop medication (German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Keeshonds, Golden retriever, Irish Setter, St. Bernard). Phenobarbital is a medication that cannot be suddenly discontinued; if you are interested in discontinuing seizure medication, be sure to discuss this thoroughly with your veterinarian.OTHER INFORMATION: The Epilepsy Genetic Research Project Veterinary Neurologists at several universities are looking for a genetic answer to epilepsy. They seek DNA samples from epileptic dogs and their close relatives if possible. For more information, visit www.canine-epilepsy.net/cerc.html Canine Epilepsy Network Affiliated with the Veterinary School at the University of Missouri at Columbia, this site reviews canine seizure disorders, treatment, history and more. www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_main.html Epil-K9 This is a support and news group for owners of seizuring dogs. The group has a substantial library of useful resources which can be viewed at: www.canine-epilepsy.comPage last updated: 11/8/2021

What to Do If Your Dog Has a Seizure

IN EITHER OF THESE SITUATIONS, THE TERM “STATUS EPILEPTICUS” is used to describe a situation in which you should stop what you are doing and get your pet to the veterinarian immediately.

What Are Seizures?


Symptoms of Seizures in Dogs

courtesy of BraunS / Getty Images The majority of seizures manifest themselves in three separate stages. The seizure will normally progress through all three phases, although there is no set time limit for how long each phase will occur in each case. Recognize that each phase is distinct, and that once phase three is achieved, the seizure is officially gone.

  1. Pre-ictal (or aura) phase: A time of changed behavior during which your dog may appear scared, hide, or attempt to locate its owner. The dog may look to be restless and may whimper or toss its head in frustration. This period might take a few seconds or several hours, depending on how long the dog has been alerted that something is about to happen. The ictal phase is the actual seizure itself. Its duration might range from a few seconds to around five minutes. During this period, the dog may lose consciousness or just appear to be absent from his surroundings. The dog may lose consciousness, fall over, and even move its body and legs in an irregular manner if it is having a full-blown seizure, also known as grand mal. Besides urinating and defecating on the floor, the dog may also vomit or salivate. Prolonged seizures are defined as seizures lasting more than five minutes and occurring more than once per hour. This is considered an emergency, and you should seek the attention of a medical expert as soon as possible
  2. Post-ictal phase: The period of time immediately following a seizure is typically characterized by bewilderment, disorientation, restlessness, pacing, and, in some cases, vision loss. This is the stage during which the brain heals from the events of the previous day.

However, some dogs may only have seizures when they are under a great deal of stress, and in these instances, the triggers can be avoided if the situation is managed properly. Seizures are not painful for the dog, despite the fact that they appear to be. The most serious consequences for your dog may be injuries sustained during falls or thrashing against items in its immediate proximity when experiencing a seizure.

What to Do During a Seizure

Seizures are unexpected and, in the majority of cases, cannot be prevented. However, certain dogs may only have seizures at times of intense stress, and in these circumstances, the triggers can sometimes be avoided. Cessation of seizures is not uncomfortable for the dog, despite the appearance. Injuries your dog receives through falls or thrashing against items in its immediate area during a seizure are likely to be the most serious consequences.

Diagnosing Seizures in Dogs

However, some dogs will only have seizures when they are under a great deal of stress, and in these instances, the triggers can sometimes be avoided. Seizures are not painful to the dog, despite the fact that they appear to be. The most serious consequences for your dog may be injuries sustained during falls or thrashing against items in its immediate proximity when having a seizure.


Your veterinarian will want to know about your dog’s seizure history in order to provide the best treatment possible. Keep a record of your dog’s seizure history for future reference. Make a note of the information, date it, and save it with your pet’s medical files. Most veterinarians will only begin treating your dog if your dog has suffered from one of the following conditions:

  1. A seizure every four to six weeks or more than once every four to six weeks
  2. Cluster seizures (a series of seizures occurring within a 24-hour period)
  3. Grand mal seizures that last for a long period of time

Your dog will most likely be treated with an anticonvulsant medicine such as phenobarbital or leviteracitam, according to the veterinarian (Keppra). Once you begin administering an anticonvulsant medication to your dog, you must continue to provide it for the duration of the dog’s life. If the medication is stopped, the dog is at increased risk of having seizures. Inform your veterinarian of all of your alternatives and make sure you understand all of the directions if you find yourself needing to switch medications.

Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, since they have evaluated your pet and are familiar with the pet’s medical history, and they can provide the most appropriate suggestions for your pet.

Types of Seizures in Dogs

It may be pretty frightening to witness your dog having a seizure. If this is your first time dealing with a seizure in a dog, you are likely to be at a loss for what to do. Following the experience, you make an appointment with your veterinarian, who recommends that you consult with a veterinary expert, namely a veterinary neurologist who specializes in the neurological systems of animals. Because there are several distinct types of seizures that dogs can have, your primary veterinarian emphasizes the necessity of receiving an accurate diagnosis for the overall treatment and health of your pet.

Our veterinary neurologists are sensitive and caring professionals who will diagnose and treat diseases of the neurological system in your pet. We provide veterinary care for dogs, cats, and other animals. For additional details, please contact us right away.


If you’re like the majority of people, you were probably unaware that dogs may have distinct sorts of seizures. It is critical to have the accurate diagnosis in order to develop the most effective treatment plan possible moving forward. A seizure is often defined as a sudden, uncontrollable electrical impulse in the central nervous system. Normal brain activity is briefly disrupted, and muscles are recruited as a result of this interruption. When dogs have seizures, they frequently tumble to the ground and flail around, seemingly unaware that they are having a seizure.


  • A generalized seizure, often known as a grand mal seizure, can occur. When it comes to seizures in dogs, these are the varieties that occur most frequently. A dog’s awareness can be lost and convulsions can occur, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes. In both focal and partial seizures, the disruption caused by the seizure occurs in all areas of the brain. It is possible for dogs to have this sort of seizure in only one portion of the brain, which results in only one part of the dog’s body experiencing a seizure. These endure only a few seconds, but they have the potential to progress to a generalized seizure, also known as a psychomotor seizure. This form of seizure in dogs is characterized by unusual behavior that lasts only a couple of minutes at a time. This sort of seizure in dogs manifests itself when your dog attacks its tail or an unknown object in an unexpected manner. Idiopathic epilepsy is a type of seizure that might be difficult to identify in dogs
  • Nonetheless, your dog exhibits the same motor sequence throughout each episode. The term “idiopathic seizure” refers to seizures that cannot be defined (which are comparable to the term “diabetic seizure” used to describe idiopathic tremors, which we addressed in our previous blog article).


Seizures in dogs, like idiopathic head tremors in dogs, are frequently caused by unknown factors. The following are some of the causes of seizures in dogs:

  • Genetic problem
  • Ingestion of a toxin
  • Brain trauma
  • Kidney failure (or renal illness)
  • Liver disease
  • Brain tumor


  1. Don’t get too worked up over it. Dogs do not experience pain during seizures, although they may be uncomfortable. Nothing should be placed in your dog’s mouth. When dogs have seizures, they do not swallow their tongues. The act of placing anything in your dog’s mouth might be harmful to the dog. Make sure the space surrounding the dog is free of obstructions. Take precautions to ensure that your dog does not end up in a dangerous situation by tumbling down a nearby stairs or landing on anything sharp or harmful. Call your general veterinarian and schedule an appointment with them. He or she will inspect your dog, take a recent history, do a physical check, and may even run a blood test on your dog if necessary. In addition to ruling out common liver, kidney, and cardiac diseases, these early tests will also rule out the possibility that the patient has heartworm disease. It may be necessary to refer your pet to an expert, such as one of the veterinary neurologists at Veterinary Neurologist and Imaging of the Chesapeake
  2. If all of these tests come up negative.


A cluster seizure is not a specific form of seizure, but rather the term used to describe an episode that lasts for more than 5 minutes (also known as status epilepticus). If your dog suffers from a lengthy seizure, it is critical that you take him to an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible. Dogs suffering from cluster seizures may have dangerously high body temperatures, which may result in brain damage or even death. A veterinary neurologist is a doctor who specializes in the treatment of illnesses of the central nervous system in animals.

We employ magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at Veterinary Neurologist and Imaging of the Chesapeake to create a picture of the brain based on chemical composition, radiofrequency, and magnetic waves.

It is possible that we will utilize these techniques in conjunction with other diagnostic procedures to rule out potential causes and conditions that will aid us in determining the source of your pet’s seizures.

Symptoms, on the other hand, can still be treated.

Anticonvulsants are medications that, once prescribed, must be taken continuously for the rest of one’s life since stopping the medicine might result in more severe seizures than previously.

We think that less is more when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients.

We understand the anxiety that animals often experience when they are taken to the veterinarian, especially when they are sent to a veterinarian expert with whom the dog is unfamiliar.

Our team will answer all of your questions and will guide you through the entire procedure with compassion and care on their faces. We are here to ensure that your dog’s life is as joyful and healthy as it possibly can be. For further information, please contact us right away!

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