When our pets are happy, they make us feel exactly the same and can easily brighten our day within seconds. Unfortunately, dogs also have bad days and some even experience seizures and this leaves many owners confused and not really knowing what to do. For this reason, today we have compiled some information you may find useful including symptoms, causes, and what you should do if you witness the seizure yourself.
Before we head any further, we should say that regular seizures can be a huge problem and this is called epilepsy. Within the brain, they will experience abnormal bursts of electrical activity which changes their appearance and behaviour. Although some dogs recover within a minute, others last for several minutes and it can be a worrying sight.
Causes – In truth, there are a number of causes aside from epilepsy. If it is rare and takes you by surprise, it could be due to liver disease, consuming poison, kidney disease, anaemia, an injury to the head, blood sugar fluctuations, strokes, brain cancer, electrolyte problems, or encephalitis.
Symptoms – In truth, every dog is different in how they will react but the basic example of a seizure will see them collapse, stiffen, jerk, chomp, drool, twitch, or even foam at the mouth. As well as peddling their legs, some dogs will wee or poop during the seizure itself. On the other hand, a less severe seizure might daze your dog until they become confused, unsteady on their feet, and they might not react to your voice. After the seizure is over, some dogs go temporarily blind which would see them bump into items and this could motivate them to hide away.
Types of Seizure – Most commonly, the grand mal seizure is experienced by dogs and this leads to a loss of consciousness and maybe even convulsions. As we saw earlier, an abnormal amount of electrical activity will occur. In some cases, a ‘focal’ seizure might take place and this is focused on one part of the brain which leads to the symptoms occurring down one side of their body. Often, a seizure will start as a focal type before progressing to a generalized seizure affecting the whole brain.
In addition to these two, there are also rarer examples including a psychomotor seizure. With this type, your dog might start behaving in a strange way like attacking the air or chasing their tail quite ferociously. At first, these types can be very hard to spot but keep in mind that your dog will do the same thing every time the seizure takes place. Finally, you might not know the cause and this is when epilepsy is diagnosed. Found in dogs anywhere between 6 months and 6 years of age, it is particularly common in certain breeds including; German shepherds, labrador retrievers, border collies, beagles, collies, Australian shepherds, and Belgian Tervurens.
What to Do – If you see your dog having a seizure, the first step would be to remain calm. If they are in a dangerous position or near sharp furniture, gently move them away. During this moment, they could bite so be wary of this and do not put anything in their mouth. Although they will return to normal eventually, there is a risk of overheating after a couple of minutes so pour water on their paws and try a fan directly on them. If you can, talk to them in a soft manner and touch them gently. After it has passed, contact the vet. If they don’t stop or have numerous seizures in the course of a few hours, visit the vet immediately.