Seizures in Dogs

Seizures in Dogs

Here we can see, “Seizures in Dogs”

Seizures, often known as convulsions or fits, can occur in dogs for a variety of reasons. The most prevalent cause of epilepsy is idiopathic epilepsy. A seizure happens when the cerebral cortex of the brain malfunctions, resulting in odd actions or motions. A physical anomaly, toxic exposure, trauma, or disease could be the cause of this malfunction. While any dog can have a seizure, certain breeds are more prone to it, such as German shepherds, beagles, huskies, Akitas, and Labrador retrievers.

What Is a Seizure?

A seizure in a dog is an indication of a neurological problem in the brain. Seizures can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from anatomical to environmental, but they always result in a momentary disruption of the dog’s brain’s normal electrical impulses. Seizures can range from a short loss of consciousness to full-blown convulsions of the body.

Symptoms of Dog Seizures

Seizures are classified into three stages of symptoms:

  • The pre-ictal phase: Before a seizure, your dog may notice something isn’t quite right and act abnormally (pacing, whining, carrying rocks or toys, running into walls or furniture, or acting lethargic). This phase, also known as the prodrome, can last anywhere from a few seconds to many days, and symptoms are usually modest, so you may not notice anything is wrong.
  • The ictal phase: Regardless of intensity, this is the stage you would most likely recognise and classify as a seizure. Your dog may become disoriented, stare into space, run in circles, or convulse. This is the active phase of the seizure, which can last anywhere from a few seconds to many minutes.
  • The post-ictal period might extend anywhere from minutes to hours. Symptoms, aside from excessive panting, can be modest and go overlooked. A dog may appear listless or dejected after a seizure. Some dogs, on the other hand, appear restless and pace constantly for a period of time. This is known as the post-ictal interval, and the duration of recovery varies greatly.
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Symptoms emerge as aberrant motor (movement) symptoms, abnormal behavioural symptoms, or a combination of both during the ictal phase of a seizure. The following signs and symptoms are frequent, although they can be concerning:


  • During a seizure, your dog’s degree of consciousness may shift or he may go unconscious.
  • There may be a change in muscle tone, resulting in stiffness in the legs and neck.
  • Muscle jerks and/or paddling of your dog’s legs are possible symptoms.
  • Your dog’s facial muscles may also move during a seizure, making his eyelids flicker or his lips open and close quickly.
  • Your dog may lose control of his body functions for a short time and urinate, poop, or drool too much.

When your dog has a seizure, make sure it is in a safe place where it cannot hit its head or fall while experiencing possibly severe, jerking motions. During the seizure, keep your hands and face away from your dog’s mouth since your dog will be unable to control its movements and may bite you accidently.

If your dog has seizures often, you may have gotten into the “habit” of moving him quickly to a safe place (if possible) and keeping paper towels on hand to clean up drool, urine, and feces.

Grand Mal Seizures

Generalized motor seizures occur when the entire body is affected. A dog experiencing a grand mal seizure may collapse, stiffen, and aggressively shake its entire body. Many dogs salivate or foam at the mouth, and others unintentionally urinate and/or defecate. During a seizure, dogs may also vocalise, whining and growling.

Cluster Seizures

Cluster seizures are when several grand mal seizures happen quickly one after the other over the course of 24 hours. This makes the seizures more severe and increases the risk of status epilepticus.

Psychomotor Seizures

Psychomotor seizures are characterised by strange behaviour that lasts only a few minutes. Your dog, for example, may begin chasing its tail or acting as though it sees things that aren’t there.

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Focal Seizures

These seizures are the least serious, affecting only one portion of the body and may appear as nothing more than a twitch in the dog’s face muscles or limbs.

Causes of Seizures

Seizures have a variety of causes, and external factors can cause seizures in dogs who are vulnerable. The following are some of the most common causes of seizures in dogs:

  • Idiopathic epilepsy (generally considered hereditary with no known anatomical or environmental cause)
  • Changing brain activity (falling asleep, waking up, or experiencing a high level of stimulation or excitement)
  • Allergenic ingredients in dog food (rosemary, gluten, grains)
  • Toxic chemicals (household cleaners, pesticides)
  • Insect or snake toxins (from stings and bites)
  • Portosystemic (liver) shunt
  • Brain tumor (malignant or benign)

Diagnosing Seizures in Dogs

If your dog is suffering from a seizure for the first time, contact your veterinarian, who will assist you in stabilising your dog if necessary. The following stage will be diagnostic testing, which will begin with blood panels (CBC, liver, and thyroid) and a physical examination. If initial testing is unclear, a veterinary neurologist may order a CT scan, MRI, or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) tap to learn more about your dog’s illness.

Prevention and Treatment

If brain abnormalities, brain tumours, brain inflammation, and liver problems are checked out, your dog will most likely be diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy and treated with anticonvulsant medicine to prevent or reduce seizure incidence.

Prescription Medications

Your veterinarian may prescribe one or more anticonvulsant drugs to help control your dog’s seizures:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Potassium bromide (KBr)
  • Primidone
  • Imepitoin
  • Zonisamide
  • Keppra (levetiracetam)

For many canines, anticonvulsant therapy is a period of trial and error. Until your dog’s seizures are under control, you may mix, alter, or switch medications. Lab tests are often needed on a regular basis to check how your dog is reacting to medicine and to see how healthy he or she is overall.

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Seizures in Dogs: What to Expect

Most veterinarians will not recommend pharmaceutical treatment if the seizures occur less than once a month. These medications, like any other medication, have side effects. You may discover that the advantages exceed the hazards if they help your dog manage his seizures. Medication is often required for the rest of one’s life and must be taken at least twice daily. While this is a significant duty, it can help your dog live longer. Many dogs with epilepsy lead normal, happy lives with few seizures.

User Questions

What do seizures look like in dogs?

Collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscular twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue chewing, or foaming at the mouth are some of the signs and symptoms. Dogs can roll over to the side and paddle with their legs. During the seizure, they may defecate or pee.

Should I take my dog to the vet after a seizure?

If your dog has a seizure that lasts longer than three to five minutes, call your veterinarian immediately. Their body temperature might suddenly rise, which can be dangerous. Seizures that last that long in pets, especially as they get older, can cause brain difficulties and damage.

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Should I put my dog down if he has seizures?

If your dog has only had one seizure and is otherwise healthy, you do not need to consider euthanasia. If your dog keeps having seizures and doesn’t get better with treatment, euthanasia may be the best choice for you and your pet.

Are seizures painful in dogs?

Because of the massive amount of electrical activity in the brain and the fact that they’re unconscious or semiconscious, pets have no feeling of pain while seizing. During a seizure, your pet may whine, meow, or bark, but this has nothing to do with pain.

Can CBD oil help my dog’s seizures?

Yes! CBD is a natural alternative to standard medicine that can be very useful in treating seizures in dogs. It comes from the hemp plant.


I hope you found this helpful guide. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to use the form below.


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