Watching a beloved family dog experience a seizure can be difficult and emotional. Luckily, seizures are the most commonly reported neurological condition in dogs, and there’s a wealth of information both online or from a veterinarian about causes and treatment. Seizures frequently take place when neurological activity is changing for dogs, so the first time owners see a seizure happen may be when the dog is waking or falling asleep, eating or overly excited. The actual seizure is a burst of uncontrollable electric activity in the brain.

This abnormal incidence of electric activity might occur once, or very infrequently (once a month or less) and could be caused by the dog ingesting something poisonous, by issues with electrolytes or blood sugar, or anemia. Because a single seizure poses little danger to a dog, a veterinarian will most likely not choose to treat the seizures if they happen less than once a month. Instead, they will work to diagnose the source of the seizure activity, and treat the underlying problem. Both liver and kidney disease, brain cancer, a stroke or anemia can all produce seizure activity, and once a vet is able to diagnose the source of the problem that’s where they will focus their treatment.

There are four different kinds of seizures in dogs, and while it’s uncommon for a veterinarian to be able to actually witness the seizure, based upon the behavior of the dog they are able to form a diagnosis about the likely source. A generalised, or grand mal, seizure is the most common and the kind most frequently show in television and movies. As in people, dogs will appear unconscious, lose control of their body and shake or convulse violently. They can last from just a few seconds to a few minutes, but if they go on for too long they can cause lasting brain damage.

A focal seizure takes place in just one small part of a dog’s brain, so physical exhibitions of seizure activity are limited to only a portion of the dog’s body; such as one side or one limb. Psychomotor seizures also display differently, in a strange or unexpected behavior. Dogs might run in circles or become aggressive towards a specific object; these are tough seizures to diagnose and frequently require the input of a behaviorist. The unusual behavior will always be the same during the seizure, which can help with diagnosis.

Seizures in dogs with an unknown source fall under the classification of idiopathic epilepsy, and require treatment specific to the seizures. Using veterinary supplies, a vet will perform a serum chemistry profile which looks at the overall health of the dog and eliminates the possibility that there is an unseen underlying cause for the seizures. Even if subsequent testing with an EKG, a spinal fluid analysis, or a CAT scan support a diagnosis of epilepsy, it’s possible for the dog to maintain a normal lifestyle. The vet will likely prescribe phenobarbital or potassium bromide for the rest of the dog’s life.

Even after the diagnosis and formation of a treatment plan, a dog who experiences seizure will benefit from regular vet appointments and lab tests. Laboratory consumables are employed when taking blood and urine from the dog and for a complete blood count (CBC) and urinalysis, which give a snapshot of the dog’s overall health.

Unfortunately there is nothing that an owner can do during a seizure to help their dog, but with Vetlab Supplies a veterinarian should be able to diagnose the cause and kind of seizure and reduce the frequency and intensity of future seizures.

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One Comment

  1. Robikn says:

    Well, being that Lyme disease can cause seizures in people. I wouldn’t rule out Lyme disease causing seizures in dogs, as dogs can get Lyme disease too, from infected tickbites.

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