Seizures in Small Dogs by Davin Trent |Published 05-12-2023
Dogs enrich our lives with their caring nature, unconditional love, comfort during troubled times, and unwavering companionship. These empathetic creatures give us hope for the future and a feeling of purpose in life. Dogs simply are the best!
And witnessing your canine best friend go through a seizure can be a scary and stressful experience. We are fully aware of how frightening it is to watch. But it's important to keep calm and avoid panicking, as they often aren't life-threatening.
In this article, we're going to talk about what dog seizures are, why they occur, and what to do if your dog experiences one.
Seizures are a common occurrence in dogs. They refer to a neurological condition in which changes in canine behavior, consciousness, and body movements happen due to temporary disruption of normal brain function.
There are different types of seizures in dogs, each with a unique set of symptoms and patterns. We have listed out a few for you;
It's important to note that the duration and intensity of a seizure can vary from dog to dog. Some might experience mild symptoms, while others may suffer from severe seizures. Observe closely and consult a vet if necessary.
Let's look at the different causes that may cause seizures in dogs:
Idiopathic epilepsy, one of the most common types of seizure disorder, can affect a dog of any breed or age. There's no identifiable etiology for this; however, it is largely believed to have a genetic basis.
Structural brain abnormalities like brain tumors, brain infections, or head trauma can also cause seizures/epilepsy in dogs.
Congenital defects, such as cerebellar hypoplasia (an underdeveloped brain) and hydrocephalus (fluid in the brain), can also lead to seizures in dogs.
Even certain household food items can be potential toxins for your dog. For instance, exposure to dark chocolate, ethanol, bromine, mushrooms, xylitol, or more toxic ones (poisoning) like lead and organophosphate insecticides can instigate seizures.
Infectious diseases, including distemper or encephalitis, can contribute to seizure occurrence in canines.
Metabolic conditions/imbalances such as kidney & liver disease, hypothyroidism, and hypoglycemia can also cause seizures in dogs.What happens during a typical seizure? (Signs and symptoms in small dogs)
Seizures sometimes get confused with shivering or tremors due to their similarities. The prominent difference is the awareness of surroundings, which, in the case of seizure, is absent.
So, what actually happens during a seizure, and how do you recognize it? The following signs and symptoms indicate a seizure:
Seizures in dogs can occur out of the blue, without any warning, turning your flight and fight mode on. Here's what you should do if your dog is seizing:
Your best friend will get back to the mischievous, wholesome mode in no time!Are Dog Seizures Treatable? (If yes, how?) There's no such thing as a permanent cure for seizure, unfortunately.
Depending on the underlying cause, your vet may proceed with a dietary change, therapy, or certain medications.
Anti-convulsants like phenobarbital and potassium bromide are commonly used medications to treat or control seizures. It is said that "once an anti-convulsant is started, it must be given for a lifetime."
That statement has to do with the medication's side effects. If the dose is missed or discontinued, the risk of severe seizure in the future escalates. Besides, the treatment focus on minimizing the seizure to improve the quality of your dog's life.Is a seizure painful or dangerous for my dog?
Despite the frightening sight, dogs don't necessarily experience pain during seizures. But if the seizures are severe or tend to happen frequently, that can be dangerous.
Uncontrollable muscle activity, loss of consciousness, and control over the body can make both the dog (as it's confusing for them) and the owner panic. Composing yourself is essential to tackle the situation.
Although, seizures can induce other health issues, like injuries as a result of biting or falling (during a seizure), respiratory issues, or inhaling saliva or vomit that significantly increases aspiration pneumonia.
Also, avoid putting anything in your dog's mouth; it can make it difficult for them to breathe.
Prolonged or Status epileptics and multiple seizures or cluster seizures can make your dog suffer irreversible brain damage. If your dog experiences any of these two, you can't overlook it and wait for it gets better on its own. Seek veterinarian help right away!
Remember, if your dog ever experiences a seizure, don't panic! Monitor the seizure, move them to a safe area, and reassure them with a comforting voice. The next step is to examine their health and seek a vet if necessary.
Made it this far? Superb! We hope this article helped you learn everything you needed to know about seizures in dogs.