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Can dogs have seizures?

Updated on February 17, 2011

Dogs can have seizures…and this scary thing can happen to the beloved pet for no apparent reason. There is nothing like having a dog in the home. These little and not so little furry creatures have entertained people with their comic antics. Dogs have been the most loyal and affectionate companion of man. Dogs are well loved animals. Thus it would be heart rending to watch a seizing pet most especially if the owner has no idea what must be done.

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Causes of seizures

Seizures basically occurs when brain activity is disrupted so that the confusing signals make the body and the muscles go haywire. This situation can be due to a lot of causes. A blow in the head, a, brain tumor that puts pressure on the brain, distemper that causes brain damage, heart worm infestation and calcium deficiency can result to seizures. Dog experts have this theory that seizure can be hereditary as it is common in Dachshunds, GSDs, Belgian Tervureren and in other purebred dogs. Apart from being scavengers, dogs can be the Dennis the Menace in animal world. Dogs often get their paws into toxic substances. When this happens, the toxic chemicals and toxic plants will be ingested and result to poisoning. Seizure is one of the telltale signs of poisoning. Generally, a seizure is a harbinger of an underlying medical condition the most common of which is primary and secondary epilepsy.

Symptoms of seizures

Symptoms of seizure vary. The signs that the dog is having a seizure depend on the severity and on the stage of seizure. Typical of a seizure is the intense and involuntary activity that usually lasts from 45 seconds to about 3 minutes. At the onset of the attack, the dog would lose control of the limbs. The light shaking of the limbs will progress into a brisk paddling as if the dog is swimming. Continuous movement of the jaws will be noticed. The dog will salivate, drool and foam at the mouth. The dog may not be unconscious but it is apparent that it is unaware of its surroundings given that the dilated eyes will be unresponsive. The dog will lose control of bodily functions so that involuntary urinating and defecating may be manifested. The pet may also lose consciousness.

Stages of seizure

The onset of seizure is the pre-ictal stage. The head shaking and the “fly catching” motions of the dog is a sign that the seizure is about to start. Ictal, the actual seizure is characterized by the uncontrollable spastic motion of the dog’s muscles. The dog may fall over on its side while convulsing. The dog, losing control of its salivary glands would drool and foam at the mouth. During this stage, the dog may also lose control of its bowels. The post-ictal stage is the period that follows after the dog has convulsed. The unconscious pet would regain consciousness but it will still be disoriented. The dog will manifest an uncoordinated movement. It is also possible that the dog will both be temporarily blind and deaf. It is during this stage that the dog will need the owner’s help. Keep physical contact with the pet. The confused and disoriented dog will be comforted by voice and the touch of the master.

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