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Why do dogs have seizures?

Updated on February 18, 2012


Canine seizures can signify that the dog has an underlying neurological disorder. Dogs, like humans have a normal level of neurological activity. Electrical and chemical signals are used by the brain cells to communicate. The neurons are either activated or shut off. When the brain cells gets too excited, an imbalance of the activating and shutting off signals will be created. The result…seizure! Idiopathic epileptic seizures can happen for no apparent reason. Ingestion of toxic substances, reaction to medication, degenerative disorders, developmental disorders, tumor, and trauma can trigger a seizure attack.

The warning signs of a seizure attack

Seizure symptoms vary from dog to dog though it was noted that a change in behavior is one of the most common signs. The dog would be restless and nervous. This will be followed by trembling and whining.

During the seizure

The dog would fall down and make thrashing movements. The dog would continuously whine while drooling. Dilated eyes would be unresponsive. The dog may defecate and urinate as well.

You would want to help the dog but the best thing you can do is to stay calm and let the dog seize. Although it appears otherwise, the dog is not in pain. Just make sure that the pet won’t hurt itself. Remove any heavy objects that can fall and hurt the dog because of its continuous   thrashing. You may also need to move the dog away from stairs but be careful in doing so. Make sure your hands are away from the head to avoid being bitten. Don’t try to restrain the dog and keep your hands away from the mouth of the dog. It is your pet but some dogs are known to attack during a seizure. Some seizure would last for a few minutes, others would last longer. Make the dog as comfortable and calm as possible. You may want to slide a pillow or a folded cloth under the dog’s head. Dimming the light and minimizing the noise would be a good idea.

After the seizure

Post seizure dogs will be disoriented and manifest aggression. The dog will also be very tired. Be cautious in approaching the dog. The disoriented state can last longer and the dog may not be responsive to you or would react slowly. You may notice that the dog will have difficulties in walking, would bump into furniture and get stuck in corners. This would be due to the temporary blindness that could result from the seizure. This is when the dog would need your help. Lead the dog to a quiet corner. Talk calmly to settle the pet. After a seizure the dog would be extremely thirsty and hungry. Refrain from giving a full meal. Instead of water, place a few ice cubes on the water bowl. Too much excitement over the food can trigger another attack.

Dog having a seizure

Dog seizure


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      Abby 7 years ago

      My 7yr. Boxer has been not acting like herself. Standing in corners and stairing at the wall then almost falling over. When she goes out back she walks the perimeter along the fence. He behavior has me concern. Had her at the vet the blood work came back negative. I believe she has CDS. Will be calling the vet tomorrow.

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      Michelle 7 years ago

      My dog has been havig seizures just like Oliver did. I had him to the vet and the vet can not tell me why he is having seizures either..He started having them in Oct of 2009 and he has had one every month now. he is only 2 he turned two in jan. I have had blood work done on him and every thing came back normal.. For the life of me i cant find any thing wrong with him... I hope its not a brain tumor

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      Heather 8 years ago

      The 2nd video "Oliver having seizure" is exactly what my dog did. It was the 1st time Ive ever seen an animal seize. Scared me so bad but for some reason the "nurture" kicked in and I just held her between my arms giving her room to move as she needed. I guarded her from hitting anything and just rubbed her side and told her she was gonna be ok. Called the Er vet, she said it did sound like she had a seizure to just keep an eye on her seeing she is only a 3-3 1/2 year old Whippet mix. So far she has not had any more and I hope it stays that way.