Understanding What Causes Dog Seizures

Seizures, or convulsions, also known colloquially as “fits,” are a somewhat common occurrence in dogs. They can be brought on by a variety of causes, but are typically characterized by uncontrolled muscle activity caused by a disturbance in the normal functioning of your dog’s brain.

Regardless, watching your dog experience a seizure can be a harrowing experience, to say the least. Knowing what caused the seizure, whether or not it’s serious, and what can be done is one way to help you and your dog if you ever have to go through this experience.

What Is the Cause Behind Most Seizures in Dogs?

For dogs, seizures are relatively commonplace and can be caused by a variety of underlying conditions. For most dogs that experience seizures, epilepsy, which is typically inherited, is the underlying condition. Epilepsy is simply a term used to describe repeated seizures. And, while we know that epilepsy is typically the issue, we don’t really know exactly what causes epilepsy in dogs at this point in time.

Seizures are usually triggered during times of shifting activity for a dog. This can happen during feeding, playtime, at the onset of sleep, or upon waking up. Some of the other causes of seizures in dogs include exposure to toxins, brain trauma, kidney problems, liver problems, and brain tumors.

The Symptoms of Seizure Disorders

All seizures in dogs consist of three phases. There is a pre-seizure, or pre-ictal phase, also known as the “aura”; there is the seizure itself, the ictal phase; and then the post-ictal phase.

Before any dog has a seizure, they go through a period when their behavior is different than normal. Your dog may be nervous, they may whine, hide, shake, drool excessively, or refuse to leave your side. This aura phase can last anywhere from just a few seconds to a matter of hours.

The seizure itself typically lasts anywhere from just a few seconds to as many as five full minutes. During a seizure, your dog’s muscles may contract involuntarily, even spastically. The animal may lose consciousness or they may stay awake and snap at objects that aren’t there. They may lose control of their bladder or bowels, and they may salivate a great deal.

Following the seizure, your dog may be disoriented or confused. They may pace, salivate profusely, appear restless, or even experience a temporary bout of blindness. This period can last for several minutes.

What to Do if You Believe Your Dog Is Having a Seizure (or Has Just Had One)

First of all, having a seizure is not a painful experience for your dog. Though they may panic before or afterward, they are not in much danger from the seizure, provided it does not go on for more than five minutes and you take steps to keep them from injuring themselves while the seizure is happening.

If the seizure goes beyond the five-minute mark, seek emergency veterinary care immediately. Under no circumstances should you try to put any object or your fingers in your dog’s mouth during a seizure. Despite what you may have heard, your dog is in no danger of swallowing their tongue.

A single seizure is rarely cause for alarm if it does not extend beyond five minutes. Clusters of seizures however, or a prolonged event, are definitely worth scheduling a trip to the vet at your earliest opportunity.

Save on Your Dog’s Seizure Medications at Diamondback Drugs

If your dog is prescribed medications to help treat her seizures or their underlying cause, then you can get these medications filled for less and in easy-to-administer treat-like formulations from Diamondback Drugs.

Get a free quote for your dog’s medications today and see how much you can save with Diamondback Drugs. We can custom-formulate your dog’s medicine into tasty, dose-specific treats that she’ll love taking. Try Diamondback Drugs today!

Author: Giano Panzarella