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Seizures in Dogs

Signs, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment of Seizures in Dogs


Seizures are one of the most common neurological problems seen in dogs. A seizure happens when the cerebral cortex, part of the brain, functions abnormally. There are many different diseases that can cause seizures in dogs. Sometimes, as in the case of idiopathic epilepsy, the cause of seizure activity is unknown.

Related: Seizures in Cats

1. Overview of Seizures in Pets

Little old Ricky by Umberto Fistarol on Flickr
by Umberto Fistarol on Flickr

Learn about types of seizures and what to do if your pet has a seizure in this Q & A.

2. Understanding Seizures and Epilepsy

Photo Courtesy of Randy Pertiet/Flickr.com

There may be a lesion inside of the brain that causes the seizure. There are numerous diseases that can cause damage to the brain itself. There are also other diseases that do not directly cause lesions to form in the brain, but instead change the metabolism of the brain or change the way that electricity flows through the cells of the brain.

3. Types of Seizures in Dogs

Photo Courtesy of wolfsavard/Flickr.com

Watching a dog having a seizure can be a frightening experience. It is particularly frightening if your dog has never experienced a seizure before. Learn about the symptoms your dog would experience if he does have a seizure.

4. Causes of Seizures in Dogs

Photo Courtesy of S. Diddy/Flickr.com

If your dog has had a seizure, he should be examined by your veterinarian. In some cases, diagnostic tests will indicate a clear cause for the seizure or seizures. Where no cause can be located, the disease is diagnosed as idiopathic epilepsy.

5. Diagnosing Seizures and Epilepsy

Look into my eyes by Lachlan Hardy on Flickr
Lachlan Hardy on Flickr

Seizures in dogs can be caused by many different illnesses. As a result, if your dog has a seizure, your veterinarian will need to perform some diagnostic tests before a proper course of treatment can be determined.

6. What To Do if Your Dog Is Having a Seizure

Photo Courtesy of Randy Pertiet/Flickr.com

Watching your dog have a seizure can be a frightening experience. However, with a little bit of knowledge, you can make the situation safer for your pet and less frightening for you.

7. What is Status Epilepticus?

Photo Courtesy of Moriartys/Flickr.com

Seizures in dogs, in most instances, only last a short period of time. However, less commonly, the seizure does not stop. This is a condition called Status Epilepticus.

8. Comparing Canine Seizures to Other Diseases or Conditions

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Seizures are the most common neurological abnormality seen in dogs and they can occur with some frequency in cats also. However, there are a few other conditions that can look very much like a seizure. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between these conditions and a true seizure.

9. Treating Dogs with Epilepsy and/or Seizures

Photo Courtesy of punctuated/Flickr.com

If your dog is having seizures, treating the underlying cause of the seizures is the best option, when possible. Unfortunately, many dogs suffer from idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is diagnosed when recurrent seizures are occurring and no cause can be located.

10. Seizure Medications

Pill Vials by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM
by Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM

Phenobarbital is the medication that is most commonly used to treat seizures and epilepsy in dogs and cats. There are other medications for canine and feline seizures too. Learn more about traditional and newer seizure control medications.

11. Readers Respond: Living With A Dog Who Has Seizures

Love by Noël Zia Lee on Flickr
by Noël Zia Lee on Flickr

Do you have a dog (or cat) with seizures? Please share how you found out, how you cope, and tips to help others with epileptic pets.

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