How to Handle Epilepsy in Pets.

Constant seizures are one of the common attributes found in humans who have epilepsy, one would wonder if pets who have epilepsy would also experience seizures. Anyways, we will find the answer to that shortly as we will be exploring epilepsy in pets in this article.

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder commonly found in dogs, it is a heterogeneous brain disease characterized by unprovoked recurrent seizures. When the brain is checked, it appears normal but it functions in an abnormal way, when a seizure occurs, it brings about a sudden surge in electrical brain activities, resulting in shaking, twitching, tremors, and convulsions.

Amongst existing pets, dogs are the most common victims of epilepsy. The breed of dogs who are known to have epilepsy is; Bernese mountain dogs, Border collies, Boxer dogs, Poodles, Springer spaniels, St.Bernards, Irish setters, Irish Wolfhounds, Keeshonds, Welsh Corgis, Wire-Haired Fox Terriers, Cocker spaniels, Collies Dachshunds.

Pets can experience epilepsy in three different forms, each form of seizure has its associated symptoms.

Focal Seizures.

This nature of seizure only affects a small portion of only a half of the dog's brain, when your pet is experiencing a focal seizure, the symptoms experienced greatly depends on the affected brain region;
Seasonal movements resulting from abnormal activity steming from a part of the dog's brain, leading to unusual movements like constant muscle contractions of a single limb, rhythmic blinking of the eye and head shaking.

If this seizure is as a result of an electrical activity in the autonomic nervous system, which is the abnormal electrical activity in a portion of the dog's brain, symptoms like excessive salivation, dilated pupils and vomiting will be observed.

When focal seizures affect other sides of the brain, it would lead to an unusal uncharacterized behaviour like unexplained fear, restlessness, anxiety or unusally seeking attention.

Generalized Seizures: This seizure affects both sides of the animal's brain, in most cases of generalized seizures, the pets will lose consciousness and it is most likely that, defection or urination to occur at this stage. A case of generalized seizure would affect both sides of the dog's brain instead of just a single limb, falls into one or two of these categories of symptoms;

  • Tonic seizures that results in muscle contractions or stiffning that wouldn't last for more than just few seconds or minutes.

  • Tonic-clonic seizures starts as tonic seizure followed by clonic seizure.

  • The clonic seizure cause muscle rapid contractions leading to a jerking motion.

  • The dog could also experience drop attacks, characterized with a sudden loss of muscle tone causing them to collapse and ultimately lose conciousness.

Focal to Generalized Seizures.

This is the most common type of seizure that exist in dogs, in this case, the focal seizure develops into a generalized seizure. The lifespan of the focal seizure is often short, it is then followed by generalized seizure. The phase of focal seizure could be so short that pet parents may not even know about the occurence of the focal seizure.

Other medical ailments that can create seizure in dogs include; Kidney disease, Anemia, Encephalitis, Brain cancer, Stroke, Head injury, Cancer, Poison consumption.
If your dog has a sudden seizure, the first thing is to try all you can to stay calm, if your dog is close to any item that could hurt them, kindly slid those items away. At that point, do not try to touch the dog's head or mouth as they could easily bite you, avoid putting anything in their mouth at that point, if the seizure has lasted for over some minutes, there is a chance that he/she could get overheated, the best way to treat this is by turning a fan on your dog and pouring cold water on their paws to help them get cooled.

Call your vet while you are speaking calmly to your pet, the longer the time spent, the higher the body temperature of the dog rises, resulting in their risk of getting a brain damage.

The meals given to your pet plays a significant role in the control of dog epilepsy. If your dog is been treated for epilepsy, make sure to consult your vet before you change anything they eat, as the meal consumed could significantly affect how well the anti-epileptic dog would function. You will know that the treatment administred to your pet is working when, your dog begins to experience fewer seizures than before, since the goal of the treatment is to reduce the occurence of the seizure atleast by half.

Anticonvulsants are a safe treatment option choice for epilepsy, there are several types of anticonvulsants, and once it has been treated, there is a great chance that your pet would contiue with the medication for the rest of his life, if you choose to abruptly stop the medication, seizures will re-ccur. Anticonvulsant treatment is prescribed if one of the following case happens to your lovely pet.

  • The experience of seizure more than once a month.

  • Clusters of seizures, which is not really bad by the way, as it is characterized by consistent seizures within a short time, this seizure may progress into a life-threatening condition characterized by a constant seizure that could last for long hours called status epilepticus, it is a life-threatening condition that requires instant medical emergency.

  • Severe seizures: Prolonged and extremely difficult seizures may get worse if there is no proper treatment.

If you live with a dog that has seizure, you may be worried about leaving them at home, since the seizure can happen at any time. Whenever you are going out, make sure that your pet in a safe space where he would not get hurt if there is a case of seizure attack. In most cases, dogs who take anti-seizure medications often resume their normal lifestyle while experiencing periodic breaks.


Having an epileptic pet isn't something to joke about, once you recognize any symptom, make sure to call the vet instantly as this is the only way to minimize complications and eventual death of your pet.


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