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Seizures In Canines: Signs, Causes And What To Do If Your Canine Has One – DodoWell

In case your canine has ever had a seizure, you understand it may be a very scary expertise — each for you and your pup.

However what’s really occurring throughout a seizure, and how are you going to greatest assist your canine by means of one?

To seek out out why they happen, signs to look out for and accessible therapy choices, we reached out to Victoria DiMegilio, a registered veterinary nurse with DodoVet.

What causes seizures in canines?

Some seizures are idiopathic, which implies there isn’t any clear trigger, or they are often attributable to genetics.

Some widespread causes of seizures in canines embrace the next, in keeping with DiMegilio:

  • Epilepsy: the commonest neurological dysfunction in canines, which causes recurring seizures (many kinds are thought-about genetic)
  • Structural issues within the mind, resembling hydrocephalus (fluid buildup within the mind), inflammatory ailments or trauma to the mind
  • Low blood sugar
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Poisoning from consuming issues like chocolate, xylitol or caffeine
  • tumors
  • liver illness
  • Kidney failure
  • Heatstroke

Levels of a seizure in canines

Seizures are the commonest neurological dysfunction in canines, they usually happen when there’s an issue with {the electrical} exercise in a canine’s mind.

“There are two phases that lead as much as a canine having a seizure,” DiMegilio informed The Dodo, and people are generally known as the prodrome and aura phases.


The first distinction between prodrome and aura phases of seizures are their timelines. The Prodrome part occurs some time earlier than the seizure really begins. It might probably final from hours to days, and a few canines do not expertise this stage.

Many pet mother and father do not even discover one thing is unsuitable at this level as a result of the indicators are very refined, like your canine experiencing restlessness and both hiding from or looking for out their people.


The aura part occurs shortly (inside half-hour) earlier than the seizure, in keeping with DiMegilio. The signs of this stage are much like the prodrome part, however your canine may also present behavioral adjustments, like:

  • hiding
  • appearing clingy
  • circling
  • agitation


The stroke stage is when the precise seizure happens.

“Seizures can final anyplace between a couple of seconds to a couple minutes or can happen one after one other, which is named a cluster occasion,” DiMegilio stated. “They will additional be labeled by their look/severity as focal or grand mal.”


This stage occurs after the seizure (ictus) and is attributable to some residual abnormalities within the mind, DiMegilio stated. It is mainly the aftereffects stage and might final for minutes or days after the seizure.

You may discover these signs in your canine throughout this part:

  • disorientation
  • lack of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Momentary blindness and aggression

If you will get your pup to the vet in time for them to supply care and provides your canine an anticonvulsant, the time your canine spends on this stage might be drastically decreased. In case your pup has a number of seizures one after the opposite (aka cluster seizures), the postictal part is extra more likely to be longer.

Sorts of seizures

There are two kinds of seizures that have an effect on canines, in keeping with DiMegilio.

Focal seizure

A focal seizure, or partial seizure, occurs when the irregular electrical exercise is in a single a part of the mind. This could appear like one facet of the physique or face twitching or one leg making uncommon actions.

“A focal seizure presents as irregular actions in a single space of ​​the physique or with out change in stage of consciousness,” DiMegilio stated.

Another signs of this kind of seizure embrace:

Grand mal seizure

Entire-body seizures are what you in all probability consider with regards to seizures — they’re known as grand mal or generalized seizures. Focal seizures can typically turn out to be grand mal seizures.

A grand mal seizure isn’t inherently worse than a focal seizure, however since they do contain the entire physique, there are extra secondary (like falling off the sofa or dangers down) that might induce harm.

“Throughout these occasions, the animal might vocalize, urinate/defecate on themselves, fall over or stay fully immobile,” DiMegilio stated.

Different signs you may see embrace:

  • limb stiffening
  • Jerking actions
  • Sudden lack of muscle tone
  • Repetitive actions, like licking lips

What to do in case your canine has a seizure

When you is perhaps actually alarmed in case your canine begins having a seizure, there are some issues you are able to do to maintain him secure and assist your vet work out what’s inflicting the seizures.

Get your canine to the vet

In case your canine’s seizure lasts for greater than a few minutes or if he has multiple seizure in 24 hours (aka cluster seizures), take him to the vet instantly, even when he is appearing usually afterwards.

In case your canine’s seizure solely lasts a minute or two, you need to nonetheless give your veterinarian a name after it is over.

Transfer him away from issues that might damage him

Attempt to gently transfer your pup away from something that might injure him whereas he is seizing, like tables.

Time the seizure

Attempt to time the seizure so you possibly can let your vet understand how lengthy it lasted. Canines can overheat if they’ve a seizure that lasts greater than a few minutes, which might result in mind injury, so get your canine to the vet instantly after his seizure ends. Realizing how lengthy the seizure was also can assist the vet diagnose your pup.

Do not contact your canine’s mouth

Do not put your fingers in or close to your canine’s mouth if he is having a seizure as a result of he may chew you with out which means to. It isn’t true that canines swallow their tongues when having a seizure, so that you needn’t fear about making an attempt to cease that from occurring.

Report his signs

Be aware of the signs your canine skilled to assist your vet diagnose him.

keep calm

Attempt to keep calm, and attempt to hold your canine as relaxed as attainable, too. You may soothe your pup by speaking to him and petting him (very gently).

Are seizures painful to canines?

Fortunately, it looks as if canines do not feel any ache in the course of the seizure, however afterwards they may have ache in the event that they damage themselves or they is perhaps confused, disoriented or anxious.

“It’s assumed that as a result of the affected person is unconscious in the course of the occasion, ache isn’t witnessed,” DiMegilio stated. “Nevertheless, there’s all the time the danger for ache in secondary trauma in the course of the seizure occasion.”

Canine seizure remedies

Whereas there isn’t any treatment for epilepsy, there are medicines that may assist forestall seizures from occurring.

“The aim of remedies is to scale back the frequency and severity of seizure occasions to a stage that does not compromise the standard of lifetime of the pet or their household,” DiMegilio stated.

Your vet can prescribe anticonvulsant medicine in case your canine has multiple seizure a month, cluster seizures or seizures that final for a very long time or are extreme. Generally prescribed anticonvulsant medicines are phenobarbital and potassium bromide, and these preventive medicines must be given to your canine for the remainder of his life.

Can seizures in canines be deadly?

“If seizures persist with out supportive therapy or care, they’ll trigger the affected person’s physique to warmth previous a steady temperature,” DiMegilio stated. This could result in mind injury and might typically be deadly.

Seizures are horrifying, however the excellent news is that your canine is not in ache when he has one, and they are often prevented. Simply bear in mind to remain calm and take your canine to the vet as quickly as attainable in case you ever discover signs.

Need entry to a vet 24/7? With DodoVet, you possibly can join through video chat, telephone or textual content with an empathetic veterinary professional who might help you be one of the best pet guardian you might be. Say goodbye to Dr. Google and have all of your pet guardian questions answered anytime, anyplace. Study extra right here.

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