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Seizures In Dogs-Why Do Dogs Have Them?



Seizures are terrifying and can cripple your dog severely for a couple of minutes.  It is one of the most dreadful things that can happen to your dog when his brain starts functioning abnormally. This involuntary disturbance to the brain activity is, in turn, mostly accompanied by muscle tremors and loss of body control which are scary. Sometimes these convulsions are mild and fade off within a couple of minutes, however, at times they can be quite severe, causing permanent damage to the brain and thus can be life-threatening.

So what causes these seizures in dogs, ever wondered?

Reasons Dogs Have Seizures


Idiopathic epilepsy is the only rational explanation of why dogs have seizures. It is an inherited condition whose root cause is still unknown. Many researchers also believe that seizures are an outcome of nerve disturbance or abnormal brain functioning which could be due to an underlying illness that may include viral or bacterial infection, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, liver disease and or due to toxins.

How Seizure Manifest In Dogs?

A seizure can occur all of a sudden, in the form of convulsions or spasms and usually has three phases.

  1. The Pre-ictal phase – this is the beginning phase of a seizure where a dog starts acting strangely. He may stagger, become nervous, disoriented, restless and extremely anxious. These symptoms can also be accompanied by whining and salivation in dogs and may even last longer than few minutes.
  2. Ictal Phase – This is the actual seizure phase when the dog loses his consciousness partially or completely. If the seizure is of high intensity, the dog loses complete consciousness and his head is drawn backward during the fit and legs go almost up in the air. His entire body shakes vigorously and can be often accompanied by urination, defecation, and salivation.  Though this paralysis phase usually ends within a few seconds, however, in case it stays longer than five minutes, the situation calls for an emergency. On the other hand, mild seizures don’t really call for an emergency because the fit subsides automatically. But, they still require attention and must be addressed by the vet.
  3. Post-ictal phase – This phase is marked by disorientation, bewilderment, restlessness and sometimes even visual impairment.

Treatment And Prevention

A seizure must not last for more than five minutes but if it does, you must mandatorily call professional help to prevent brain damage of your dog. Also, if the seizures occur more than twice in 24 hours, it requires an immediate vet visit. 

The foremost thing a vet does if your dog has had a seizure is to conduct a physical examination, some blood tests, CT scan or even MRI to rule out the cause of the problem. Once the cause is figured out, he may prescribe the medicines accordingly. 

Well, dogs that are already epileptic and are prone to getting such seizures are treated with anti-convulsion drugs to control the number of events. On the other hand, if the convulsions are mild and happen just once a month, they usually don’t require any treatments. Such seizures fade off automatically and can be easily controlled by changing the dog’s lifestyle.

If you are a dog owner, you must be prepared to pay lot many vet and lab visits if he is an epilepsy patient or suffers from mild seizures because regular monitoring of such dogs is imperative for successful treatment and control of the condition. Other than that, a dog suffering from seizures most importantly require your vigilance. It is only care and attention that can help him get through his difficult time. So make sure you are always there for him when he is in dire need of your company.

Seizures can threaten your dog’s life by causing complete damage to his brain if not addressed on time. Therefore, be there and take mandatory actions before this fatal ailment thrust mercilessly on your dog.   



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