Are you trying to understand canine epilepsy? Learn how to help your dog now...

This article (Part I of II) is about canine epilepsy, including how to handle epileptic seizures, preparing for the vet, and the causes of seizures.

LIttle, cute pooch with canine epilepsy

Epilepsy in Dogs is Complex

Canine epilepsy can strike any breed of dog, at any age, at any time. An epileptic seizure may occur only once in a dog’s life or it may occur many times. Some dogs may experience very mild seizures while others may suffer from severe seizures that become life threatening if not addressed immediately.

The truth is canine epilepsy simply does not fit into a nice neat box. It is hit or miss and it can be difficult to understand. Furthermore, many factors may contribute to epileptic seizures ranging from genetics to common houseplants.

Quick Tips on Handling the Situation

It is important for you to remain calm during a suspected seizure. Keep the area free from any loud or sudden noises. Move objects away from your dog and keep the area clear. Provide comfort to your pet by speaking in a calm and soothing voice. Again, if your dog is having a seizure, keep cool and let it pass.

Once the seizure has passed, allow your dog to drink water if he is thirsty or let him walk about if he desires. It is important to continue to keep an eye on your dog at this time, as he will probably be disorientated or wobbly. Simply put, you do not want your dog to hurt himself by bumping into furniture or walls.

Be Ready to Help the Veterinarian

After you have tended to the needs of your dog, it is important to record the date, time and duration of the seizure. Log the type of behavior exhibited during the seizure (i.e. loss of consciousness, thrashing of head or legs, twitching, etc) and behavior immediately after the seizure. Call your vet and let her know what happened.

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Your veterinarian will most likely ask that you keep a log of the seizures before making a formal diagnosis or prescribing any medication. So, these recordkeeping steps are important.

With the information compiled from the log, your veterinarian can then make a more accurate diagnosis.

In summary, record everything. Call your vet and get her advice for the short term actions to take. Also, plan to record the details of the seizures in a log. You’ll want good historical information.

What is Canine Epilepsy? What is the Cause?

Unfortunately, epilepsy is often idiopathic in nature, meaning there is no specific cause for the seizures to occur. Idiopathic epilepsy may be an inherited trait.

Dogs may also be diagnosed with what is called secondary epilepsy, meaning there is a physiological factor or environmental toxin that is causing the seizures to occur. Some possible sources of secondary epilepsy include:

  • lead poisoning from chewing on a painted surface
  • chemicals in common household cleaners
  • houseplants
  • head trauma
  • parasitic infestation
  • distemper
  • encephalitis
  • low blood sugar

Obviously, this is not a complete list. You and your veterinarian must use the process of elimination in order to rule out any specific causes of epileptic seizures.

Part II of Understanding Dog Epilepsy

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