How to recognize and treat dog epilepsy.
Dogs suffer from a number of forms of epilepsy and seizures. These range from light twitching, to full-blown Ictus, where the dog falls to the ground with the whole body shaking, whining, barking and even urinating or defecating.
These seizures often happen without warning and can last for as long as a few minutes. The actual cause is still unknown, and there is no known link between seizures and particular breeds of dogs.
Dog Epilepsy Symptoms
A seizure usually occurs in 3 specific stages:
• Aura Stage– This may begin hours before the seizure occurs. The dog may whine, shake, hide away or grow generally anxious.
• Ictus Stage – This is the actual seizure. Generally, the dog will lose control of his body during this time. His body will become rigid and he’ll shudder rapidly. The eyes may become wide and there may be rapid eye movement. This may last for anything up to a few minutes.
• Postictial Stage – After a seizure, the dog will appear disoriented. He may wander around aimlessly, and seem unsure of his surroundings. In some cases this may last for hours, or even days.
Don’t feel you should be able to recognize the symptoms of an impending seizure. In many cases the signs are subtle, and in some dogs it’s impossible to know when it’s about to happen.
Dog Epilepsy: Handling a Seizure
Seeing you dog have a seizure, especially for the first time, is a frightening experience. However, it is important not to panic because it will pass. And you can rest assured that your dog is not suffering.
The first thing you should do is move any objects, that can hurt the dog, out of the way. Also try to time the duration of the seizure, so that you can share this info with your vet.
Don’t worry that your dog may swallow his tongue. Dogs don’t do this, and if you try to force his mouth open you may get bitten.
If the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, call an emergency vet immediately.
Dog Epilepsy Treatment
There are drug treatments for epilepsy, including phenobarbital, diazepam, and bromide – depending on the level of severity. Your vet may also give you specific diet and exercise guidelines.
When a seizure occurs, record as much detail as you can, including duration, and how your dog reacts. Be sure you share this info with your vet whenever a seizure occurs.
If your dog does not recover within half hour of a dog epilepsy seizure, contact your vet immediately.