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Is Your Pup Experiencing a Seizure?

Updated: Jan 18

sleeping German shorthair pointer on dog bed

Seizures are frequently reported at clinics. This neurological condition refers to an electrical disturbance in the nervous system, which expresses itself as uncontrolled muscular activity. Seizures can also be also called convulsions or a fit, and they are usually regarded as an abnormal functioning of the brain.

swimming dog underwater photography

Your four legged best friend can sometimes become numb and lie down on the floor. He may start a movement like he is treading in water. This action may be scary to you since it's not his normal behavior and you may expect that he is suffering from an abnormality in the brain. The question arises here that what is happening with your furry friend. What can you do to stop it?

This article will educate you on everything you need to know about the canine seizure: its cause, symptom, management and prevention. So, sit back! And start understanding the canine seizure.

What are the types of canine seizures?

If your dog often shows abnormal muscle movement, he may be suffering from a seizure. Another name for seizure is epilepsy. This is when abnormal electrical activity occurs inside your furry friend's brain, which results in different abnormal movements.

The type of movement depends on the part of the brain performing the abnormal activity. Most commonly, seizures look like the twitch or shaky movements of limbs, but there are many other characteristic movements your furry friend can express.

dog with generalized seizure

Generalized seizure

The most common type of seizure is the generalized seizure, in which you see the general body movement and no specific movement by your furry friend. The electrical disturbance occurs throughout the brain, and therefore the whole body goes into the state of convulsion or twitch. A generalized seizure can last from a few seconds to a few minutes.

dog with focal seizure

Focal seizure

Focal seizure is quite the opposite of generalized seizure. This time, the electrical disturbance occurs only in the focal or specific part of the brain. Consequently, abnormal muscle movement or convulsions occur in a particular part of the body. In the beginning, dogs are mostly affected with focal seizures and with time, it changes into a generalized seizure.

dog biting tail because of neurological conditions

Psychomotor seizure

A psychomotor seizure is characterized by a strange activity of a dog that may last for a few seconds. In this type of seizure, your dog may suddenly start chasing an object or grab it. He can also begin to attack his tail. These types of activities are considered abnormal most of the time unless your dog starts repeating them frequently.

German Shepard dog may be prone to seizures

Idiopathic seizures

These are the seizures having unknown causes. Dogs are prone to idiopathic seizures between the age of six months to six years. However, they are more common in certain types of dog breeds. Idiopathic seizures affect Australian shepherds, Labrador retrievers, German shepherds and some others more frequently.

Cluster seizures

These are the seizures that happen multiple times within a 24 hour period.

What are the causes of canine seizures?

First of all, you should understand that a seizure is not a disease; instead, it is a symptom. There can be many causes for canine seizures. Most of the time, epilepsy is the cause of canine seizures in your dog. When the cause of the canine seizure is unknown, it may be referred to as idiopathic seizures. When your veterinarian is not able to diagnose any apparent cause of the seizure, there may be a genetic abnormality with your dog.

The veterinary community is not quite sure about the cause of the canine seizure. Since it is a neurologic disease, there are speculations about its relation to a genetic abnormality.

confused dog could experience neurological issues

However, the recent rise in the number of dogs affected with canine seizures poses serious attention to scientists.

It is also believed that some possible triggers, including genetic abnormality, like toxins (fertilizers, plastic, sprays, etc.), cancer or tumors, brain damage, certain medicines, and hormonal imbalance, may increase the risk of canine seizure.

There can also be some other causes of canine seizures. Other causes include electrolyte imbalance, abnormality in blood composition like low blood sugar level, anaemia or other metabolic diseases. In most cases, veterinarians focus on the treatment rather than the cause.

How can I identify a seizure? What are the symptoms of a canine seizure?

Abnormal electrical activity occurs inside the brain, which leads to strange chemical alterations in the muscles. Muscles express irregular contractions and relaxations, which express themselves in different forms. Most of the time, the symptoms of canine seizure include collapsing, muscle twitching, tongue chewing, or stiffness of different muscles like the jaw and abdomen. In addition, your dog may express the loss of conscience, drooling and foaming in the mouth.

The major symptom of canine seizure that you can understand is when your dog loses the conscience of the surrounding. He seems confused, dazed, numb or staring at somewhere for no reason. The brain and its normal reflexes don't work correctly in accordance. Sometimes a dog suffering from a seizure may uncontrollably urinate or defecate.

After the seizure, your dog takes some time to recover from the phase. He may walk blindly into circles or may strike with something. Some dogs often get scared and try to hide somewhere safe. Excessive drooling may continue even after the occurrence of a seizure.

dog laying down after seizure

Is seizure painful or harmful for my dog?

You should know the fact that seizures are rarely painful for your dog. This is because your dog no longer remains conscious, and therefore, nothing hurts him. However, there are chances that your dog may hurt himself.

A single seizure does not impose serious implications, but multiple seizures can be a real threat. The only thing you need to take care of is to prevent your dog from hurting himself. There is an old myth that dogs swallow their tongue while suffering from a seizure. There is nothing like that in reality. If you put your finger or something inside the mouth to hold it, you may end hurting yourself or your beloved dog.

However, if the seizure lasts for a few minutes, hyperthermia starts. If seizure persists, hyperthermia may impose serious complications.

How can I manage if my dog has a seizure?

Whenever your dog suffers from a seizure, you need to calm your dog. You should not panic and do anything rash. If you are not used to such circumstances, you need to follow these instructions.

First, if you see your dog suffering from a seizure, you need to clear the area surrounding your dog. There may be anything that can damage your dog because your dog is not in his senses. He may hit something while he convulses and something sharp can harm him.

Secondly, you need to stay away from the mouth or head of the dog. In most cases, dogs try to bite anything they find during the wave of seizures. Your dog can harm you or bite you in this case. Therefore you need to be vigilant.

Third, if your dog remains in the seizure state, his body temperature starts to increase. After a few minutes, the body temperature may rise to harmful levels. You need to put some water on the limbs or paw pads to cool down your dog.

You can pat or hold your dog from the abdomen to calm your dog. But you need to be vigilant to protect yourself from biting. You can talk to your dog to let him feel secure. Call your veterinarian after the seizure ends.

dog with a vet getting check up

What can you expect from the vet?

You should immediately see your veterinarian after the seizure attack. Your vet may perform a physical examination and run a few tests to check for any abnormality in the brain; the MRI results will show any lesion or damage inside the brain. If the problem seems severe, he may prescribe some medicines to keep your dog calm. Medications will control the seizure; therefore, you should not let your dog miss any dose.

Acupressure and Seizures

happy pomeranian getting an acupressure session

Acupressure is one of the holistic therapies that prevails in China. Chinese have been practicing this therapy to treat several diseases and conditions. Many people believe and have seen this therapy work wonders.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) concepts and theories explain that seizure occurs due to the wind inside the body. This may seem like a strange concept, but I can make it easy for you to understand. You should imagine a wind blowing through the trees and grass swiftly. It will produce chaos in the leaves, grass and trees. Now think of the same wind blowing inside the body, passing from a joint to another joint, a muscle to another muscle. It will produce the same chaos in the body as it produced in the trees. Chinese think that some abnormality in the liver decreases the body energy or "chi" or life energy.

Acupressure retains and balances the chi in the body. It also helps to restore the damaged chi. When your dog's liver is compromised in any way by toxins or chemicals, it allows the air/wind to come in and produce chaos. Acupressure increases the ability of the body to heal and generates the chi, which in turn can prevent canine seizures.

canine acupressure practitioner with dog

Acupressure sessions are an amazing option to provide to your pets for preventative care. When routinely having acupressure sessions, you can build and strengthen their natural ability to resist wind and other pathogens. Sessions are also great to support the body if they already experience seizures. It is also complementary to any veterinary recommendations or holistic suggestions.

Final thoughts

Canine seizures are increasing day by day, and more and more dogs are affected by this condition. If you find your dog suffering from a canine seizure, you should protect him from damaging himself and take him to the veterinarian when the seizure ends. Be proactive to prevent conditions like this by setting up acupressure sessions and providing your pup the best care.

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