Dog seizures are terrifying. The fact that there’s a myriad of causes behind it makes it scarier for you as the owner. This unsettling event on your dog’s health can’t always be prevented. But as much as there are serious conditions that can cause lifetime seizure affliction, there are also some causes that are manageable or even treatable. Knowing how to stop a dog from having a seizure starts by asking your pet’s veterinarian.
Just like humans, our dogs can have seizures. One of my previous pets had epileptic seizures while others can experience seizures due to genetic conditions and external factors.
If your happy doggo suddenly flopped to the ground and started treading an unseen matter, you have to know what to do.
What causes dog seizures?
Like human seizures, there are many possible causes of seizures in dogs. Some are preventable while others require lifetime care. Usually, dog seizures are caused by the following factors:
Conditions like kidney diseases, liver disease, brain cancer, anemia, encephalitis, and more can trigger seizures. A sudden increase or drop of blood pressure can also lead to seizures too. If your dog has an electrolyte problem, it can also be the culprit. Dog seizures while sleeping may also happen. The good thing is that some of these causes can be treated or prevented.
Seizures can be your dog’s reaction to poisonous substances. As you know, dogs love mouthing things and exploring the neighborhood. If they ingested something poisonous or got stung by venomous animals, seizures may also ensue.
Take note that head trauma is also a typical cause of seizures. Any damage or blunt force exerted to the brain and the nervous system is the leading cause of this daunting reaction.
Studies found that male dogs are more prone to seizures than females. Still, gender isn’t a sole determiner of the problem. It’s best to let a veterinarian check on your pet.
When it comes to genetics, some breeds have a higher risk of developing an epileptic condition that can trigger seizures. Also, poor breeding processes and problematic lineage can cause a slew of health problems among puppies that will manifest as seizures as they grow older.
If your dog has genetic epilepsy, seizures will usually take place between 10 months or three years of age. In worst cases, some puppies as young as five months can also experience seizures.
Here’s Dr. Alex as he discusses the common reasons for dog seizures:
Health conditions associated with seizures
Just about any health problem can lead to seizures if your dog is left untreated. Knowing how to stop a dog from having a seizure is only possible with the help of a vet. To be specific, I’ve listed here some of the main reasons for seizures that vets usually have to deal with:
Brain tumors. Senior dogs are more likely to have brain tumors that will cause their seizures. If your seemingly healthy doggo ages and starts to have seizures, you should have him checked for tumors.
Head trauma. Getting hit by a car, falling from an elevated surface, blunt force, and so on can cause brain damage and swelling. This is will surely cause seizures and other life-threatening problems.
Cervical subluxations. Dogs with chiropractic issues, especially in the neck area, are likely to have seizures.
Infections. Fungal, bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections will directly trigger seizures if not treated.
Congenital malformation. Birth defects in the spinal cord and other parts of the nervous system will cause seizures among dogs. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed is known to have this kind of malformation upon birth.
Low and high blood sugar. These fluctuations on your dog’s blood sugar levels can induce seizures and other complications
Heat stroke. This is one of the common causes of seizures among dogs, especially during the summer season.
Whatever the cause is, it’s important that you tap the help of veterinarians to rule out the conditions. The same goes for dog seizures while sleeping.
Symptoms of dog seizures
Like most seizure attacks, dogs will suddenly stiffen, collapse, and jerk. It can also be accompanied by excessive twitching, drooling, loss of consciousness, chewing or even foaming in the mouth. Some dogs paddle as if they are swimming in an imaginary pool.
Aside from this, some canines may also eliminate during a seizure attack. After the seizure, your dog will be disoriented, confused, and unstable. Usually, the dog will walk wobbly or become temporarily blind. Your dog may also try to hide but it’s important that you take necessary action to ease their suffering.
Dog seizure types
Dog seizures come in different types as much as it’s induced by a variety of factors. It can either be a generalized seizure, focal seizure, psychomotor seizure, and idiopathic epilepsy.
Generalized seizures usually last from seconds to minutes where the abnormal electrical activity affects the entire brain. On the other hand, focal seizure happens in only one portion of the brain. With this, such seizure may induce unusual twitching on one side of the body only. Focal seizures may become generalized if not treated.
Moreover, a psychomotor seizure is a bit tricky. Instead of collapsing and twitching, your dog may suddenly attack an object or chase its tail aggressively. Some dog owners usually dismiss it as negative behavior without proper diagnosis. It’s important to know how to stop a dog from having a seizure by consulting a veterinarian.
Lastly, the idiopathic epilepsy is the seizure type with unknown causes. This health problem will start to surface on dogs between six months and six years of age. Some dog breeds prone to epileptic seizures are Beagles, Border Collies, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Belgian Tervurens.
Some causes of idiopathic epilepsy are inborn which will require life-long care.
How to help your dog get through a seizure
When you observe that your doggo is starting to have a seizure, don’t panic and keep in mind some things you need to do. First, keep the pooch away from things that might hurt him during the attack. Slide him slowly to a safer place and try to avoid lifting him while the seizure is happening.
While you’re securing your pooch, keep your hands and face off his mouth. Remember, your canine is experiencing an abnormal electrical activity in its brain. There’s a probability that he will bite or paw you.
Also, there’s no need to put anything on your doggo’s mouth. At all cost, don’t put a finger or anything on your dog’s mouth because you stand the chance of getting bitten.
Remember, dogs can’t choke on their tongues. All you have to do is to time the seizure and take note of all the bodily movements that may happen.
Don’t touch your doggo while it’s experiencing a seizure. Also, don’t pet him once the twitching subsides. The pooch may bite you in the stir of confusion. It’s best to talk to your pet slowly to reassure him. Do the same even during dog seizures while sleeping.
If the seizure lasts for more than a few minutes, place a bowl of cold water in front of a fan to cool your dog down. At this point, your pooch may succumb to overheating if you don’t ventilate him.
In case your dog is experiencing multiple seizures in a row, take him to the vet right away. When seizures last in multiple events, it increases the chance of overheating.
Once again, here’s Dr. Alex to guide you:
3 rules when it comes to dog seizures
If you’re a new pet owner faced with the dilemma of a dog with seizures, you have to know the three rules of dog seizures. This will ensure that you and your dog are safe in case a seizure ensues. To keep it simple, here are three steps you should follow should your pooch experience this health issue:
Rule 1: Safety first
Like what I said earlier, prioritize your dog’s safety first. You can’t stop a seizure and it certainly can happen anywhere. Your dog might collapse in the middle of a walk in the park or in your kitchen. Always push him gently to a safer zone while he’s on a seizure.
Stir clear of injury hazards like falling objects should your dog trample on it. If you can’t move the dog, secure him by placing cp cushion on his sides like pillows or duvets.
Never lift or carry your dog. Just do so if they are near a fire hazard or the risk of falling from the stairs, loft, or any elevated area. Knowing how to stop a dog from having a seizure doesn’t apply when your dog is currently having an attack.
Rule 2: Don’t panic
If it’s your first time to see your dog have a seizure, fight the urge to panic. There’s nothing you can do but to let the seizure subside without touching your dog. Remember that intense sounds, touch, and smell can prolong a seizure. These stimuli can affect the electrical activities in your dog’s brain.
When your dog suddenly collapsed and started to have a seizure, turn of the TV, dim the lights, close the curtains or doors, and ask the kids to leave the room. Don’t stroke or pet your dog as it might bite you back.
Keep things low key until your dog gets past through the seizure. After that, put him on a crate and send him to the vet.
Rule 3: Monitor your pet
It’s crucial that you time your dog’s seizure as this is the first thing that the vet will ask you about. The longer the seizure is the more harmful it is for your pooch. Also, take note of the behavior of your pooch. Does he seem aggressive, drooling, or just quietly twitching?
If you can, it will help if you take a video of the seizure so your vet can refer to it. Since you can’t do anything during the seizure, it’s best that you exhaust all means to document the incident for easier diagnosis and treatment.
How to reduce dog seizures
If there’s one thing that will help reduce your dog’s seizures, it would be regular visits to the vet. Keeping up with your dog’s health is imperative, especially for conditions that require lifetime care. Still, here are some of the things you can do to limit seizure attacks:
Keep an eye on your pooch’s blood sugar
As you know, sudden drop or increase in your dog’s blood sugar can lead to seizures. If you notice that your pooch has an unusually high blood sugar level, bringing him to the vet can prevent the onset of a seizure.
Adequate nutrition is necessary to prevent any complications that may trigger seizures on your dog. If your dog requires a special diet, always ask the help of a veterinarian.
Get your dog tested
Even if your dog seems healthy, it will be a life-saver if you have him checked for potential seizure-related conditions. Lab tests will also help in the treatment of the condition and the possibility of blocking the seizure from happening again.
Get the right treatment
As much as you can’t sustain veterinary care, nothing beats professional medical help if your dog has seizures. If you don’t let a vet diagnose the cause of seizures properly, you will be in the dark about your pet’s health.
Treatments for dog seizures
Only vets should prescribe seizure treatments on your dog. Usually, the treatment will include a serious of tests and steps like the following:
Clearing the liver of problems
Strengthening the brain
Administering proper medication to suppress abnormal electrical brain activity
Surgical operations for tumors
Removing and avoiding toxins
Alternative therapies approved by a veterinarian
Depending on the cause of seizures, various medications can be given to your pooch. You’ll also be tasked to give it to them when your doggo is sent home. Always follow the dosage the vet prescribes and don’t think twice about phoning the dog doctor if you have concerns.
Seizures can be caused by a myriad of health issues. Unless you have a vet check your pet, you’re only guessing about what to do.
Remember, knowing how to stop a dog from having a seizure includes a lot of TLC. This starts with proper diagnosis, medication, and long-term care. As the dog owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that your doggo will be okay.