You get home from work expecting to be greeted at the door by your ever-faithful companion. Instead! You notice your furry friend is lying down on its side in a pool of its own urine. Its eyes are closed, its paws are moving as if it were paddling. What’s wrong?
Chances are your dog is experiencing a seizure disorder (or a fit, or convulsion). If your dog has repeated episodes of seizures, it could be suffering from epilepsy.
What is epilepsy in dogs? Epilepsy is an unusual burst of electrical activity in your dog’s brain that can cause it to have seizures. The seizures can last from a few seconds to several minutes.
Signs your dog is having an epileptic seizure – Watching a beloved dog go through a seizure is one of the most frightening things you will ever see. If your dog is having a seizure you will notice its legs and neck stiffen, it will move clumsily, and fall over. Also, your dog will lose control of its bladder. Trembling, shaking violently, chewing uncontrollably are additional actions your dog will demonstrate when having a seizure. After an epileptic episode, your best friend will appear disoriented, weak, or sleepy.
What causes epilepsy in dogs? In some cases epilepsy in dogs is hereditary and breed based. Other causes of seizures in dogs are anemia, brain cancer, electrolyte problems, encephalitis, head injury, kidney disease, low or high blood sugar, liver disease, strokes or eating poison.
Have your dog diagnosed for epilepsy – if your dog has had a seizure, take it to a veterinarian right away. To confirm that your dog does have epilepsy, a veterinarian will conduct an in-depth physical and run one or more of the following: a cerebrospinal fluid (CFS) analysis, computed tomography (CT) scan, or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test.
How is epilepsy in dogs treated? The most common form of treatment for epilepsy in dogs is the administration of an anticonvulsant or anti-seizure medication. Keep in mind that once the treatment begins it will have to continue for the rest of your dog’s life. A dog’s epileptic condition will worsen if the treatment is stopped and re-started. Some of the more common types of anti-seizure medications are K-Bro Vet Potassium Bromide, Gabapentin, Levetiracetam, and Zonisamide. Consult with your veterinarian about which anticonvulsant medication is right for your dog.
Living with a dog that has epilepsy – once your dog is on the proper anticonvulsant medication, it will be able to live a long and happy life. There might be some epileptic seizures along the way, but those should be few. Periodic physicals and adjusting the medication will ensure your dog’s epileptic seizures stay in check.
To sum it up, seizures in dogs can be caused by a number of diseases or it could be based on the dog’s breed. A dog going through a convulsion will display a stiffened neck and legs, appear confused, fall on the ground, urinate on itself, and kick its legs in a paddling manner. A veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose your dog for epilepsy. Administering an anti-seizure medication is the most common way to treat a dog for epilepsy.