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What are Seizures and Convulsions?

It's important to note that seizures are the common, if not one of the most common, neurological (brain) conditions to affect canines. The episodes can be broken down into three segments. The pre-ictal phase is characterized by an obvious change in your dog’s behavior (it may seem that the canine understands something is about to occur). The period during which the seizure occurs is the ictal phase, which usually lasts between a few seconds and five minutes. The post-ictal phase may find your dog in a confused state as the seizure ends. Having convulsions can be frightening for your pet because he loses control of his body.

The scientific term for seizure is “ictus” and the convulsion is caused by a temporary, involuntary disturbance of brain activity. While seeing your dog experience a seizure can be disturbing, the best course of action is to remain calm. Because there can be several reasons for a seizure, contacting the veterinarian is important in order to diagnose the underlying cause.

Seizures and Convulsions Average Cost

From 32 quotes ranging from $600 - $8,500

Average Cost

$2,500

Symptoms of Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

Seizures and convulsions may appear startling and even violent. They do not cause your dog pain, but they can be confusing and can be a source of panic for your pet. You may see your dog go through the following changes as he experiences a seizure:

  • Your dog may seek you out or may hide, but either way will look frightened
  • Your dog may whine or shake as the seizure begins
  • Dogs in an episode of convulsions will typically fall on their side, and their legs will jerk slightly or with a fair amount of force
  • Salivation or excessive drooling will take place
  • Your pet may urinate or defecate
  • Your dog’s eyes may stare straight ahead
  • A severe episode may see a dog lose consciousness
  • As the seizure is ending your dog may appear dazed and disoriented
  • Your pet may be uncoordinated
  • Temporary blindness may be experienced
  • Some dogs are restless, while others are fatigued
  • There may be increased thirst
Types

Seizures occur because of uncontrolled, abnormal activity in the brain. Muscle and brain function are impaired, often occurring when the dog is excited. The episodes can also happen when the dog is waking or falling asleep. Dogs who have seizures may appear normal otherwise. Repeated instances of seizures and convulsions are called epilepsy.

  • Idiopathic epilepsy

    - This epilepsy has no visible cause. Lesions of the brain, or other nervous system causes are not present.

  • Symptomatic epilepsy

    - Brain lesions can be identified as the cause.

  • Status epilepticus

    - Seizures that occur with no break, or a very brief break in between. This can indicate a life-threatening medical emergency.

  • Structural epilepsy

    - This occurs when a tumor, infection or stroke affect the brain.

  • Reactive seizures

    - Liver or kidney disease, low blood sugar, environmental toxins, or direct trauma are instances of reactive seizures.

  • Cluster seizures

    - More than one seizure occurs in 24 hours.

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Causes of Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

It has been recorded that certain breeds are more susceptible to seizures. The breeds are Retrievers, Collies, Australian and German Shepherds, and French Bulldogs. Any type of canine can have seizures, though and the causes are listed below:

  • Extracranial cause
    • Inflammatory infectious disease (such as distemper)
    • Trauma
    • Blood clot
    • Degeneration of the brain
    • Congenital malformation
    • Metabolic disease
    • Cancer
    • Diseases characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Intracranial cause
    • Inflammatory infectious disease (such as distemper)
    • Trauma
    • Blood clot
    • Degeneration of the brain
    • Congenital malformation
    • Metabolic disease
    • Cancer
    • Diseases characterized by inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
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Diagnosis of Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

If your dog has had a seizure or is having recurring episodes of convulsions, be sure to note the frequency, date, length, and time of the events. If a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes, an immediate visit to the veterinarian is necessary.

In order to investigate the seizures, the veterinarian will ask for a thorough history of recent events. The risk of exposure to hallucinogens or toxins, and the possibility of head trauma will be verified. An electrocardiogram, urine test and blood chemistry may be performed to rule out disorders of the kidneys, liver and heart, and to check the general state of your dog’s health. A simple heartworm test can be used as a symptomatic tool in order to measure convulsions. Depending on the severity and frequency of the seizures that inflict upon your dog, the veterinarian may order additional tests such as an MRI or CT scan.

It is important to give the veterinarian as much information as you can, because the diagnosis will be determined based on how often the convulsions occur and how much they are affecting your dog.

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Treatment of Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

Once you have discussed the seizure episodes and the treatment options with the veterinarian technician or doctor, the decision as to how to proceed will be the next step. Treatment is usually only advised if your pet is having more than one seizure per month or clusters of seizures (one after the other). Seizures on a grand mal scale (very severe or prolonged) require immediate emergency treatment. It is important to note that the longer a seizure goes on, the more risk of a very elevated temperature, which can cause injury to your dog’s brain. A dog who enters the emergency room after a grand mal seizure will need to have his body temperature slowly reduced.

If your dog appears otherwise healthy and is having occasional seizures, monitoring will be done on an outpatient basis. No medication will be given at this point unless the seizures begin to occur more often. However, if tests that were given during the diagnosis period reveal a mass or tumor, surgery (craniotomy) will be done to remove the mass in order to stop the seizures.

If your dog is experiencing seizures due to an underlying illness, such as an upset in blood sugar levels, or a liver abnormality, the cause will be addressed as part of the seizure treatment.

If your canine has a history of convulsions, especially associated with any type of epileptic nature, the goal will be to reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures, bringing them to a level that allows your pet a good quality of life. Medications prescribed will depend upon the cause and frequency of seizures. The prescription may be for anticonvulsant drugs such as diazepam, steroids, potassium bromide, or long term medications such as phenobarbital or zonisamide.

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Recovery of Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

A very significant point that must be made when discussing seizure drugs is that once a dog is started on medications, they must remain on the medication for life. Reducing or removing the drug has been proven to increase the severity of the seizure episodes to be worse than they were before the medication was started. Never skip doses, and if there are circumstances that trigger seizures, try to avoid or reduce them.

Though there may be side effects to medications, the benefit often highly outweighs the risk. Your pet can continue to lead a healthy life with continued follow-up by your veterinarian. Keep a seizure diary, and bring your pet to the veterinary clinic regularly in order to evaluate side effects and the efficacy of the medication.

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Seizures and Convulsions Average Cost

From 32 quotes ranging from $600 - $8,500

Average Cost

$2,500

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Seizures and Convulsions Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Gizmo

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

5 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Our five year old Maltese is having seizures, his legs go stiff, he can’t walk and appears as though pinned to the ground. He is then sick repeatedly and takes about ten minutes to recover to normal. He had these seizures about once/ twice a year but has just started having them more often, once every few days. We’ve noticed he’s having them directly after food. We feed him good quality dried food once a day on the evening. He isn’t over weight and is in health shape other than this. It’s quite distressing for him and us.

March 27, 2018

Gizmo's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Typically, when dogs have seizures, we do some blood tests to evaluate systemic function, and try to rule out other causes. Gizmo may need medication for this. it would be best to schedule an appointment with a veteirnarian, as they can help you evaluate him, determine what might be causing this, and help decide if medication would help.

March 28, 2018

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Gringo

dog-breed-icon

Maltese

dog-age-icon

1 Year

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Unconsciousness
Unconsciousness , Saliva,Shaking,

Hi. My maltese dog (2kg) is having a strong seizure (shaking on his side on the floor, foamy viscous saliva, then looses conscience afterwards) of approximately 1min every 2 weeks for around 3 consecutive times, ONLY while eating. After having the seizure, he continues eating normally, as if nothing happened and stay playful all day long. Note that he's been on carbomazepine (Tegretol 2%) for five months until now, two times per day, and the highest dose mentioned by the Vet which is of 0.6mg, is already attained two months ago. I am really confused now, since it sounds that a sad end is gonna happen. I would really appreciate your advice. Thanks!

March 22, 2018

Gringo's Owner


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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

A seizure every two weeks is not frequent, but it is regular and distressing; you should speak with your Veterinarian about current treatment and option for medications to be given during a seizure. I cannot recommend any specific medication or product as I haven’t examined Gringo but keep in contact with your Veterinarian and record the episodes to determine whether they are becoming more frequent or are stable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 23, 2018

I had seizure disorder that started when I was 17, I’m now 32. I took medicines for over more that 9 years but all efforts to cure it failed. I was so very lucky that my mother found a spiritual Priest from Shango Temple. He did some spiritual cleansing and prayers for me in his temple. As i speak to you righ now i'm healed, its been 5 years ago since i last seen the attack. The doctors have carried out several test and they confirmed that there is no trace of epilepsy or grand mal seizures. I will like you to meet this Powerful healer: shangosolutiontemple @ yahoo . com

March 24, 2018

Marisa D.

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Dobby

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Rat Terrier & Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Rigid Legs

About every other month or so, my dog has a seizure(what I believe to be one). He promptly falls off of my bed or the couch, (if he was on it previously) and loses control of his legs. His legs become rigid, he drools, and he urinates & defecates promptly all over the floor, and does not regain control of his body for a minimum of two minutes. I thought it was due to processed dog treats (I noticed more seizures when he ate rawhides, like the day after), but still these seizures have continued. Do you know what the cause would be and possible treatment? If it is helpful, he has severe separation anxiety and thunderstorm anxiety.

Jan. 4, 2018

Dobby's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are various causes of seizures in dogs, especially in smaller breeds which may be attributable to developmental disorders, poisoning, liver disease, head trauma, neurological conditions among other causes; if Dobby is having these episodes, there are options for medications to give when they occur as day to day management isn’t appropriate with the frequency, also you need to think about triggers such as noise or behaviour. Your Veterinarian should check him over to rule out other causes to try and narrow in on a specific underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Jan. 4, 2018

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Brendel

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Lab Pei

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

My 7 year old dog has epilepsy, has had since she was 5. She is on phenobarbitol 1.5 pills twice/day and kbrovet once/day (the kbrovet is a new addition about 30 days ago, been on pheno since the start). She normally has a seizure, grand mal, that last about 2 minutes, once about every 3-4 weeks. At this point she just had her 4th seizure in the last 18 hours, one every 6 hours. We gave her diazepam before this last one to try to break the cycle, it did not work. Also there is blood coming from her left tear duct right after seizure, this has never happened before. Any advice would be good, the vet wont be open until Monday and she could have another 6 seizure by then. We think her pheno levels may be low now should we give her another half a pill?

Nov. 12, 2017

Brendel's Owner


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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

If Brendel is having regular seizures you should visit an Emergency Veterinarian for stabilisation, I cannot recommend changing doses of phenobarbital without examining her first; the Emergency Veterinarian will treat symptomatically to stop the seizures. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 12, 2017

I had seizure disorder that started when I was 17, I’m now 32. I took medicines for over more that 9 years but all efforts to cure it failed. I was so very lucky that my mother found a spiritual Priest from Shango Temple. He did some spiritual cleansing and prayers for me in his temple. As i speak to you righ now i'm healed, its been 5 years ago since i last seen the attack. The doctors have carried out several test and they confirmed that there is no trace of epilepsy or grand mal seizures. I will like you to meet this Powerful healer: shangosolutiontemple @ yahoo . com

March 24, 2018

Marisa D.


My dog had his 1st seizure 12 days ago he had convulsions. The convulsions went on for less than 2 minutes. I don’t know what triggers them, He gets fidgety prior to having a seizure and paces quite a bit, Winter is always the roughest time for him as he can have up to 1 seizure per week (not much when compared with what some other poor dogs). He was in worse shape on the meds than he was with the seizures, so we elected to not medicate him. i read hundreds of blogs and websites It was during a casual conversation with a friend that I learned about doctor Benson Wooley, she gave me his contact. I contacted he i explain everything to him and make purchase of the herbal product. we had full expectation that my dog will find total rest from seizures, 2 months using herbal treatment, his seizures totally reduced. After finishing his treatment, more than 1 years now, he has been totally seizure free. he have not experienced a single seizures after using Herbal treatment. his medicine does not have any side effect. If you want to contact him at mail: doctor_benson_wooley@outlook.com or call +1 (904) 601-2741

Dec. 4, 2017

Tania A.


Breed is Lab Shepard mix it auto changed it

Nov. 12, 2017

Brendel's Owner


Take your pup to a holistic vet or contact a cannabis shop. Lots of info about PTSD and seizures in humans. It cannabis is good for humans, it will certainly be good for seizures in dogs! Vets just like to give prescriptions: big money. On the 4th of July we give our Heeler a few cannabis doggie bisquits and she is really mellow! Hang in there!

Nov. 12, 2017

Elvira L.

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Cosmo

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Pomeranian

dog-age-icon

11 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Tired

My 11 month old purebred male Pomeranian is a very hyper dog, he could go days without sleeping and he’d probably still be very hyper, if he’s lying down and I get up, he immediately jumps up and follows. One day I was up in the bathroom getting ready and he stayed lying on his side on the stairs, which is really weird because he follows me wherever I go (he even use to get in the shower with me & sit at the end of the bathtub) about 10 minutes later he was still in the same spot, I noticed earlier he wasn’t himself (not happy and excited, very tired) and someone even pointed it out to me that he was acting strange. I sat beside him on the step and started petting him and squeaking toys & tried everything that usually makes him go crazy, he didn’t even move or get excited, I picked him up and he could barely open his eyes & he would not move a muscle and he couldn’t walk. He kept losing consciousness so I immediately started driving to the vet which is an hour away, on the ride there he still wasn’t opening his eyes , he did once or twice but barely, & he threw up bright yellow stuff. When we got to the vet he was still very quiet and wouldn’t move, the vet took him from my arms and he didn’t even try to escape (usually he freaks out if anyone else besides me holds him) they did bloodwork & they said his glucose levels were down and they gave him some corn syrup, they said they can’t find seizures unless they do other tests, so if it happens come back again. After that he started walking again and was back to the normal crazy pup he is. The vet said it sounded like a seizure but they wouldn’t know until further tests. Does this sound like a seizure?

Nov. 4, 2017

Cosmo's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It certainly sounds like hypoglycemia (and the blood test confirms it) but whether or not there was a seizure is difficult to know; seizures are a symptom of hypoglycemia and can be an indication that something is wrong. There are a few causes of hypoglycemia in dogs which may include pancreatic disorders, liver disease, poisoning (xylitol for example), inadequate food take along with hyperactivity among other causes. I would keep an eye on Cosmo and ensure that he is getting an adequate amount of food and look out for any other strange behaviour. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM https://purinaproclub.com/resource-library/pro-club-updates/hypoglycemia-requires-quick-intervention-in-toy-breeds/

Nov. 5, 2017

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Buddy

dog-breed-icon

Boxer Mix

dog-age-icon

9 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures
Loss Of Weight
Convulsions
Increased Appeti

My 9 year old boxer mix began having seizures about once a month for the past 4 months. Recently it’s becoming every 2 or 3 weeks. He begins what looks like choking before falling on the floor and beginning to shake, foam, and urinate on himself.

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Bowser

dog-breed-icon

American Cocker Spaniel

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Seizure

My poor pup tore his ACL last March and had to have surgery to repair it. He had a decent recovery and all of his follow ups were good. Once he got his mobility back after several months of recovery, I was finally able to let him outside for some exercise. Poor kid went right through the electric fence and got stuck. He must have gotten zapped for a good 8 minutes before I could get his collar off. Turns out a deer had set up shop right on our property line and that’s what Bowser was going for. Needless to say, he tried to get through on at least two other occasion. Later that week, he had some crazy episode in the evening that I can only imagine was a seizure. He lost control of his legs and though he was trying to hold himself up, he was shaking like crazy and his body was rigid. It was like he was stuck in the electric fence again. The episode passed in under 5 minutes and he was fine, but I’ve kept an extremely close eye on him since. It’s been about 6 or 7 months now and it happened again tonight. No warning signs, but all of the sudden he couldn’t move his legs and he started shaking uncontrollably and his body was rigid. No drooling either time or loss of bladder control. Could he have never damage from surgery or is it neurological damage from the electric fence???

dog-name-icon

Winston

dog-breed-icon

Mastiff

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea Vomiting Coughing Seizures

My 3 year old mastiff had a seizure last June/July. It is now December and he had a second one. He threw up then seized. As he was seizing he was severely shaking and peed all over himself. We had him neutered end of October. Since then he has gained weight, had extreme thirst and diarrhea. He has also been “coughing” and some episodes of vomiting. All of that may not be related but it is concerning.

dog-name-icon

Ally

dog-breed-icon

Shitzu and Maltese.

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Foaming At The Mouth, Urinating On Herself Pooping

Today out of the blue my dog started running around acting like she was scared of something like something was gonna happen and then she started like chomping down with her mouth and was shaking and foaming at the mouth and peeing and pooping on herself and then she had a really bad seizure and her mouth was bloody and then she had another one and so we went in the car to take her to the vet and she probably had 15 of them back to back over and over and over again within a 10 minute period when we got to the vet they said over organs were shutting down and that we should just put her to sleep so we had to put her to sleep it was horrible I feel so bad you don't have the money to find out what was wrong with her, why this happened, or if we could have saved her, her temperature went up to 110

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Maddie

dog-breed-icon

English Springer Spaniel

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Aggression
Panting
Urinating
Loss Of Breath
Pooing
Loss Of Sight
Loss Of Balance
Poor Appetite
Loss Of Consciousness
Foaming At The Mouth

Maddie 6years old Springer spaniel only as seizures when taken in the car to stay with my parents while we go on holiday only away one week .she goes into the fit as soon as she gets out of the car never as any more while she is there and really enjoys her stay and settles down straight away what are we doing wrong

Seizures and Convulsions Average Cost

From 32 quotes ranging from $600 - $8,500

Average Cost

$2,500

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