Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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.
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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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Worried about the cost of Seizures Convulsions treatment?

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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

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Gizmo

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Maltese

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5 Years

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1 found helpful

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1 found helpful

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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1 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

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Maltese

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1 Year

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

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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0 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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Seizures and Convulsions Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$2,500

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