Can Dogs Live with Seizures?

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Introduction

Studies have shown that about three percent of the doggy population have seizures. This is usually a result of the canine version of epilepsy. Humans have been studying seizures for years now and we are still trying to figure out certain aspects of them. 

When it comes to our furry friends, it is hard to figure out what exactly happens to trigger these seizures, but it is also curious to wonder if it affects their quality of living and if it causes any damage to the length of their life. Seizures are very serious and can sometimes be life-threatening, so we have to wonder if dogs can handle them and survive.

Signs Your Dog May be Seizing

Seizures are extremely scary. There is no way around that fact. When a person has a seizure, they lose complete control of their body and cannot function. Seizures can sometimes last just seconds or they can last up to ten minutes or more. Dogs are the same as humans in many ways when it comes to their seizures, especially with how they react to having one. If you think your pup may be susceptible to having seizures, you need to keep a watchful eye open for these signs. 

You may notice your dog quickly collapse and begin jerking their body around. This is because they no longer have any control over what their body is doing. With that, they may also start drooling at the mouth, chomping, biting their tongue, and foaming at the mouth. These signs are all huge indicators of something terrible going on. 

Your dog may also pass out and lose consciousness during this entire situation. If you notice your dog displaying any of these signs, be assured that dogs do not feel any pain when they are having a seizure. After it has ended, they may wake up dazed and disorientated. This is absolutely normal and should be expected. 

Body Language

Some signs that your dog is having a seizure include:
  • Shaking
  • Body freezing
  • Twitching whiskers
  • Drooling

Other Signs

More symptoms your dog may exhibit are:
  • Collapsing and loss of consciousness
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Incontinence
  • Stiffness

History of Seizures in Dogs

Throughout the years, scientists have studied the cause of seizures in many different species. With dogs, it is harder to figure out what causes their symptoms because they do not have the ability to speak with us and tell us what is going on inside of their body. So, we have to rely on scientists to study these different symptoms and seizures to help determine how they affect our pups. 

A study has been ongoing since 2013 called The Canine Epilepsy Project. This was created to study various different breeds of dogs to help determine what exactly causes seizures and to be able to decipher whether or not there are differences in certain breeds so that an effort could be made to stop crossbreeding certain types of dogs if there was proof that there was a higher chance of seizures. 

It is still an ongoing study and, hopefully, answers will follow for different pups. While that study continues on, it has been said that about 3% of dogs have idiopathic epilepsy, which means their seizures are from unknown causes.  Many different things have been found to cause seizures, including trauma to the head, eating toxic items, and brain tumors.

The Science of Dog Seizures

As we mentioned, different dog breeds may be more prone to seizures than others. We are able to take a peek into what makes certain breeds unique in the way that causes more seizures than other dogs. While the study is still ongoing, it can be said that certain dogs have experienced more seizures than others due in part to crossbreeding different types of pups. It is not always an issue, but it is something to think of when deciding whether to breed your pupper or not.

Helping Your Dog Handle Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a dangerous struggle for some, including our beloved pets. When it comes to handling a dog with epilepsy, it is first important to note that in most cases, it can be easily handled, as long as you are in touch with a good vet who understands these kinds of cases. 

When seizures occur, often times the subject who is having them will not even realize what is going on. They will simply have the seizure and when it is over, they will be confused and disoriented. 

This is the same with dogs. When dogs have seizures, they will fall over and go in and out of consciousness while their body seizes. While it is scary to witness, it is not always painful for the one going through it, so just bear that in mind. 

With all of that being said, there are different ways to be better prepared for when your dog experiences a seizure. If you know your dog has seizures, the first thing you need to do is take them immediately to the vet so that they can try to determine how to best handle the issue. Many times, there is no cure for seizures but medication can be prescribed for daily intake to help lessen the symptoms and frequency of the seizures.

After your visit to the vet, you will want to get yourself a notebook that you can carry with you to write down anything strange going on with your pup so that you can possibly figure out any triggers that may be a cause of seizures. Sometimes, no one can figure out what causes them, but in the end, seizures are mostly manageable for your four-legged pal and they will be able to live a practically normal and long life with you. 

Safely Handling Your Dog's Seizures:

  • If your dog is having a seizure, do not try to move them or interact with them. The best thing to do is to let the seizure run its course while you stand to watch.
  • Your dog may be confused after waking from their episode. They also may have no clue what happened. Keep them calm, get them water, and stay with them as long as you are able to.