Mental problems

Epilepsy in Dogs

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: May 15, 2018
Epilepsy in Dogs

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Canine epilepsy is a disease that, although compatible with the animal's life, is a major concern and shock for people who share a home with the dog. But do not worry, there are many people in the same situation as you.

In this AnimalWised article we give you the key to understanding the disease, its treatment and give you some basic tips to know how to deal with an episode of epilepsy.

Remember that many other dogs worldwide suffer from this disease and live in the best possible way with devoted owners just like you... Keep fighting and carry on!

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  1. What is epilepsy in dogs?
  2. What causes epilepsy in dogs?
  3. What to do when the pet is suffering an epileptic seizure?
  4. Diagnosis and treatment

What is epilepsy in dogs?

Epilepsy is a neurological disease that occurs when there is exaggerated and uncontrolled electrochemical activity in the brain.

We must be clear that in both dogs and human brains functions are performed by electrical stimuli that run from one neuron to another. In the case of epilepsy these electrical stimuli take place in an inadequate manner, causing brain activity that is out of the ordinary.

What happens in the brain is then transmitted to the body. The electrochemical activity that occurs in the neurons sends orders for muscle contractions, this is characteristic of the symptoms of an epileptic seizure, where the muscle activity is completely uncontrolled and involuntary. During the epileptic fit we can also observe other symptoms such as excessive salivation and loss of bowel and bladder control.

Epilepsy in Dogs - What is epilepsy in dogs?

What causes epilepsy in dogs?

The causes of an epileptic attack can be many: tumours, poisoning, liver failure, trauma, diabetes....

But the cause of epilepsy (not as a secondary episode due to another problem) is always hereditary. Not only is it a hereditary disease but it particularly affects certain breeds such as the German Shepherd, St Bernard, Setter, Beagle, Poodle, Dachshund and Basset Hound.

However, it may also affect other breeds. The appearance of the first episode of epilepsy occurs approximately between 6 months and 5 years of age.

Epilepsy in Dogs - What causes epilepsy in dogs?

What to do when the pet is suffering an epileptic seizure?

An episode lasts around 1 or 2 minutes, but for the animal's human family it can seem like an eternity. It is very important that you know that under no circumstances should you try to take out its tongue as this could make it bite it.

You must put the animal on a comfortable surface, such as a cushion or a dog bed, so that it cannot injure itself or bump against a surface. Move its bed away from walls so it does not suffer any traumas.

After the episode the dog will be exhausted and somewhat disoriented, make it rest and recover as easily as possible. Animal owners can sometimes see that the dog is about to suffer an episode because it is more nervous, restless, with tremors and coordination difficulties.

Many sources say that if there are young children at home, epilepsy can be a trauma for them, but fortunately many crises occur during the night. However, it is considered more convenient to carefully explain to the child what happens to their dog whilst also leaving clear that they must not fear for the life of the animal.

Epilepsy in Dogs - What to do when the pet is suffering an epileptic seizure?

Diagnosis and treatment

As we already explained, an epileptic fit may be due to many other diseases or be a true epilepsy. If your pet has suffered an attack of this kind urgently take it to vet, only he or she can make a diagnosis.

Epilepsy is not a danger to the animal's life but caution must be exercised so that it does not get injured. The treatment is performed with drugs that lower brain activity, such as phenobarbital, and it can also be treated with muscle relaxants like diazepam.

Committed owners that are proactive and pay attention to the care that is needed by a dog with epilepsy, no doubt, are an important factor for improving the quality of life of the animal.

Epilepsy in Dogs - Diagnosis and treatment

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Epilepsy in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Mental problems category.

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Epilepsy in Dogs