What To Do If Your Dog Has A Seizure
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Epilepsy in dogs is a pathology which manifests as recurrent epileptic seizures. As caregivers, if we live with a dog that suffers from this disease, we must know how to act in order to avoid this aggravating and dangerous situation. In addition, one must be able to distinguish epilepsy from other causes of seizures. If your veterinarian has already diagnosed your animal with epilepsy and prescribed treatment, comply strictly with those guidelines.
In this AnimalWised article we will show you what to do if your dog has a seizure, and how to possibly avoid it. In addition, don’t forget to also consult your veterinarian in the case of any seizure.
Epilepsy in dogs
Epilepsy is a very complex neurological disorder. Abnormal and sudden activity which occurs in the neural network can trigger epileptic seizure. Epilepsy is generally characterized by seizures. However, not all convulsions in dogs are caused by epilepsy, therefore proper diagnosis is key in both treating and avoiding epileptic attacks in our dogs. 
Epileptic seizures generally consist of the following components:
- Prodrome: is the period prior to epileptic activity. Behavioral changes may occur, such as: restlessness, anxiety and need for human affection. This phase can last for hours or even days, although not continuously. This phase is recognizable. If you notice any strange behavioral changes in your canine, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Aura: this phase marks the beginning of the seizure, signs include: vomiting, excessive urination and defecation.
- Ictus stage: this is the seizure stage. During this stage, you will notice; involuntary movements, abnormal behaviors, foaming of the mouth, drooling, etc. The duration of a seizure can last from a few seconds to several minutes. Seizures can be partial or generalized.
- Postictal stage: after the epileptic seizure, an animal may appear disorientation and suffer from urinary incontinence, nervousness, excessive thirst or hunger and in serious cases: show neurological deficits such as weakness or blindness. This is occurs due to the cerebral cortex not yet being recovered. The duration of this period can vary enormously, from seconds to days.
Depending on the symptomatology, epileptic seizures can be:
- Focal - originating from a specific area of the cerebral hemisphere.
- Generalized - triggered in both cerebral hemispheres
- Focal that evolves to generalized - which begins in a region of the brain and ends up involving both hemispheres (most common in dogs).
Epilepsy in dogs - diagnosis
When aware of the symptoms of an epileptic seizure in dogs, we are more able to recognize whether the seizures originate from other causes, such as:
- Syncopes: in this case of syncopes, a dog will suddenly collapses and suddenly recover. Syncope usually occurs due to sudden insufficient blood flow to the brain. In epileptic seizures however, the phases are less sudden and appear in stages.
- Vestibular alterations: the animal will be conscious and symptomatology will last longer. Symptomatology includes: head tilting, involuntary repetitive eye movements, ataxia. 
- Narcolepsy: the animal will fall asleep suddenly but can be awakened.
- Sudden pain: the animal will be conscious and will be positioned in a uncommon position for a considerable amount of time.
- Poisoning: in the case of ingesting something toxic: the convulsions are usually continuous and repeat every few minutes. In addition, you will be able to observe other symptoms between these convulsions, such as: weakness, diarrhea or lack of coordination, while in epilepsy, after a convulsion, the dog experiences a period of calmness.
What to do if your dog has a seizure
The first thing to do in the event of an epileptic seizure in dogs is to remain calm, which can be difficult, as seizures are often shocking. During the seizure, make sure that you stay away from your dog’s mouth, since they are not conscious and might accidentally bite. In addition, don’t try to put anything between it’s teeth.
If your dog is experiencing a seizure in a dangerous place where it might get hurt, try move him/her. If this is not possible, wait until the end of the seizure and take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Gather as much information about the symptoms to facilitate the correct diagnosis. The reason for this is because it is possible that once you arrive to the clinic the symptoms might have subsided.
If the crisis does not subside within 5 minutes, consider it an emergency and take your dog to the vet immediately to avoid any serious damage to your animal’s health. This case is considered an emergency that must be attended to immediately by the vet, as this such seizure can cause serious brain damage and risk put the animal’s life at risk.
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 What To Do If Your Dog Has A Seizure, we recommend you visit our First aid category.