Seizures can occur in dogs for a number of reasons including some that may be idiopathic (of unknown origin).
A seizure is caused by a sudden abnormal burst of electrical activity in the brain. A grand mal seizure is usually preceded by an aura and the dog becomes nervous, restless, may cry out, seek attention or isolation. The seizure itself lasts for seconds or less than 2 minutes. The dog will fall over, become unconscious or be unaware of his/her surroundings. The legs start jerking or twitching similar to the dog running; the dog may chew, drool, urinate or defecate. When the seizure is over, the dog can be disoriented or confused which may last for some time. Grand mal seizures are typical of epilepsy.
With a partial seizure, the jerking and twitching are seen at first in a particular part of the body which can mean a scar on the brain, a tumor or an abscess.
Seizures can be caused by a number of disorders including a brain injury, encephalitis, heat stroke, poisoning, liver or kidney failure, hydrocephalus, brain tumor, abscesses affecting the nervous system. Seizures due to concussions can occur weeks or months after brain injuries and are caused by brain tissue scars.
If your dog suffers a seizure, try not to panic. Do the following.
- Time the seizure, the date it occurs, your dog’s behavior before, during and after the seizure.
- Protect your dog from any objects that may cause injury by moving them away. Don’t move the dog unless absolutely necessary to avoid injury.
- If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or your dog has cluster seizures (several, one after the other), contact your vet or an emergency clinic immediately.
Although recovery from the seizure may take a while, if your dog has not recovered after half an hour, contact your vet.
In any case, call your vet or take your dog to his/her office for an examination after the seizure is over. Be prepared with your record of the seizure.
Try to soothe your dog with petting and gentle words of comfort.