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Like humans, dogs can have seizures from time to time. These can be scary and difficult to witness, but it's important to realize that animals living with seizure-related disorders can live normal and healthy lives with proper diagnosis, treatment, and management.
Seizures in dogs can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common include:
A dog having a seizure will tend to present with a variety of signs. These signs typically occur in the morning or at night, when the animal is sleeping or resting. Seizures generally last between 30 seconds to 90 seconds, and fortunately, most dogs will typically recover by the time you've brought into to the vet (although it still is generally recommended to do so).
The most common signs of a pet seizure include:
The animal may or may not lose consciousness, depending on the type and severity of the seizure itself.
Before a seizure, an animal may experience an "aura" or focal onset. The pet may seem dazed, worried, afraid, and/or stressed out. It may have incontinence issues, muscular contractions in its limbs, and visual disturbances.
Following a seizure, during what's known as the postictal period, animals can seem confused, disoriented, and compulsive. They often are excessively thirsty and hungry and sometimes experience temporary blindness. It can take up to 24 hours for these post-seizure symptoms to go away.
When your dog has a seizure, your most important priority as its pet owner is to ensure that both you and your animal remain as safe as possible. Be sure your pet is lying on the ground and is away from anything that could be knocked into and fall down onto your animal. Never attempt to put anything in its mouth. Try to speak softly and soothingly to your animal until the event is over.
If your dog seizures, what to do after is call our emergency veterinary clinic. We may recommend that you bring it in for examination, as this can help you get an accurate diagnosis and ensure that there are no immediate life-threatening issues going on. You should also call bring your dog in to see us post-seizure if he or she sustains any sort of injury during the event.
Dogs who get seizures should also be monitored throughout their lives via regular pet wellness examinations. This helps ensure any medications are working appropriately, the dosage is correct, and any other underlying health conditions are detected, prevented, and/or otherwise treated.
Dog seizures can't always be cured, but they can be well managed with help from our your vet. Our Leonardtown veterinarian team can provide medications which will help prevent seizures from occurring; we'll also be sure to educate you on certain things you can do (such as minimizing salt in your pet's diet and providing safe exercise for weight management) to help minimize your animal's risk of complications, like weight gain or accidental drowning while swimming.
In cases where surgery may be indicated (to remove a seizure-causing tumor in the brain, for example), our team can support you and your animal throughout the entire pre- and post-operative process.
Is your pet living with epilepsy or some other condition that can cause seizures? The team here at Breton Veterinary Hospital would be honored to help. Contact our office today at (301) 475-7808 to schedule an appointment.