Unfortunately, Epilepsy in dogs is common and it’s estimated that approximately 1% of the doggie population are now affected by it. As a pawrent it’s never easy seeing your Pup hurt or in distress and seeing them have a seizure can be very alarming - especially if it comes out of nowhere!
As part of our Dog Owners Guide | Health & Care Awareness Blogs, we take a look at; How to spot the signs of a Seizure & What to do if your Dog has a Seizure. Plus we share Max’s Epilepsy Journey.
All information shared within this blog is for awareness purposes only & not medical advice. If you have any concerns about the Health and/or Care of your Dog please seek medical advice from a professional veterinarian.
How to spot the signs of a Seizure…
Seizures are the result of abnormal electrical impulses in the brain, that lead to disturbances in your Dog’s behaviour and physical movement. Here are a few signs to look out for that could mean your Dog is having a Seizure:
- Running in circles
- Falling to the floor / side and make paddling motions with their leg
- Muscle Twitching / Stiffening / Jerking
- Loss of consciousness
- Being unable to look at you or anything else
- Drooling / Chomping / Tongue Chewing or Foaming at the mouth
- Urinating or defecating uncontrollably
- Staring of into space / blank stare / in a daze
- Being unsteady on their feet
- Being unaware of their surroundings / confused
It’s important to know that not all Seizures mean your Dog has Epilepsy, so it’s important to seek professional medical advice.
Epilepsy is a chronic condition that causes repeated seizures. In most cases epilepsy is a lifelong disease.
What to do if your Dog has a Seizure…
KEEP YOURSELF CALM - Seeing your Pup have a Seizure can be very alarming, but it’s important that you try to keep yourself calm! Your Dog can read your emotions - so if your crying or yelling, they’re going to be even more frightened by the whole situation.
RECORD & TIME YOUR DOG’S SEIZURES - If you are able to do so, time your dog’s seizures and/or take a video recording. This can be very helpful information for the vet to determine the cause of the Seizure & recommend the correct treatment!
BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT STROKING YOUR DOG - Your Pup can become very confused during or after having a Seizure - this can cause them to bite out of fear or pain. Instead sit near them to bring them comfort, without overcrowding their space.
CAREFULLY MOVE YOUR DOG TO A SAFE LOCATION - During a Seizure Dogs can lose control of their movements and could potential fall during one. They can also become panicked after a seizure and may run around without thinking or looking at where they’re going. If it is safe to do so, move your Dog to a safer location - away from heights or objects they could hurt themselves on. If you can’t move them, move any objects you can that could cause them harm.
USE A COMFORTING TONE - Some Dogs take comfort in hearing their owners voice after having a Seizure - remember to use low, comforting tones. It can help bring them back out of a daze and focus on where they are.
LOWER YOUR DOG’S BODY TEMPERATURE - Seizures can cause your dog’s body temperature to rise. Once your Pup has come to try cooling them down by gently placing a cool washcloths/towel over they’re feet.
ENSURE YOUR DOG HAS ACCESS TO WATER & FOOD - Your dog may be extremely hungry or thirsty after a seizure. Ensure they have access to food & water if they want it! Make sure they are alert before offering this to them and don’t force it - its fine if they don't want any.
CALL YOUR VET - If this is the first time your dog has had a seizure or if the seizure lasted longer than usual, call your vet right away and ask their advice. Follow what the vet suggests.
Max’s Epilepsy Journey
Max is a 4 year old Labrador and until this year had never had a Seizure. He has no underlying health conditions and is a very active dog.
15th FEBRUARY 2022
Out of nowhere on a rainy lunch-time walk with friends, Max began to act very out of character.
He started holding his left paw up (as though he had something in it) but immediately lifted his right paw up. Suddenly he couldn’t bear weight on either paw and one of his back legs gave way!
Max was alert but very confused as to why he could no longer stand or walk. His paw rents decided to pick him up and move him out of the rain. He suddenly went ridged, so they laid him down again. It was at this point he proceeded to have his first Seizure - his eyes rolled back and he began to convulse on the floor and foam from the mouth. This lasted for 5 minutes and was a terrifying experience for his Pawrents.
When Max woke from the Seizure he was very confused and didn’t recognise his name or other familiarly words. At this point he still couldn’t walk properly.
Max was rushed to the vets, where they managed to stabilise him. He was given a full body check but they couldn’t find any external reason why he had a Seizure. This is when they suggested it could be Idiopathic Epilepsy and provided emergency medication, in case it happened again and full blood tests were carried out.
20th FEBRUARY 2022
Unfortunately only a few days later Max had a similar turn for the worst and once again became ridged and began to twitch. Thankfully this did not last as long, but it did make Max very subdued and tired afterwards. Max’s blood tests came back clear however as the seizures were continuing he was referred to a Neurological Specialist. This would ensure Max got the proper diagnosis and treatment.
22nd FEBRUARY 2022
Max went through a lengthy and independent examination (dog’s are very good at masking pain in front of their owners, so he was separated). Max then underwent further tests under aesthetic to exactly pin-point the cause of the seizures. Thankfully all of these tests also came back clear and this ruled out any other nasty diseases or tumours as the cause of his seizures.
Max was diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy and will now be on medication for the rest of his life. This will not completely stop his seizures, but it will make they less severe. Whilst Idiopathic Epilepsy is a very serious condition, it doesn’t affect a Dog’s quality of life or length of life.
MARCH - JUNE 2022
Since starting Phenobarbital for his epilepsy Max has had routine blood tests to check that his liver and kidneys are coping with the medication. At first his dose was too high and his liver and kidneys were not too happy. His dose was lowered, his bloods were reviewed 6 weeks later and his levels were much better. Max then had another blood test in June where his levels were the best to date.
The neurologist specialist and vets are now happy for Max to have his routine blood tests every 6 months. This is something his paw rents we will need to do for the rest of Max’s life to ensure his body is coping with the medication. He is back to his happy healthy self and has been lucky to not experience any grand mal seizures since being on medication.
Max’s Pawrents recommend that you make sure that your pets are always fully insured. This is something you can not be prepared to happen to your Pup and to get the correct treatment and care could cost thousands of pounds. Max’s insurance policy is with ManyPets
Pet Insurance and has a large excess, which luckily covered all his vet bills. It also includes Lifetime cover meaning all his future medication and care is covered.
Get your Pups Insurance with ManyPets using this link and you will receive a £20 Amazon Gift Card >> Max’s Referral Link