There are few things more frightening than watching your dog have a seizure. Once you realize that your dog has seizures, you may be concerned for their health. However, there are many treatment options available and seizures in dogs do not indicate a life of poor health or a shortened life. Most dogs prone to seizure have a long, healthy life.
There are no real definitive answers for why some dogs get seizures. There are some factors that can be considered. Obviously, a dog that has a brain injury or a brain tumor is likely to be more prone to seizures than dogs without brain impairment. There are some breeds that are more prone to seizures than others. Realize, however, that all breeds have been known to have seizures.
Seizures fall into one of two broad categories. These categories are focalized seizures and generalized seizures. Generalized seizures affect the entire brain. These seizures tend to be more intense and in some cases the dog can take several days to fully recover from a generalized seizure.
Focalized seizures affect a portion of the brain instead of the entire brain. This means that the affect on the brain is less severe than it would be in a generalized seizure, which makes recovery faster. Focalized seizures, for this reason, are sometimes harder to diagnose but they still require medical treatment.
In severe cases, your vet may refer you to a veterinary neurologist in order to receive more in depth care for your dog’s seizures. This is especially common in cases where the issue is a brain tumor, as neurologists are more qualified to treat a brain tumor.
Dogs that have generalized seizures suffer from one of two kinds of seizure. There are major motor seizures, which create a classic epileptic seizure, complete with muscle rigidity and twitching as well as involuntary loosening of the bowels or vocalizations. These are highly traumatic to watch. The other generalized seizure is less dramatic but no less serious. It is called an absence seizure and it results in the dog being still and unresponsive to outside stimuli.
Focalized seizures consist of either simple or complex seizures. Simple focalized seizures are when the dog experiences a major motor seizure on a smaller scale, for example, on a single body part or a single side of the body. The complex focalized seizures are seizures that affect the behavioral areas of the brain, causing sudden psychological changes in the dog. Although rare, dogs have been known to become violent during complex focalized seizures.
Seizures in dogs are hard to accept but with care and patience, your dog can live a happy and fulfilled life. With medication and attentive care, seizures can be minimized.