Mar 10, 2017
Welcome to Bark & Wag 15 Minute Vet Talk – I am your host Polly ReQua
Today we are talking to one of our favorite Vets, Dr. Laura Brown, owner of Green Tree Animal Hospital in Libertyville, IL about seizures. What do you do if your dog has a seizure?
Symptoms can include collapsing, jerking, stiffening, muscle twitching, loss of consciousness, drooling, chomping, tongue chewing, or foaming at the mouth. Dogs can fall to the side and make paddling motions with their legs. They sometimes poop or pee during the seizure.
Some dogs may look dazed, seem unsteady or confused, or stare off into space before a seizure. Afterward, your dog may be disoriented, wobbly, or temporarily blind. He may walk in circles and bump into things. He might have a lot of drool on his chin and could be bleeding in his mouth if he bit himself. He may try to hide.
The most common kind is the generalized seizure, also called a grand mal seizure. A dog can lose consciousness and convulse. The abnormal electrical activity happens throughout the brain. Generalized seizures usually last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
With a focal seizure, abnormal electrical activity happens in only part of the brain. Focal seizures can cause unusual movements in one limb or one side of the body.
Sometimes they last only a couple of seconds. They may start as focal and then become generalized.
A psychomotor seizure involves strange behavior that only lasts a couple of minutes. Your dog may suddenly start attacking an imaginary object or chasing his tail. It can be tricky to tell psychomotor seizures from odd behavior, but a dog that has them will always do the same thing every time he has a seizure.
Seizures from unknown causes are called idiopathic epilepsy. They usually happen in dogs between 6 months and 6 years old. Although any dog can have a seizure, idiopathic epilepsy is more common in border collies, Australian shepherds, Labrador retrievers, beagles, Belgian Tervurens, collies, and German shepherds.
If your dog has a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes or if he has several in a row while he's unconscious, take him to a vet as soon as possible. The longer a seizure goes on, the higher a dog’s body temperature can rise, and he may have problems breathing. This can raise his risk of brain damage. Your vet may give your dog IV Valium to stop the seizure.
Your vet will want to do a thorough physical exam and get some lab work to look for the causes of your dog’s seizures.
Your vet may prescribe medicines to control seizures, like phenobarbital or potassium bromide. You can give your dog phenobarbital twice a day, but over time it can damage his liver. Dogs that take phenobarbital need blood tests about every 6 months.
Potassium bromide doesn’t work its way through the liver, making it a better choice for young dogs that need medicine for life.
Always follow your vet’s instructions when you give your dog medicine. Don’t let him miss a dose.
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