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About Canine Seizures
A seizure is described as an abnormal burst of activity in the brain. Some seizures may last a few minutes, where as others can last hours at a time. There are four main types of seizures in dogs; generalized seizure, focal seizures, cluster seizures and status epilepticus. Although seizures can affect any dog, there are some things to keep in mind. Almost 70% of dogs between the ages of 1 and 6 will suffer from seizures and epilepsy. There are also some breeds who are more prone to seizures than others.
These breeds include:
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- German Shepherds
Dogs that are older may start to get seizures more often than compared with younger dogs.
Types of Dog Seizures
The following are the 4 different kinds of seizures that affect dogs:
Generalized (grand mal) Dog Seizures
This happens before an actual seizure. During this stage, your dog may display behavioral changes that may indicate a seizure is about to happen. These signs may be restlessness, pacing, crying and whining, or neediness.
Following these indications, a dog seizure will occur. These seizures will usually only last 30 seconds to 2 minutes. During this seizure, your dog will collapse, his limbs will become rigid and he will become unconscious. After a few seconds, he may start shaking or running in place. He may also drool, vomit or defecate.
After the seizure is finished, the post-seizure state will set in. Your dog will regain consciousness and will likely appear confused and disorientated. When walking, your dog may fall over or run into walls or objects. This post-seizure phase may last a few minutes, or a few hours.
Partialized (Focal motor) Seizures
These type of dog seizures are usually only limited to one area of the body. This means twitching or jerking of a certain limb. Partial seizures may also affect the face.
There are two main types of partial seizures; simple and complex. In a simple partial seizure, your dog is usually awake and alert. The face is most commonly affected, and may resemble twitching on one side. Sometimes simple partial seizures in dogs will spread to other areas of the body, making the limbs shake uncontrollably.
Complex partial canine seizures are when your dog’s behavior is affected. These seizures affect the part of the brain that controls behavior. During these seizures, your dog may become aggressive, be pacing around, biting his limbs, chattering his teeth and seem to be afraid of nothing at all.
Cluster seizures are when your dog has convulsions or episodes that are more than once in 24 hours. If your dog experiences more than three seizures in 24 hours, it is considered to be a very serious situation that requires medical attention right away. Waiting too long for treatment of cluster seizures may result in serious consequences, and of course, more seizures at a time.
These types of dog seizures are very serious. Status Epilepticus is a seizure that is prolonged or that is continuous. If left untreated, these seizures can lead to brain damage, hyperthermia and death. In order to treat these dog seizures, your dog will likely be placed on diazepam, or other medications to ease the seizures.