Epilepsy in dogs - Causes, symptoms and treatment


The epilepsy in dogs It is not a very frequent disorder, however, it is important that caregivers handle information about it so that we can identify this pathology and act if our dog has an epileptic seizure at some time in his life.

In this article from Animal Expert we will explain what canine epilepsy consists of, the causes of its appearance, what are the characteristic symptoms that will produce in our dog and the treatment that will help our dog to have an optimal quality of life.

Epilepsy in dogs

To begin we will explain what is epilepsy in dogs or canine epilepsy. We talk about a disorder that involves convulsive episodes of acquired or structural or idiopathic origin. A typical attack of epilepsy in dogs will be divided into the following phases:

  1. Prodrome: moment before the onset of the seizure. In the dog behavior changes can be detected.
  2. Aura: It is the beginning of the crisis, but it is difficult to recognize it. They can>

Causes of epilepsy in dogs

The acquired epilepsy It is characterized by having an identifiable cause, for example, a scar in the brain caused by a blow to the head. Instead, in the idiopathic epilepsy, more frequently, the cause cannot be identified. It is suggested that it may be related to imbalances in different substances that are responsible for transmitting nerve impulses in the brain.

The causes can be divided into extra or intracranial. The former can be produced by toxic, sometimes the result of metabolic problems. The latter correspond to encephalitis, trauma or pathologies such as hydrocephalus.

In some races epilepsy is inherited, such as the beagle or the German shepherd. In others, epilepsy is more frequent, although its genetic origin has not been proven. They are, for example, the cocker, the collie, the golden, the labrador, the Irish setter, the poodle, the St. Bernard or the husky. In addition, the epilepsy in older dogs by the growth of brain tumors or metabolic problems due to liver or kidney diseases, more common in older ages.

Symptoms of epilepsy in dogs

The characteristic symptom will be the seizures, which appear between six months and five years of age, approximately. Also, in order for us to talk about epilepsy, epileptic seizures in these dogs must be recurring and similar. These seizures, over time, will happen more frequently. The dog can lose consciousness. We will also appreciate that the dog hypersalive, vomits or needs are over.

Depending on the symptoms, epileptic seizures can be focal or generalized, depending on whether they affect a part of the brain or everything. In the first we will observe head movements, flickering, limb shaking, urination, defecation, hypersalivation, dilated pupils, vomiting, anxiety, fear or aggressiveness. The generalized ones can manifest themselves in diverse ways with muscular contractions, pedaling movements, sharp contractions affecting both parts of the body or loss of muscle tone.

In this video of the Blake E channel you can see a real picture of canine epilepsy:

Treatment for epilepsy in dogs

First of all, the most important thing is for the veterinarian to get a successful diagnosis, since epilepsy can be confused with syncopes, neurological alterations or even narcolepsy or very intense pain.

If we are interested in knowing how to cure epilepsy in dogs, we have to be clear that, although drugs are available, they may not be entirely effective. Therefore, the goal of treatment, in idiopathic epilepsy, will be the decrease in seizure frequency and severity. It is also important to know that these pills for epilepsy in dogs can have side effects such as sedation, although dogs usually get used in a few weeks, to the point of tolerating them.

Instead, if a cause is discovered for epilepsy, it must be treated. Epilepsy medication can be set for life and periodic monitoring controls must be carried out.

There are several drugs against epilepsy, so the veterinarian can try them until you find the most effective for our dog. For the success of the treatment it is very important that we follow the administration guidelines that this professional prescribes, since it is key that we maintain correct levels of the drug in blood to be effective.

On the natural treatment of epilepsy, the beneficial effect of various dietary supplements and diets. For more information we should consult our veterinarian, as not all recommendations have proven more effective than a placebo.

Can a dog die of an epileptic seizure?

The consequences of an epilepsy attack in dogs can be serious, even deadly, if the seizures do not stop. These situations too they can leave sequels in the dog, as we will see. The prognosis will vary depending on the cause that is causing the attacks and whether it is possible to control the seizures. If the dog starts a crisis that does not remit it can die. In any case, the animal is more likely to survive and must follow a treatment.

What sequels does epilepsy leave in dogs?

Repeated epileptic seizures will frequently alter the dog's quality of life. On other occasions what is known as refractory epileptic state, when the dog does not respond to anticonvulsant drugs.

If the seizures are not controlled the dog's life will be in danger and, in addition, to recover, it is possible that it will have consequences. These include uncoordination, blindness, circle turns or hyperactivity.

Some may be recoverable in a matter of weeks, so they would not influence how many years a dog with epilepsy lasts, although there are cases in which they become permanent. They are those that affect, above all, learned behaviors.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Epilepsy in dogs - Causes, symptoms and treatment, we recommend that you enter our section of neurological diseases.