Epilepsy is a very dangerous disease to a dog’s health and life.
To learn how to treat epilepsy in dogs, you must be curious about the disease, its symptoms, and how to diagnose it. The most appropriate treatment options are then suggested.
What exactly is epilepsy in dogs?
Seizures (also known as convulsions) can be defined as “repetitive involuntary contractions of muscles, accompanied by changes in sensation, perception, and motor behavior.”.
Seizures are caused by an abnormally rapid discharge of nerve cells in the brain.
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Some seizures are easily treated (for example, hypoglycemia), but others can have serious consequences for a dog’s life (such as poisoning, head trauma, or a brain tumor).
Dog seizures can last anywhere from seconds to hours.
Conditions that Increase the Risk of Death in Epileptic Dogs
Many owners wonder if their dogs can die from epilepsy. Yes, depending on the cause of your dog’s seizures, the type of seizures, and how long the dog has had the seizures.
Seizures caused by head trauma, brain tumors, organ abnormalities, poisoning, and other medical issues can be fatal.
Idiopathic epilepsy, also known as epilepsy, affects many young, healthy dogs. Beagles, Teffen Collies, Border Collies, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, Keeshonds, Poodles, and St. John’s Dogs have the highest risk of epilepsy. Springer Spaniel, Bernard, and Shetland Sheepdog.
If your dog has hypoglycemic episodes, don’t worry; your veterinarian can easily treat the condition.
Seizures are classified into two types: generalized and partial. More than half of all dogs with idiopathic epilepsy will develop generalized epilepsy.
- The stimulation of a group of neurons on one side of the brain causes partial seizures. Facial twitches, staring, fear, or unusual attention-seeking are all symptoms.
- The stimulation of a large number of neurons on both sides of the dog’s brain causes generalized seizures. They typically affect the entire body, causing the dog to lose consciousness, fall to one side, salivate, urinate, defecate, and twitch his limbs.
- Seizures that are prolonged or repeated (even if caused by idiopathic epilepsy) increase the dog’s risk of death.
The two most common types of status epilepticus are as follows:
- When more than one seizure occurs on the same day, this is referred to as multiple seizures.
- Intermittent seizures happen when the muscles twitch repeatedly.
Although epilepsy is frightening and can cause pain and even death, it is less likely to develop in young, healthy dogs (with the exception of idiopathic epilepsy).
The chances of dying are lower if a dog has only one seizure without a head injury or poisoning.
Dangers of Repeated and Serial Seizures in Dogs
Dogs who have multiple seizures per day, seizures that last longer than 5 minutes, or intermittent seizures can have serious health problems.
When a dog has multiple seizures or prolonged convulsions, his body temperature is likely to rise due to muscular activity, such as constant limb swinging.
Some dogs’ body temperatures rapidly rise from the normal range (37 to 39 degrees Celsius) to over 42 degrees Celsius, resulting in heat exhaustion (a form of heat stroke).
Temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius put dogs at risk of severe organ failure.
Elevated body temperature can also cause strange neurologic symptoms like lethargy, weakness, or coma.
Secondary complications that can be fatal include:
- Intravascular coagulation that has spread (DIC)
- Ulcer in the intestine
- Hypotension (low blood pressure) (low blood pressure)
- Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
Seizures in dogs with epileptic hyperthermia should be stopped immediately and their temperature lowered, such as with intravenous diazepam.
If that fails, other injectable medications like propofol can be used.
Cold baths, fan sitting, and IV fluids can keep dogs hypothermic.
Long-term treatment for epilepsy necessitates the use of medications such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, levetiracetam (keppra), zonisamide, gabapentin, and felbamate.
When should you see a doctor?
If your dog has persistent seizures or a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes, you should contact your veterinarian immediately and take your dog to the emergency room.
If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, it is best to consult a veterinarian:
- Seizures that last more than 5 minutes
- A number of times per day
- Sporadic epilepsy
- Symptoms that are out of the ordinary, such as vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, or bleeding.
What to Do If Your Dog Seizures
When your dog has a seizure, make sure both your dog and yourself are safe. Here are some ideas that might help you:
- Maintain your and your dog’s safety. During a seizure, do not leave your dog in an area where it could be injured.
- Move your dog away from the stairs gently.
- The most secure method is to drag them by their hind legs.
- If you leave your dog outside, make sure they are not near any trails, sharp objects, or potentially dangerous bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, or swimming pools.
- If you must move your dog, make sure to wrap it in a blanket to prevent bites.
- Wrap the dog in a blanket only to avoid injury, and remove it when it is safe to do so to avoid raising the dog’s body temperature.
- If you don’t want to be bitten, don’t put anything in the dog’s mouth or touch the dog’s mouth when it’s twitching.
- Keep a diary of your dog’s seizures. Examine your timepiece to see how long the seizure lasted.
- Anyone who has ever witnessed a seizure in a dog is likely to be terrified and stressed because the seizure appears to last much longer than it actually does.
- As a result, many homeowners believe the seizures will last several minutes when, in fact, they only last a few seconds.
- Keep a seizure journal. Keep detailed seizure records, including when they occur, how long they last, and your dog’s pre-epileptic symptoms.
- Expect post-epileptic behavior. These behaviors can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
- Dogs may exhibit a variety of physical and behavioral abnormalities following a seizure, including disorientation, weakness, temporary blindness, and difficulty walking.
- Many dogs will stumble, try to walk but kneel, or run into a wall.
- The dog is vulnerable to injury during this time, such as falling down the stairs or drowning.
- It is best to keep your dog in a confined space. To avoid injuries, take good care of your dog.
- During a seizure, your dog may lose control and may not recognize you.
- Contact a veterinarian. Please contact your doctor right away if you have any questions or concerns. They will provide you with treatment, advice, or any necessary treatment.
Canine Epilepsy Treatment
Your veterinarian may advise you to take your dog to a medical facility for seizure treatment and prevention.
Dogs can be given the sedative diazepam intravenously.
When intravenous administration is not possible, this medication can be administered through the nose or rectum.
Your dog will be subjected to a battery of tests, including blood and urine tests.
Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist clinic, such as a veterinary neurologist or a 24-hour urgent care clinic.
If the dog exhibits hyperthermia symptoms, abnormal blood values, or other abnormalities, additional treatment will be recommended.
Following the completion of the tests, treatment will be determined by the cause of the seizures.
Antiepileptic drugs may be prescribed for epileptic dogs. Dogs who have had a history of recurring or prolonged seizures may be given emergency medication to prevent seizures at home.
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Epilepsy is a dangerous condition not only because seizures can be unexpected for dogs, but it is also a symptom of many other medical conditions. In the unlikely event that your dog develops epileptic symptoms, take the puppy to a veterinary center as soon as possible for examination and treatment.
This article is not intended to be a replacement for professional veterinary care. When your pet exhibits signs of illness, it is best to contact the nearest veterinary clinic immediately.
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