Your dog is a part of the family, and nothing is scarier than seeing a beloved friend stiffen and lapse into a series of spasmodic and uncontrollable movements.
Convulsions are the primary indicator of a dog seizure, and knowledge of why it’s happening can help a pet owner remain calm and take the appropriate actions to help their pet. Let’s break down the common causes why your dog may have a seizure to help the four-legged members of the family maintain the best possible health.
Idiopathic epilepsy is basically a fancy term that means they can’t attribute the exact root cause of this seizure to a structural brain condition, so they file it into a broad group of unknown factors known as idiopathic epilepsy. This occurs after your dog has been given a thorough neurological exam, blood work and diagnostics test, and no diseases or deeper-rooted conditions were found. The seizure condition is likely genetically inherited and can’t be attributed to a serious brain event, like a stroke.
Idiopathic epilepsy is broken down into “generalized” seizures and “focal” seizures, where generalized seizures affect the entire brain and body and focal seizures affect one side of the brain and one controlled group of muscles in the body.
Idiopathic epilepsy can occur in any breed, but is more common in Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles and Belgian Tervurens. If your dog experiences a focal seizure, it’s imperative they see a veterinarian, as a focal seizure can be a precursor to a more severe generalized seizure affecting both sides of the brain.
A structural seizure, or “symptomatic” seizure, means there’s a definitive cause of your dog’s convulsions. They are due to a more serious underlying brain condition or an affliction of the dog’s organs.
The cause of an irregular brain function structural seizure could be a stroke, tumor or meningitis. Upon examination, a veterinarian notices observable brain damage or abnormal disfiguration of the brain. Organ diseases which commonly cause the structural seizure include kidney disease, liver disease, or vascular disease.
A structural seizure is a headlining reason why any seizure should be taken seriously and given immediate professional attention and care. An early diagnosis by your veterinary specialist can help slow progressive symptoms and allow your specialist to provide treatment for more serious conditions while also helping your dog to stay seizure-free.
A reactive seizure is a seizure triggered by something within the dog’s physical environment or metabolic system. The most common reactive seizure is exposure to toxins. As you know, dogs are insatiably curious and will eat absolutely anything. The following ingested items may cause a reactive seizure:
Metabolic issues which can cause a reactive seizure include:
Reactive seizures have also been noted in cases where the dog was exposed to a bright flashing light or loud noise, or ingested a seemingly harmless toxin like homemade playdough.
It’s important to pay close attention to your dog’s behavior around potential triggers. Anything that hasn’t been verified as a safe food source should be kept enclosed or out of reach of your curious pooch’s mouth.
At Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency, our caring doctors and staff offer both an intimate and comprehensive level of care for dogs living with their humans in the neighborhoods of Moorpark, Thousand Oaks, Chatsworth, Simi Valley, and areas nearby Ventura County. We’ve been in the business of elite pet care for over 19 years and offer state of the art preventative health and diagnostic services including radiology, ultrasonography, and our own in-house laboratory.
If you believe your dog has experienced a seizure, please call us as soon as possible to discuss how we can properly care for your four-legged family member. We understand your pet is precious, and it’s both our mission and passion to give your pet the same care we would give a loved one of our own.