Why Do Dogs Have Seizures?

Dogs can have seizures just like humans.  It is caused by a condition called status epilepticus, or more commonly referred to as epilepsy, and there are many different types that can affect dogs.  So why do dogs have seizures?

  • Epilepsy is a term that describes recurring seizures that are caused by brain malfunction.
  • Idiopathic epilepsy is a term that is used to describe a type of epilepsy that does not cause lesions or damage to the brain functions.
  • Symptomatic epilepsy is a term that people use to describe epilepsy that results in lesions or brain structural damage.
  • Probably symptomatic epilepsy is a term used to describe suspect epilepsy in a dog that has not been medically observed yet.
  • Cluster seizure is a term used to describe a series of recurring seizures that happen in under a day.
  • Status epilepticus is the term used to describe the ailment of having recurring seizures.

Dog SeizureUnfortunately, the more seizures a dog has, the more risk there is to be damage to nerves in the brain, and the more likely it will happen again.  Seizures are classified as focal seizures, generalized seizures, or focal seizures with secondary generalization.  While a focal seizure will affect only a small part of the brain, generalized seizures are likely to affect both sides of the brain.  A seizure may come with warning signs that tell of an oncoming seizure, and this is called an aura.  Your dog may seem frightened, anxious, or very worrisome in this time, and it can tell of an impending seizure.  They may have problems with their vision or seek help from their owner.  They may also have contractions of the limbs or muscles, difficulty controlling movements of their bowels or urinating.  Some dogs will also go through an altered mental state before a seizure develops, as well as develop other mental symptoms.

Lab tests gotten from vets can show lots of things like:

  • Unusual blood sugar levels
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Any infectious or viral disease
  • Other diseases like fungal or systemic

Getting your dog cared for properly and early are most important to your pet’s health.  Dogs are most at risk to get problematic seizures when they are young or elderly.  If you notice any symptoms of seizures in your dog make sure you take them to the vet to get checked out.