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In the most simple of terms, this is an electrical storm of activity within the brain.  There are multiple causes of seizures that can be caused by a tumor, an infection, trauma, toxin, a blood issue, the renal systems, or other organs.  The causation can be difficult to pin down immediately but is critical for your dog’s health.  Seizures can last for only a few seconds but most will last about two minutes.  If the seizures are lasting five minutes or happening one after the other, immediate medical help must be sought.

There are many different types of seizures.  The type of seizures depends on where in the brain the electric storm is occurring.  The kind that most people think of are grand mal seizures.  This is the full body seizure and can have loss of consciousness and full body spasms.  There are others that involve loss of consciousness or glassy stare.  There are still others that have spasms in specific parts of the body instead.

If your dog has seizure that are lasting more than five minutes and do not have a full recovery, a veterinarian should be seen immediately.  If your dog is having multiple seizures within a twenty four hour period, a veterinarian should be seen immediately.

There are three distinct phases to a seizure.  The first is before the obvious loss of control and is called the aural phase.  This is where the dog has behavioral changes such as attention seeking or anxious behavior.  The ictal phase and is where the actual seizure happens.  Loss of bodily functions are not uncommon here.  Finally, there is the postictal phase which is where the dog is dealing with the immediate after effects.  They may seem confused  or have neurological abnormalities.

If your dog is having a grand mal seizure, do not place your hand or other objects near his mouth or head.  This is a good way to receive a bite.  Make sure that the dog is on the floor, not on furniture or near stairs so that they don’t hurt themselves.  It is best if there is nothing around that they can bump into.  Do not try to move your dog during a seizure unless absolutely necessary.  The dog may urinate or defecate during the seizure.  This is common and shouldn’t be of concern at the moment.

Once the seizure is over, allow the dog recovery time, and this can last minutes or even hours in some cases.  Speak to your dog calmly and quietly.  Never show your fear or upset.  They need you to be as calm as possible at this time.  Assure them that you are there and will take care of them.  Pet them gently and give them a chance to come back around.  A second round of urination may be needed soon.Most seizure symptoms will have abated by the time you get the dog to a vet.

Symptoms can include:

  • Frightened (Aural)
  • Attention Seeking (Aural)
  • Restlessness (Aural)
  • Hiding (Aural)
  • Confused or Dazed (Aural)
  • Fall to Its Side (Ictal)
  • Fall on Its Belly (Ictal)
  • Become Stiff (Ictal)
  • Vocalize (Ictal)
  • Convulse (Ictal)
  • Paddle With Limbs (Ictal)
  • Salivate (Ictal)
  • Urinate and/or Defecate (Ictal)
  • Chomp Jaws (Ictal)
  • Lose Consciousness (Ictal)
  • Confusion (Postictal)
  • Disorientation (Postictal)
  • Increased Thirst (Postictal)
  • Increased Appetite (Postictal)
  • Lack of Coordination (Postictal)
  • Wandering (Postictal)
  • Compulsive Behavior (Postictal)
  • Pacing (Postictal)
  • Temporary Blindness (Postictal)
  • Temporary Deafness (Postictal)