Epilepsy in dogs: all about the disease and first aid rules

Our smaller brothers, like people, can get sick. And the ailments that strike them are sometimes no less formidable. For example, epilepsy is a pathology caused by disorders in the functioning of the brain. Cellular changes provoke seizures, which the dog cannot control, often accompanied by loss of consciousness. It is impossible to cure a pet from epilepsy, but a loving owner can relieve the condition and minimize the frequency of seizures.

What we know about epilepsy in dogs

In fact, both the human and the canine nature of the disease has not been sufficiently studied to confidently speak about the causes of its occurrence. But scientists adhere to the hypothesis that the mechanism for triggering epilepsy lies in the inconsistency of impulse appearances and their transmission between the cells of nerve fibers in the brain. Hence the lack of coordination in muscle groups.

It is believed that neurotransmitters (special substances responsible for the uninterrupted supply of impulses) begin to experience a chemical imbalance and this leads to coordination failures of nerve cells. Such conditions are not permanent, they appear periodically, but with enviable regularity. This is one of the specific symptoms of suspected epilepsy in a dog.

Epilepsy can overtake any dog, but some breeds are particularly prone to epileptic seizures.

Owners of the following breeds need to be on the lookout:

  • Shepherd dogs
  • Hounds
  • Dachshunds
  • Labradors
  • Terriers
  • Poodles
  • Collie
  • Boxers
  • St. Bernards
  • Husky
  • Schnauzers

The first seizure begins due to a "jolt" when interneuronal connections fail, which triggers a convulsive process. Convulsions are a symptom after which the veterinarian immediately begins to look for the cause of the disease. It makes no sense to simply stop the seizures with medication, they will be repeated over and over again, this will lead to a constant increase in the medicinal dose, but not to a cure. One day, any dosage will not be enough ...

Forms of epilepsy and disease provocateurs

There are two types of epilepsy:

  1. The primary form (true) is a genetic pathology, inherited as a result of mutations within the dog's "blood" family. It is incurable and does not appear immediately at the birth of a puppy. The gene "dormant" for some time, but when favorable factors come, it manifests itself. This usually occurs between 6 months and 5 years of age;
  2. The secondary form (acquired) - arises as a result of various health conditions, leading to the mechanical destruction of neural connections and the occurrence of seizures. Such epilepsy can be cured (at least, most medical luminaries claim it).

Some chronic diseases and conditions that form protein, carbohydrate and fat starvation in an animal can break impulse harmony in the acquired type:

  • Hydrocephalus
  • Wrong diet
  • Poisoning (arsenic, strychnine, lead)
  • Prolonged stress
  • Intracranial trauma
  • Failure of various etiologies (cardiac, renal, hepatic)
  • Oncology of the brain
  • Chumka , etc.

Epilepsy does not appear 100% after any of these ailments, but the dog remains at risk forever.

Epileptic seizures in dogs

The first and most important symptom of epilepsy in a pet is a sudden, uncontrollable seizure. It happens unexpectedly, at any time and consists of three stages:

Aura -

It is a borderline state before a seizure. Lasts from several minutes to several days (individually for each dog).


  • Overexcitation;
  • Nervous whining;
  • Salivation;
  • Hide and seek in secluded places;

Ictal -

The stage of unconsciousness with throwing back the head, muscle tension.


  • Twitching of the head;
  • Eye rolling;
  • Frequent, heavy breathing;
  • Involuntary motor convulsions (the dog "runs" lying down);
  • Foam from the mouth (possibly bloody from cheek and / or tongue bite);
  • Uncontrolled emptying of the urinary or bowel.

Postictal - 

The stage of confusion and disorientation. Some get out of it quickly, others are indifferent to everything for a long time, or, on the contrary, excitedly looking for something incomprehensible.


  • Temporary blindness;
  • Aimless wandering.

Epileptic seizures are most difficult for dogs at 1.5-2 years of age, but therapy in this interval is also the most effective. With the right treatment, seizures can be reduced to 1-2 per year.

Attention! A seizure longer than 30 minutes is a serious threat to the life of a four-legged friend. Medical supervision and assistance is imperative.

First aid during an epileptic seizure

The main commandment is not to panic! The further state of the pet depends on the clarity of the actions. Fortunately, a standard seizure (if it does not drag on for an abnormally long time) does not in itself pose a threat to life, and the owner's task is to prevent the dog from being injured in the process of uncontrolled seizures.

We quickly organize help:

  • Remove children and other animals from the premises (a frightening sight);
  • Clear the space of objects that can be injured;
  • Place something soft under your head;
  • Hold your head, but do not hold the body and do not constrain convulsive movements;
  • Do not open the jaws and do not try to put something hard in them (the dog will NOT choke or swallow its tongue);
  • If the attack lasts more than 25-30 minutes, organize urgent medical assistance (either a dog to the clinic, or a doctor at home);
  • If it is impossible to get medical help, enter an anticonvulsant drug.

Advice! It is recommended to note the dates and duration of the seizures, the factors that precede them. This will simplify the collection of anamnesis and the choice of therapy.

Methods for diagnosing epilepsy in dogs

True form is determined by elimination. If the dog has no pathologies that are characterized by seizures, the doctor states epilepsy.

A number of diagnostic measures are carried out:

  • Blood sampling for clinical research and biochemistry;
  • Reflexology examination;
  • X-ray of the sternum;
  • Ultrasound, MRI of the brain;
  • EEG (electroencephalogram);

Epilepsy of the true form is incurable, therefore therapy controls seizures, reduces their negative effect on the dog's body, stops the possibility of prolonged, life-threatening seizures.

Epilepsy treatment

There is no general scheme for epileptic dogs; drugs are selected individually, with control tests and combinations. Most often, alone or in combination with others, they use:

  • Phenobarbital;
  • Pagluferal;
  • Potassium bromide;

It is very important not to skip taking the medication, this will provoke a severe attack. From other means, at the discretion of the doctor, it is discharged:

  • Phenazepam;
  • Diazepam;
  • Finlepsin;
  • Primidon;
  • Feniton;
  • Carbamazepine;

These drugs should reduce the frequency of seizures and have an anticonvulsant effect. Their dosage starts from the minimum and is brought to the most effective one under strict medical supervision.

Important! Self-selection of funds, as well as their abrupt cancellation or replacement with others is strictly prohibited! Such amateur performance can not only lead to status epilepticus, but cause the death of an unfortunate animal.

The rest of the pet can lead a normal life, perhaps more calm, without unnecessary activity, stress, excessive stress. A relapse is possible at any time, so do not skimp on affection and care for your pet in order to prevent a new attack.

Post a Comment