Seizures in dogs

Julia Dicconson
Content Manager
September 28, 2021

A seizure is a sudden electrical disturbance in the brain. A focal seizure affects only part of the brain and the dog remains conscious.

A generalised seizure, which is more common in dogs, affects the entire brain, and includes loss of consciousness.

Dogs usually show behaviour signs beforehand and afterwards, which differentiate a seizure from fainting or a dizzy spell.

What are common seizure signs in dogs?

Signs of an impending seizure include:

  • Staring into space 
  • Nervousness, neediness, or other behaviour changes

Focal seizure signs include:

  • Fly biting, or sudden tail chasing
  • Repetitive motions in one part of the body

Generalised seizure signs include: 

  • Falling over, with loss of consciousness
  • Stiffness of legs, or paddling 
  • Urination and defecation
  • Vomiting and salivation
  • Disorientation after the seizure

A dog staring into space, or appearing disoriented, could be a sign of seizure.

How are seizures managed in dogs?  

Ideally, you should pursue diagnostics and specific treatments for any possible underlying conditions that may be causing your dog to seizure. Anti-epileptic medications can be prescribed to reduce the severity and frequency, but may not eliminate seizures entirely. 

Medication is lifelong, and regular diagnostic testing is needed to monitor your dog’s status and prognosis.    

What is the prognosis for dogs experiencing seizures?

The prognosis depends on whether the seizures are idiopathic, or due to a specific cause and your dog’s treatment response. Most dogs will respond to anti-epileptic medication, but some may experience refractory seizures or adverse side effects, and have a poorer prognosis. 

Management tips for dogs experiencing seizures

At-home needs include:

  • Consistency with medications
  • Easy access to food, water, and a safe location
  • Prescription diets and supplements that promote brain function
  • Caution with handling, and avoiding sudden movements, or other stimuli
  • Keeping track of seizure length, time, and day, and taking a video for your vet

For end-of-life care:

In a crisis:

Immediately contact your vet if your dog has a seizure lasting longer than two minutes or has multiple seizures in one day, collapses and does not recover, or vocalises in pain. 

It is vital to begin end-of-life care discussions before your dog‘s condition becomes unmanageable, or they begin losing their quality of life. 

Don’t wait until the very end. It’s important to consider your pet’s end-of-life journey early, so that you, your family and your pet are all supported through the process.

When the time comes, we’re here for you. Goodbye Good Boy provides a range of end-of-life services to make the difficult process of saying goodbye a little easier. 

We offer quality of life assessments from qualified vets, specialist grief counselling, at home euthanasia from dedicated end of life veterinarians, as well as cremation services and memorial options to help remember your pet for their unique character.

We are with you at every step of the journey.

To find out more, you can call our team of passionate pet lovers on 1800 953 619.

This article was reproduced with permission from Goodbye Good Boy advisor Dr Dani McVety, of Lap Of Love.