One of the most common neurological conditions that canines struggle with are seizures.   A seizure is a momentary disturbance of regular brain function, which is usually evident through collapse, convulsions, fits, or involuntary movement of isolated muscles.  There are several different kinds of seizures, which can be brought on by the same causes, and can occur in the exact moment of physical trauma, or even in the weeks following. Often people use the terms “seizure” and “epilepsy” synonymously, though epilepsy refers to the occurrence of a series of seizures and usually indicate a long-term problem.

Types of Seizures

Generalized seizures (also known as grand mal seizures) are the most common kind of seizure, and it causes an animal to go unconscious due to a burst of electrical activity. This is dispersed throughout the entire brain, resulting in a full-body seizure that can last anywhere from a moment to several minutes.

Focal seizures indicate a lesion in one part of the brain, and are the result of the abnormal electrical activity happening there.  Since the electrical activity only occurs in one part of the brain, only one area of the body might show symptoms. Some seizures begin as a focal variety, but then can affect all parts of the body.

Psychomotor seizures are unique from the rest, in that instead of losing consciousness, the dog will behave strangely for a few minutes. He might start rapidly pawing at the floor, chasing his tail, etc., which can be difficult to distinguish from simply silly canine behavior. However, whenever this kind of seizure occurs, your pup will resort to the same activity every time.

When a dog randomly has seizures without any evident cause this succession is known as idiopathic epilepsy, which is an inherited disorder very common in dogs. Usually manifesting beginning between the ages of 6 months- 6 years old, the breeds that are most susceptible are:

  • Border Collies
  • German Shepherds
  • Beagles
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Belgian Tervurens

What Causes Seizures

Because seizures occur when an unnatural amount of electrical activity happens in the brain, they typically happen when the brain is highly active, excited or in the midst of a change (such as falling asleep, waking up, eating, etc.) Seizures can be caused by injuries, health conditions, diseases, and a variety of other factors. Some of the primary causes are listed below:

  • Eating poison
  • Liver illnesses
  • Kidney disease
  • Anemia
  • Strokes
  • Brain tumor or cancer
  • Injury or trauma to the head
  • Imbalanced blood pressure
  • Dehydration