What To Do If A Dog Has A Tick – Don’t be too hasty to start your dog on anticonvulsants after their first seizure, as they may never have a seizure again – or they may have a mild seizure once a year. Once anticonvulsants are started, it is often lifesaving. Image source: Willeecole / Dreamstime.com
If you’ve never seen a dog with a full-blown seizure, consider yourself lucky — and I hope you never have. It’s horrible to see in any dog. Now imagine she is yours.
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Cramps come in all shapes and sizes. A major, severe seizure is a generalized seizure with widespread, excessive, abnormal electrical activity occurring on both sides of the brain. Also known as convulsive seizures or convulsions, seizure symptoms in dogs include:
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Keep safe. You need to stay away from the dog’s mouth to avoid being bitten by the dog. The natural tendency is to want to comfort your dog by hugging and/or stroking his head. However, your dog is not conscious or uncontrolled in his violent jaw movements during the seizure. In addition, your dog may become disoriented or amnesia in the minutes or hours after the seizure, known as the post-epileptic period, which may manifest as aggressive behavior or even is rage. You need to be extra careful both during and after the seizure.
For the dog’s safety, remove all fragile or falling objects from its vicinity. If he is near any stairs, try to stay below him on the stairs to avoid him falling.
Next, measure the duration of the seizure with your watch. This is important for two reasons. One is to keep track of your dog’s seizures in a diary or diary, which is used to determine when seizures become more severe or more frequent. The other is due to a life-threatening condition known as
Status epilepticus is an ongoing seizure that does not go away on its own. If the dog stays in the epileptic state for too long, it will die like a heat stroke. There is so much intense, violent physical activity that the body’s core temperature rises to life-threatening levels. Status epilepticus requires urgent veterinary intervention with an intravenous drug, usually a benzodiazepine such as diazepam (Valium), to interrupt an ongoing seizure.
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A good rule of thumb is five minutes. If the dog has a seizure for five minutes, you need to get in the car and go to the veterinary clinic. If he’s still convulsing when you get there, he needs urgent care. If the cramps go away while you’re on the road, you don’t have to go in and pay the emergency toll. Sit down for a while. If your dog remains silent, the life-threatening epileptic emergency is over.
Other generalized seizures include convulsions (stiff, unmoving or convulsive extensor limbs), convulsions (stiff, non-convulsive extremities), myoclonic (convulsed limbs), and ataxia. (standing, staring, unresponsive).
Focal seizures, which occur when abnormal electrical activity is localized to one point in the brain, can feel like many different things. “Bite the fly” is a classic saying that the dog looks like it’s seeing it and keeps biting the fly.
The gum fit is where the jaw is constantly bumping. Focal twitching may simply be repeated twitching of the eyelids, lips, or ears. Loss of consciousness may not.
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These types of seizures are rarely a major problem and usually do not require treatment. However, focal seizures can turn into generalized seizures, so be sure to monitor them closely until the seizure has passed.
Seizures can be caused by metabolic disorders such as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hypocalcemia (low blood calcium), liver disease, liver disease, kidney disease, and others. These seizures are called reactive seizures. The brain itself is still normal, and if the metabolic disorder is corrected, the seizures should go away.
Some drugs can cause seizures by lowering the seizure threshold in the brain. Discontinuation of the drug resolves these reactive seizures.
Toxins such as dark chocolate, caffeine, xylitol (sugar-free sweetener), ethylene glycol (antifreeze), bromethalin (rat poison), ethanol (alcohol) can cause convulsions. Again, removing the poison and treating it will eliminate the seizures.
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Seizures can be caused by abnormalities in the brain itself. They’re called structural seizures and are caused by things like tumors, head trauma, inflammatory diseases like granulomatous encephalitis, and infectious diseases like rabies and dog bites.
The most common cause of seizures seen in veterinary clinics is epilepsy. Epilepsy is defined as seizures of unknown cause. There was no structural damage to the brain. There is no infection, metabolic disorder, drug or poison to blame. Epilepsy is usually diagnosed after all possible causes of epilepsy have been ruled out.
In addition to a normal physical exam, a normal neurological exam, and a normal blood test, there are things that will indicate the possibility of epilepsy to your veterinarian. The biggest thing is the age when the seizures started. Epilepsy usually begins between 1 and 6 years of age.
Puppies under 1 year of age are more likely to have birth defects, poisoning, or an infectious disease such as malformations of the mouth. Dogs over 6 years of age at onset are more likely to have metabolic disorders or brain structural damage such as tumors.
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The tendency to resemble epilepsy is another clue your vet will use. Schnauzers, collies, basset terriers, cocker spaniels, Labrador retrievers, and golden retrievers are overrepresented among dogs with epilepsy. Is there anything else you can do?
To review: If your dog is having a seizure for the first time, stay calm, stay safe, and delay the seizure. Once your dog has recovered, schedule a veterinary checkup as soon as possible.
The first thing your vet needs to do is make sure the event is indeed a seizure. Recording this on video will be of great benefit to your vet. The biggest difference in a seizure is heart disease. When dogs have intermittent arrhythmias that can cause confusion, weakness, and collapse, it can sometimes be mistaken for epilepsy. In general, heart failure tends to be milder than seizure activity, rather than fainting, and the dog usually recovers much more quickly.
If your veterinarian agrees that it is a seizure, he or she will perform a physical exam and complete neurological examination. Blood tests should be performed to rule out metabolic causes of seizures. From there, other diagnoses may be recommended, which may include testing for infectious diseases, a CT scan, or an MRI.
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A random association of several other epilepsy-prone breeds: mastiffs, golden retrievers, and border hounds is over-described among epileptic dogs.
Has your vet prescribed medication for your dog to reduce or eliminate his seizures? It depends.
Assuming your dog is 1-6 years old, all tests are normal and epilepsy is diagnosed. Most veterinarians agree that initiation of anticonvulsant therapy is not usually indicated after this time
For others, keep a seizure diary where you record the date and time it happened, how long it lasted, its severity, and any other information you think is relevant. This diary is used to determine when to start anticonvulsant therapy.
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Only give your dog an anticonvulsant because you definitely don’t want him to have a seizure again. But consider this: Your dog may
Cramps again! Or he may have a mild illness once a year. You won’t know until you see what it looks like. And once anticonvulsants are started, it is often lifesaving.
If your dog is one of those epilepsy sufferers with rare seizures, you’re loading them up with medication they don’t really need every now and then — and paying for it! Not to mention, epileptic dogs that are well managed on antiepileptic drugs can do this
In my opinion, if a dog has seizures more often than twice a month, that’s too much for his quality of life and yours! I usually recommend starting with an anticonvulsant in this case. But as someone who lives with and loves a dog, you can and should be the ultimate judge of when enough is enough and it’s time to start.
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There are several different types of anticonvulsants available to dogs. Zonisamide has become the most popular because it works well with minimal side effects. Phenobarbital, potassium bromide, and levetiracetam (Keppra) are other medications your veterinarian can discuss with you.
Some dogs may need more than one medication to treat seizures. Levetiracetam is often used as a second drug. It is short-acting, which means it needs to be used three times a day. This can be difficult for dog owners. The extended release formula, KeppraXR, taken twice daily, is much simpler.
Some notes about Keppra XR: You cannot split or cut the pill as this destroys the extended release feature. There’s also a cool thing about this: you might see a pill in your dog’s poop, seemingly whole and undigested. Do not be afraid. It’s okay! Active drug inside an undigested tablet, has
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