Attacks of epilepsy in a dog: symptoms, causes, treatment


In the article I will talk about epilepsy in dogs. I will describe the types of seizures and causes, how they are diagnosed and treated, how to care for sick animals. I will explain what to do during an epileptic seizure in a pet and how to stop it. I will describe the possible consequences. I will cite the risk groups for the occurrence of epilepsy, symptoms and signs.

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disease characterized by a dog's susceptibility to sudden uncontrolled onset of seizures.

Acquired anomalies of the functioning of the CNS

The reasons may be:

  • Infections affecting NA,
  • intoxication of the body,
  • head injuries,
  • electric shock
  • unbalanced nutrition (lack of certain elements),
  • poisonous insect bites,
  • disruption of the hormonal system
  • helminthiasis,
  • low blood glucose concentration
  • tumor neoplasms in brain structures.
Epilepsy is a consequence of a neurological disorder that occurs in the brain of an animal.

To provoke an epileptic seizure in a sick animal can:

  • severe stress
  • sudden harsh noise or flashes of light
  • overwork,
  • a sharp failure of the hormonal background,
  • strong emotions (fear, joy).

In the second case (minor seizure or absans), the animal may not turn off or fall to the floor. Loss of consciousness is short-lived, cramps occur only in the limbs. Pet quickly comes to life. The first case will be described in more detail later in the article.

Symptoms and signs

Epilepsy is diagnosed on the basis of characteristic symptoms and laboratory tests. It happens true and false (similar). A true attack of epilepsy takes place in several stages:

  1. The appearance of seizure harbingers. The animal looks confused or frightened. Tries to hide, find a secluded place. Avoids noise and bright light. Whines or howls. Salivation increases.
  2. Fit Pet falls to the floor, faints. The whole body is tense, the head is thrown back, the pupils dilate, seizures occur (twitching of the head and limbs). Pet loudly and often breathes. Involuntary urination or bowel movement is possible. Foam is emitted from the mouth, the animal may bite its tongue.
  3. Postictal stage. The animal regains consciousness. Looks confused. Possible disorientation in space and the host does not recognize. Increased salivation. The dog may wander around the shelter for some time without finding a place.
Due to changes in neurological cells, uncontrolled, not peculiar to animals


Diagnosis of the disease in the veterinary clinic includes:

  • history taking,
  • blood test,
  • Analysis of urine,
  • stool analysis
  • Ultrasound,
  • x-ray
  • electroencephalogram,
  • analysis of cerebrospinal fluid is possible,
  • study of heredity.

And prescribe further treatment of the root causes. Idiopathic epilepsy in an animal

Seizures similar to convulsions (narcolepsy)

What to do during an epileptic seizure

When an epileptic seizure occurs, the host should:

  1. Calm down to provide normal assistance to your pet.
  2. Exclude weight provocateurs seizure. Turn off the sounds, light, do not touch the dog. Any irritating stimuli can prolong the seizure and worsen the condition of the animal.
  3. Move away from the pet all items, which he can hit during convulsions, to avoid injuries and strong painful stimuli.
  4. Open the window and allow access to cool fresh air,
  5. Carefully examine the pet attack (record the duration, posture and movement) and retell to the veterinarian at the reception.

An attack in a dog can begin and last up to half an hour.

If the duration of the seizure was a few minutes, you need to give the dog time to recover (completely come back to its normal state), and only then take it to the doctor.

In the case of diagnosis of epilepsy, a specialist will prescribe a competent treatment and write out medications for the relief of subsequent attacks. Explain how to properly and quickly deal with such situations at home.

Do not touch the mouth of the animal and do not try to get the tongue - the pet does not control itself and may bite you

The consequences and life expectancy of a dog

Ending the cure of epilepsy is currently impossible. Therapy is prescribed to relieve and prevent further attacks.

With proper treatment, it is possible to significantly improve the condition of the pet and reduce the occurrence of seizures to a minimum.

In case of illness, sedative and anticonvulsant veterinary drugs are prescribed by veterinarians: diazepam, phenytoin, primidone tablets, phenobarbital, tazepam, sodium bromide, hexamidine.

Each tool has a large number of side effects and may cause irreparable harm to the health of the animal.

Epilepsy is not a fatal disease! But if the pet does not help, the dog may die. With the improvement of the quality of existence of a pet and proper treatment, the dog will live a long full life.

Epilepsy cannot be cured forever, but with the help of drugs it is really possible to minimize the risk of developing seizures.

Home treatment rules

Treatment of a sick dog is prescribed by a veterinarian based on the causes of the disease and severity. To treat, medication veterinary drugs, appropriate diet and life regimen are necessarily prescribed. Epilepsy cannot be cured.

The animal does not require special care. The only thing that the owner needs to pay attention to is to establish a positive, even stable emotional state in the pet.


Prevention of attacks in a sick dog is:

  • stabilization of the emotional sphere. It is necessary to limit the pet from shocks, stresses and overwork (participation in exhibitions and competitions of dogs with epilepsy is unacceptable!),
  • prolonged walking, suitable physical activity,
  • treatment with medication according to the prescribed by a veterinarian scheme,
  • improving the quality of food on the recommended diet.

In the article, I talked about epilepsy in dogs. She described the types of seizures and causes, how they are diagnosed and treated, how to care for sick animals. Explained what to do during an epileptic seizure in a pet. Led risk groups for the occurrence of epilepsy.

Dogs most prone to epilepsy

According to statistics, most often epileptic seizures suffer dachshunds, German and Belgian shepherds, golden retrievers, boxers, poodles, cocker spaniels, hounds, miniature schnauzers, collie, Siberian huskies, labradors, Irish setters and curcy terriers.

If the pet does not belong to one of these breeds, it does not mean that he definitely will not have this disease. Any dog ​​may suffer from epilepsy.

Most often, the first epileptic seizures in dogs occur even before the year. But not always. Older animals may also suffer from this disease.

Primary epilepsy

Congenital, or primary epilepsy, can occur in a pet from six months to five years. The main symptoms of the disease are tonic-clonic convulsions, accompanied by saliva flow, involuntary urination, loss of consciousness. Attack lasts a few minutes. After him, the dog has a lack of coordination, dull attention and a change in behavior.

As a rule, the attacks of such epilepsy are repeated once every 3-4 weeks. Between them, the dog feels great.

Primary epilepsy is caused by heredity. Spaniels, Boxers, Schnauzers, Fox Terriers, Saint Bernards, Siberian Huskies, and Collies are most commonly affected.

Secondary epilepsy

This epilepsy is caused by a pet's illness or injury. Such effects include poisoning with toxic substances or heavy metals, electric shock, bites of poisonous reptiles, past infectious diseases (plague or encephalitis), intestinal parasites, overstrain of the nervous system or brain injury. Improper nutrition can also play a role in making this diagnosis.

Epilepsy Diseases

Dogs have epilepsy for many reasons. This disease can be inherited. If the dog has a genetic predisposition to the disease, the percentage of seizure probability is very high.

Another factor in the occurrence of the disease are disorders that occur during the intrauterine development of the pet. Often this disorder becomes dropsy of the brain.

Idiopathic epilepsy affects dogs between the ages of 1 and 3 years. It occurs when the number of neurotransmitters in the tissues is much less than the norm. Nerve impulses often do not reach their goal, they accumulate, which leads to a strong overstrain of the nervous system.

Seizures of epilepsy can occur in dogs older than 4 years. The cause of their occurrence are neoplasms in the brain, metastases or metabolic disorders.

Transmitted infectious diseases can also give impetus to the development of the disease. Such diseases include plague carnivores and encephalitis.

Hypocalcemia and hypoglycemia, even impaired glycoprotein metabolism can lead to epileptic seizures.

Diseases of the cardiovascular system, arrhythmia, kidney and liver failure are all factors that can lead to epilepsy in a dog.

The presence of helminths in the pet's body can also trigger seizures, especially if it has a predisposition to the disease. In the course of their vital activity, helminths release toxins that negatively affect the animal's nervous system.

External factors that can trigger the development of the disease

Conducive to the emergence of diseases such as epilepsy in dogs, the causes may be very different. About some owners of four-legged friends do not even suspect.

Even improper diet can lead to the development of the disease. First of all, it is imperative to properly and balancedly feed a pet, so that it receives all the macro-and microelements, vitamins and minerals it needs. You should make sure that the dog ate as much as you need, you should not allow the pet to be overfeeding. Do not feed him as well. Feed must be of high quality.

An excessive load on a pet can lead to the development of the disease, not only physical, but also nervous.

The dog may be poisoned by toxins, heavy metals or chemicals. Most often, seizures begin after substances like strychnines and organophosphates.

Injury to the epilepsy can also lead to brain damage. These include strong blows to the head, injuries during childbirth, and improper handling of the puppy.

Epilepsy attacks can occur due to electric shock to the dog. If the pet is bitten by insects or snakes, whose poison affects the nervous system, it can also lead to illness.

Types of epileptic seizures

Seizures of epilepsy in a dog can be of four different types, which are important for all owners of four-legged friends to know.

  • Pet loses consciousness. There are no cramps at all, or they are very weak.
  • Generalized motor tonic-clonic convulsions. As a rule, they spread throughout the body, and the animal may even lose consciousness.
  • Focal motor cramps. They can be with or without generalization. In this case, the convulsion occurs in one area of ​​the body, and then moves to the next. Not always cramp covers the entire body of the pet.
  • Partial complex seizures. One of the main symptoms of this type is a change in pet behavior. Unusual behavior is noted. Most animals begin to catch insects in the air. This type of seizure can occur with or without seizures at all, or it can cover the entire body of the pet.

Symptoms of epilepsy

It is important to correctly identify an epileptic seizure and not to confuse it with ordinary convulsions, as they do not always talk about this disease.

Often convulsions are signs of some kind of disease. Having correctly diagnosed and cured a pet, the owners will relieve him of involuntary muscle contractions.

Independent diagnosis is not recommended. For this purpose, it is better to contact a veterinary clinic to a specialist. So, how does epilepsy occur in dogs? Symptoms that tell about it are as follows:

  • Anxiety. A pet may begin to whine, will run around in search of shelter or try to hide in a quiet place. It is worth paying attention to salivation. It will be increased.
  • Further convulsions will follow. Almost always, they are accompanied by emptying of the bladder and intestines. Often, due to cramps, a pet may bite its tongue or cheek, which will whimper or squeal.
  • Then the cramps go away, but the salivation remains elevated, sometimes the saliva may even foam. The dog may be depressed or too agitated.

The first signs of epilepsy in dogs are twitching of the muscles of the muzzle. Gradually cramps spread to the whole body. Pet may lose consciousness. Often there is an increase in body temperature. The paws of the animal are constantly in motion, the jaws are tightly closed, the head is thrown back, its eyes are rolled, and the pupils are greatly dilated. The dog's breathing at this moment is noisy and very heavy.

Most often attacks of the disease occur at night and morning. Owners with experience who know what epilepsy is in dogs, the symptoms of an approaching attack can predict long before it occurs. The dog becomes lethargic, she is shaken, and she also tries to retire.

We treat epilepsy

It should be remembered that if epilepsy is detected by the symptoms of a pet, the treatment in dogs is not the same as in humans. Drugs that are prescribed to humans, have a toxic effect on animals, it is dangerous to give them to a pet.

First you need to urgently contact a specialist. Only a veterinarian can correctly determine the presence of such a disease as epilepsy in dogs (the symptoms and treatment of which we describe in detail in our review). After examining the animal, he will prescribe the required anticonvulsant drugs.

At the vet

When dog breeders are faced with the phenomenon of "epilepsy" in dogs, treatment, how to stop the attacks - these are the main issues that interest them. But self-healing is dangerous. You need to immediately contact a veterinarian.

All medicines are selected individually. First you need to make anamnesis.

The veterinarian should know the breed of the dog, its gender and age, all vaccinations, as well as the symptoms of the disease. It is important to indicate what kind of seizures were, exactly when it happened.

The owner should remember as precisely as possible exactly when the attacks occur. Perhaps they are preceded by feeding, walking, or some other stimulus. The doctor needs to know if the pet is sick. He may have suffered an infectious, fungal, or parasitic disease. It is necessary to indicate whether the animal was treated and how.

After collecting anamnesis, a complete pet examination is scheduled. Also, the veterinarian may order a skull examination to find out if there were head injuries and examination of the muscles for the presence of areas with atrophy.

The doctor carefully examines the animal's reflexes, his eyesight and the pupils themselves, examines the cranial nerves and tactile sensations. Blood and urine tests are prescribed, sometimes MRI and x-rays of the skull are done.

After carrying out all the procedures and confirming the diagnosis of "epilepsy" in dogs, treatment is prescribed individually. The doctor prescribes medications, determines their dosage and frequency of use, explains how to give your pet first aid for convulsions. He also gives advice on the normalization of animal nutrition.

Drugs that are prescribed by veterinarians for primary epilepsy in a dog are anticonvulsants. The most popular are several drugs:

"Fentonin". It is highly effective and has no side effects. But the drug is removed from the body quickly, causing thirst and, as a result, frequent urination.

"Phenobarbital". Also highly effective and fast-acting medication. Of the minuses: enhanced diuretic action, causes thirst, increases the irritability of the pet.

"Primidon". High-performance, fast-acting medication that also causes thirst and appetite in dogs. Available in pill form only.

"Diazepam". Fast acting without side effects. The action of the drug in the short term. Enhances the irritability and nervousness of the animal.

If no type of medication helps, veterinarians usually prescribe phenobarbital with sodium or potassium bromide.

Если наличествует такое заболевание, как эпилепсия, у собак (симптомы и лечение мы подобно описали), владельцам следует помнить: болезнь эта неизлечима, препараты и их дозировка не всегда могут помочь с первого раза. Важно, чтобы питомец был полностью обследован. Only in this case, the veterinarian will be able to choose the most effective medicine.

Attack. What to do?

During an attack, it is advisable to hold the head, turn it on its side so that the pet does not choke with its saliva. Sometimes the animal does not turn its head. In this case, it is better to leave everything as it is and just follow.

No need to try to hold the tongue or open the mouth with your hands or any object. It is still impossible to open the jaws, and the language will not fall down anyway.

Also, it is not necessary at the time of the attack to try to give the pet medicine or drink it.

It is advisable to put the pet's head on a soft bed. You can, of course, try to put his head on his knees, but there is a possibility that the animal will just bite the owner.

Make sure that there are no objects nearby that a pet may get hurt in convulsions. Provide fresh air by opening a window or vent.

Also at the time of attack in the room should not be children and other animals.

If the attack lasts half an hour or is accompanied by an increase in temperature, you should take the pet to the veterinary clinic. To transport the animal must be wrapped in a blanket. Or you can call the doctor at home.

The dog after an attack of epilepsy needs solitude, provide it complete rest.


The causes of this disease can be many, and both congenital and acquired. Do not be afraid if epilepsy is diagnosed in dogs. Treatment, how to stop the seizures, what to do next and how to help your pet - all of these questions can be answered with the vet.

It is required to fully examine the pet, decide on the right medications and watch him. Over time, the owner will be able to see signs of approaching seizures and in time give the necessary medicines to the pet, thereby saving him from suffering.

What is epilepsy

The manifestation in the dog of individual and epilepsy-specific seizures is caused by the presence of specific reactions of the living organism to the processes occurring in it. According to modern veterinary concepts, epilepsy can be attributed to heterogeneous groups of pathologies, the clinical manifestations of which are characterized by repeated convulsive seizures. The basis of the pathogenesis of epilepsy is represented by paroxysmal discharges arising in the neural cells of the brain..

It is interesting! Recurrent paroxysmal states of various genesis, including mood and consciousness disorders, as well as the development of epileptic dementia and psychosis, accompanied by fear, longing and aggressiveness are typical for neurological diseases.

If there is a proven connection between the occurrence of epileptic seizures and pathology of somatic origin, a diagnosis of symptomatic epilepsy is established. Veterinary practice shows that some cases of seizures can be complicated by the course of the disease of somatic or neurological origin, as well as brain injuries.

Congenital defects in cerebral functioning are most often the cause of primary epilepsy in dogs, and hereditary predisposition to the disease makes the pathology quite common in some breeds, including shepherd and collie, setters and retrievers, St. Bernards and hounds, dachshunds and poodles, boxers, and schnauzers and terriers. Bitches suffer from epilepsy more often than males, and the risk of developing pathology is higher in a neutered or sterilized dog.

Factors provoking the development of secondary epilepsy can be represented by:

  • infections: encephalitis, tetanus and plague,
  • toxic effects of lead, arsenic and strychnine,
  • head injuries,
  • electric shock,
  • bites of poisonous snakes,
  • exposure to insect venom,
  • lack of some trace elements or vitamins,
  • low glucose concentration
  • hormonal disorders
  • helminthiasis.

Cellular brain damage can be caused even by a short-term malnutrition or a minor injury during the prenatal development of the animal.

Congenital epilepsy is primarily manifested, usually at the age of half a year, and seizures of acquired pathology occur under the negative influence of external factors, regardless of the age characteristics of the pet. The neurological basis of pathology can be considered from the point of view of violations of the processes of inhibition and excitation in brain tissues.

It is interesting! The appearance of an epileptic seizure is most often provoked by adverse effects, represented by a stressful condition, fatigue or overwork, very strong emotional factors and a failure of the hormonal background.

Nervous irritation can cause excessive salivation, increased intestinal peristalsis and gastric motility, failure in the functioning of other organs or systems. At the time of intense discharge, nerve cells spend considerable amounts of food and neurotransmitters, which quickly provokes their oppression and weakening of standard brain activity.

First aid for epilepsy

If you suspect an epileptic seizure, your pet will need to ensure complete rest, removing all irritating and stress-provoking factors. According to veterinarians, it is advisable to place the diseased animal in a dark and quiet room. In order to minimize the risk of severe injuries to the dog in the process of convulsive movements, it is advisable to place a soft litter or a small mattress under it. A good result as first aid is provided by active ventilation with the influx of fresh air into the room, as well as careful wetting of the animal's skin with water at room temperature.

A history of epileptic status will require increased attention from the pet owner. As a rule, the attack stops after about half an hour, but if the convulsive state lasts longer, then the dog must be provided with qualified veterinary care in a specialized clinic.

The duration of the attack and its severity indicators are directly dependent on how competently first aid will be provided and all the drugs prescribed by the veterinarian used to relieve a convulsive condition as effectively as possible are used. To transport to the clinic a tossing and restless animal during an attack is best on a large blanket.

It is interesting! When confirming the diagnosis, a dog's owner with epilepsy in history may need to master the independent intramuscular administration of anticonvulsant drugs and the provision of other measures adequate to the severity of the disease.

Danger to humans

Epilepsy is a non-contact disease, and a fairly widespread opinion that after each attack, dying brain cells make the dog dangerous for people and inadequate, is unsubstantiated. Epileptic seizures in a dog are no less dangerous than a similar pathology that develops in humans.

Along with any other chronic ailments, epilepsy will require the administration of effective medication to the dog, since the lack of proper therapy can cause serious consequences.

Epilepsy seizures in dogs - pathogenesis

Epilepsy is a disease caused by a violation of the interneuronal connections in the brain, in the overwhelming majority of cases characterized by the appearance of regular seizures in an animal.

The nature of the symptoms of epilepsy is poorly understood to date, not only in dogs and other animals, but also in humans. However, the main hypothesis, describing the occurrence of uncoordinated spontaneous contractions of individual muscle groups and other signs, explains the pathological process by the inconsistent appearance and transmission of impulses between the nerve cells of the brain. As we noted above, the exact mechanisms of this phenomenon have not been studied sufficiently. Perhaps some substances that regulate the correct transmission of impulses, called neurotransmitters, are in inappropriate chemical balance, so the nerve cells behave uncoordinated. Moreover, this phenomenon does not appear constantly, but, as a rule, regularly. Therefore, one of the specific signs of epilepsy in dogs is the frequency of seizures.

It is worth noting that when a dog has seizures that are similar to epilepsy for the first time, and later this diagnosis will be confirmed, the animal will demonstrate periodic manifestations of seizures. With all other conditions, these attacks will increase in frequency and increase with time.

Epilepsy usually begins in dogs between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. The most difficult age period is 2-3 years. Further symptoms remain for the rest of his life.

In addition, it is worth noting that there is such a thing as idiopathic epilepsy in dogs. For the manifestation of the first episodes of the disease, a cause is needed - a push that will provoke the first convulsions. Such a push in the process of observing a dog can be detected, however, in most cases, such a trigger cannot be found out. In this case, epilepsy in a dog is considered idiopathic.

“Why does epilepsy occur in dogs?” - causes of illness

When an animal complains of the owner about the appearance of periodic convulsions for the first time to be examined, the main task of the veterinarian will be to determine the cause of epilepsy in dogs, so that the treatment can be tried to rule out or at least muffle it. Only such an approach to the treatment of this complex disease can relieve the dog of suffering most effectively. If only symptomatic therapy is carried out, as, for example, in the case of idiopathic epilepsy in dogs, the seizures will be repeated in any case, and the dosages of anticonvulsant drugs will have to be increased.

What triggers an epileptic seizure?

As you know, epilepsy is characterized by periodic manifestations of attacks. What specific circumstances stimulate the manifestation of each subsequent attack is also not yet known, but many dogs show a tendency to seizures during periods of excitability.

Often, owners report that seizures in their dogs often occur while playing a ball, chasing a cat or at another moment of the most active physical and emotional activity. It should be noted that in dogs of small breeds, the symptoms of epilepsy occur at the time of the greatest manifestation of affection and attention to their owners, for example, when they meet at the end of the working day. The Pekingese and Toy Terrier breeds are mentioned especially often in this case.

There are cases of manifestation of the disease during sleep dogs. Twitching with paws and chewing movements of the lower jaw during a seizure in a sleeping dog resemble a situation when the animal has a dream. However, healthy sleep from an epileptic seizure is distinguished by the impossibility of waking the dog.

"A dog has seizures similar to epilepsy" - how to distinguish symptoms

When we talked about the causes of convulsions in dogs, we indicated that seizures, similar to epilepsy, can occur in various diseases and pathological conditions that are not directly related to epilepsy. However, at the first convulsive manifestations, the worried owners begin to believe that their pet has an epileptic disease.

Other owners, on the contrary - for various reasons, do not notice the appearance of attacks, and for a long time. Such a paradox occurs, not because they are bad pet owners. Epilepsy, both primary and secondary, has several types of clinical manifestations, which are characterized by varying degrees of complexity.

So that our readers can properly see epilepsy in dogs, in order to further stop the attacks with the help of effective treatment, let us present the most common types of attacks with a description of their external characteristics.

Generalized form, or how epilepsy is manifested in dogs in the most severe case.

With this type of attack, which is observed most often in true epilepsy, the course of symptoms passes in two successive stages:

  • Tonic stage. Characterized by a sudden loss of consciousness of the dog. The animal falls, stretches its paws and it is not possible to bend them with human forces. Often at this point breathing stops. The duration of the stage is no more than one minute.
  • Clonic stage. The dog is still unconscious, but repetitive monotonous contractions of the muscles of all four limbs begin, and the jaws often open and close. The eyes of the animal are completely closed or covered. Pupils are dilated and almost do not respond to light. Saliva flows from the oral cavity, involuntary acts of bowel and bladder emptying are observed.

Generalized form of epilepsy - most common in dogs.

Small attack

This form of epilepsy in dogs is sometimes called absans, by analogy with the same manifestation of an attack in humans. It is this form of disease in dogs that is extremely difficult to detect in view of the short duration and particularity of the symptoms. Within a few seconds there is a loss of consciousness, for which the dog does not even have time to fall if it is at rest. Muscles do not contract, and of the symptoms that can be noticed by the attentive owner, there is a meaningless, so to speak, look at one point with rounded eyes and a lack of response to external stimuli. The dog seems to freeze for a moment, as if someone had "paused" it. In some cases, as is well seen in the Pekingese and Bulldog, eyeballs can roll.

Partial or behavioral attack

This form of epilepsy received such a name for the specificity of symptoms that are limited by the behavior of the animal, characterized as strange and atypical:

  • The dog begins to smack his lips and gnash his teeth.
  • Frequent chewing contractions of the lower jaw muscles.
  • Irresistible aggression, even to their owners.
  • Whining and howl.
  • Constant attempts to hide from any attention from the outside world.
  • Loss of orientation in familiar places. One gets the feeling that the dog is here for the first time in his life.

In addition to behavioral reactions, signs of partial epilepsy in dogs are often accompanied by:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Spastic contractions of the abdominal muscles, which is accompanied by their tension and severe pain.
  • Increased thirst or appetite.
  • Temporary loss of vision.
  • Excessive salivation, which, along with the aggressive behavior of the dog, makes you think that the animal is infected with rabies.

Partial seizures of epilepsy in dogs, as a rule, occur after a generalized form of the disease and can last from several minutes to several hours.

Epilepsy in a Dog - Home Treatment

As we have already noted more than once, epilepsy in this species of animals is a rather serious condition that it is impossible to diagnose independently without experience and special means. Seizures in dogs, including loss of consciousness, as well as a number of common and partial symptoms, may indicate a huge number of very different pathologies, ranging from a lack of potassium in the body to the development of a cancerous tumor in the brain.

Therefore, when it comes to treating epilepsy in a dog at home, it should be understood that the diagnosis must be made correctly. In this case, in addition to receiving medications prescribed by a veterinarian, during attacks you can help your pet in some way. So, if a dog has an epilepsy attack, what should I do?

  • The attack can happen at any time, but the owners, knowing their dogs, can already approximately predict and prevent a situation that can provoke a disease. If this is not done, then at the moment of the manifestation of symptoms of epilepsy, silence should be observed around the animal. It must be remembered that loud and sudden sounds can strengthen and prolong the seizure.
  • In some cases, referring to a dog named after a dog can help him get out of the epileptic state.
  • During an attack, accompanied by a strong reduction of muscles, a large amount of heat accumulates in the body. As you know, dogs do not have sweat glands, and the process of removing heat through physiological amplification of breathing with the tongue hanging out for obvious reasons is impossible at the moment. To avoid overheating of the dog’s body, which is especially dangerous for long-haired breeds, much support can be provided by fanning the animal with a newspaper or by pointing a fan at it. You can also moisten the soles of the limbs and the belly with water at room temperature, but in no case - not icy.
  • If you stop the attacks of epilepsy in dogs, treatment at home does not work for more than 30 minutes, you should immediately contact the veterinary institution. The best option would be - call a doctor at home.
  • After a generalized form, a prolonged partial seizure is often observed. Помня об этом, животное лучше ограничить в передвижениях границами клети или комнаты. В противном случае собака может принести не только материальный ущерб, но и нанести вред своему здоровью.
  • В момент приступа, если в квартире содержатся другие собаки, их следует убрать подальше от страдающего животного. В противном случае они с большой долей вероятности нападут на него.
  • Hands and other parts of the body should be kept away from the dog's jaws. It must be remembered that at such times the dog itself is not the mistress. Moreover, if a person is able to swallow his tongue during an attack, then in dogs such a phenomenon has never met in veterinary practice.

In addition, it is very useful to keep a diary, where you should specify the time of occurrence of the next attack, its duration, as well as the possible causes that caused it. This could include any phenomenon that somehow touched an animal - diet change, vaccination, de-worming, too active play, contact with other animals, and so on. This information will not only help the owner to further prevent the occurrence of subsequent attacks, but also the veterinarian to prescribe a more effective drug treatment.

It should be noted that isolated and very rare epileptic seizures in dogs (1-2 times a year), as a rule, do not require treatment if the pathological process does not progress.

"How to treat epilepsy in dogs?" - the basic principles of therapy

If you find the main cause of attacks, the main treatment will be directed to its exclusion. In this case, it is possible to completely rid the dog of suffering. But this happens quite rarely, if only because such complex diagnostic methods as MRI or EEG are not used everywhere, and besides, they are expensive.

Whether the cause was found or whether the dog has idiopathic epilepsy, specific drugs will be prescribed in any case. Their task is to reduce the frequency, severity and duration of attacks.

Drugs that can stop epilepsy episodes in dogs during treatment are usually given in the form of oral forms. These can be tablets, capsules, dragees and not so often - solutions for internal use. This approach simplifies the treatment of epilepsy in dogs at home.

Each animal responds differently to medications. The veterinarian may need to try different types or combinations of drugs in order to find a scheme that will be more effective for a particular dog.

The drugs most commonly used to control epileptic seizures in veterinary medicine are phenobarbital and potassium bromide. These funds can be prescribed as monotherapy or in combination with each other. Medication should be taken daily at the same time. Failures in the schedule of admission and skipping can lead to more severe manifestations of the disease. The treatment will be for life.

Causes of epilepsy in dogs

When a dog has a seizure, the dog shakes. Understanding the cause of this disease is very difficult for the owner. The attack can be confused with other diseases, even with rabies. Throughout the history of medicine, the nature of this disease is very poorly understood. Scientists still can not completely overcome epilepsy. Even patients who have these symptoms have to experience periodic seizures for the rest of their lives. But what about pets?

The main conjecture about the disease, both in animals and humans, is the spontaneous transmission of nerve impulses. That is, electrical signals, instead of going to the desired area of ​​the brain, begin to randomly wander around the cerebral cortex.

This can cause seizures. But this is only speculation. Until now, no one can understand the conditions under which attacks begin. But the attacks are regular, spontaneous. Those. a seizure may occur at any time, but this happens after a while. Therefore, when a dog starts having seizures, it is necessary to remember how often they happen in order to be ready for the consequences and provide first aid.

When a pet begins to have seizures for the first time, and the diagnosis of epilepsy is confirmed, the seizures will increase and increase with time. Usually the most common age when the first symptoms begin is from 6 months to 5 years. But the 2nd and 3rd year of life in a puppy are considered the most difficult. The nature of the disease is still a mystery, the causes of epilepsy in dogs:

  • poisoning with metals or toxins
  • electric shock, as well as the bites of venomous reptiles, or insects,
  • infectious diseases, especially those that the dog suffered in severe form (distemper in a dog, protoplasmosis, toxoplasmosis),
  • parasitic creatures (helminths, intestinal parasites),
  • characteristic brain damage or the head as a whole,
  • kidney, liver,
  • stresses, nervous shocks, in general, any form of nervous system overload.

There is a concept - idiopathic epilepsy. This is a genetically engineered genome that manifests itself at the most unexpected moment. During the examination of the dog, this push can be detected, but these chances are very slim. It is considered idiopathic epilepsy.

Types of epilepsy

When the animal was first brought to the clinic, after the first attack of epilepsy in dogs. To do this, the doctor finds out the cause and type of the disease. Of course, it is impossible to completely cure a dog, but to relieve its suffering is real. But before prescribing treatment, the doctor finds out the symptoms of the disease.

Primary epilepsy - it is also called real or true epilepsy. This disease is transmitted by genes - it is impossible to cure the disease. A puppy who inherited the disease becomes vulnerable to frequent seizures. This is due to gene mutation. Epilepsy can be passed on, inherited.

Epilepsy in animals does not appear immediately after birth. There must be a period before the epilepsy takes effect. It usually manifests itself from 6 months to 5 years. Until favorable conditions are created for provoking the disease, the gene may be in rest at rest for a long time. As soon as epilepsy in dogs manifests, it will cause secondary epilepsy.

Secondary epilepsy can be congenital or acquired. But, if the exact cause of the disease is known for epilepsy in dogs, then there is a chance to get rid of seizures for good. That is, in order to get rid of epilepsy in a pet, you should know what caused the epilepsy and how to follow the pet's symptoms along the chain. That is, if the cause is considered to be plague, it is necessary to treat plague. If the problem is intoxication, then poisons should be removed from the body.

It is very difficult for a pedigreed dog to tolerate the disease, in whose blood there are no other impurities. Therefore, besides epilepsy, hypothyroidism (thyroid insufficiency) can be found in purebred breeds. Usually, if a dog has an epileptic seizure, it goes through three stages.

  1. Aura is a state when a pet starts to worry about something. Usually the dog starts to whine or wants to run away somewhere or hide from someone. During this stage, the dog begins to increase salivation.
  2. Ictal stage. At a dog convulsions begin. It shakes, it can involuntarily wet itself and defecate. This is obtained because the abdominal muscles are tense. A favorite can bite his cheek or tongue. He squeals, whines, shakes him.
  3. Poetic stage. The attack stops, but saliva still flows out of the mouth. Pet feels discomfort: either constantly depressed by something, or too excited.

Most often, the symptoms appear in the facial part, and then go to the whole body at once. Seizures are accompanied by loss of consciousness, fever (usually this symptom lasts from a minute to several hours), jerking of the paws, clenching, unclenching of the teeth, and drooping of the head. In this case, there is the following picture. The pupils of the animal are wide open, and the eyeballs roll back. Breathing loud, heavy.

What can trigger an epileptic seizure?

If the dog started to have epileptic seizures, you need to find out what can provoke these epilepsy attacks in dogs. But doctors believe that a specific action, as a result of which the pet has a "bell", does not exist. As there are cases when the seizures begin during the excited state of the animal (for example, playing ball or playing with other dogs).

There are cases when epilepsy arose from scratch - the dog quietly lay on the owner's hands, or the owner showed affection, attention, care. In this case, small breeds are most vulnerable. That is, large breeds are prone to seizures during active actions, while small dogs may begin to shake during some calm activities.

How to distinguish epileptic seizures from other types of seizures

As you know, epilepsy in dogs is caused by diseases where there are seizures, which very much resemble epilepsy, but are not. Therefore, it should be understood that the disease has its pitfalls. General symptoms can go deep, manifest themselves in the most unexpected forms.

The generalized form of epilepsy is the most severe and frequent case in dogs. In this case, the symptom passes in two stages.

  1. Tonic stage. The dog loses consciousness. The dog falls, stretches its paws, and the muscles contract to such an extent that they cannot be flexed manually. At that moment the breath may stop. Stage last at least a minute.
  2. Clonic stage. Continuing to be unconscious, the animal has involuntary reflexes, and in particular - repeated contraction of the muscles of 4 paws. And, despite the fact that the dog's eyes are closed completely, his jaws are constantly moving, as if he is missing something. The pupils are dilated and do not react to light, and saliva flows from the mouth. Pet, in this state, periodically empties its intestines.

Small attack, or as it is called absans. This symptom also occurs in humans. It is most difficult to detect because the signs of such behavior are very short-lived and sometimes do not appear more than 3 seconds. But during this time, the dog has time to faint, and a full indifference glance rushes to one point. These three seconds, the dog does not respond to external stimuli. Simply put, during an attack, the dog seems to be turned off.

Partial seizure is characterized by the fact that at a pet individual muscle groups begin to twitch involuntarily. This can occur in different parts of the body, and this stage can cause a generalized form of epilepsy. A partial or behavioral attack has a number of unique symptoms. The behavior of the animal becomes atypical and manifests itself in the following symptoms:

  • the dog smacks his lips and grinds his teeth
  • it manifests involuntary contractions of the muscles in the lower part of the mouth,
  • the dog begins to behave aggressively with everyone, even with its own owners,
  • the animal constantly howls and whines,
  • he is seeking refuge, trying to hide in the most secret corners of the house,
  • the dog begins to get lost in familiar places, i.e. he loses his orientation where he has already been more than once.

All these symptoms are accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • nausea and diarrhea
  • involuntary and very strong contraction of the abdominal muscles, which gives the dog a very strong pain,
  • the pet may have a very strong thirst and appetite,
  • the animal may temporarily go blind,
  • profuse salivation.

Often, excessive salivation along with aggressive behavior can be confused with rabies. Mixed seizures are symptoms that replace each other within a few minutes. Status epilepticus is a condition in which mixed seizures occur, but unlike previous symptoms, this condition lasts for about an hour.

How to treat a dog at home

The condition in which the pet has symptoms, it is very difficult. So what to do if a dog has an epilepsy attack at the most unexpected moment? These reasons can be anything. Therefore, at first it is necessary that the doctor made an accurate diagnosis, and then engaged in treatment.

  1. The most important point in the treatment of epilepsy is to avoid provocations towards the dog, which can cause a similar phenomenon. And since each pet has its own individual moment, then the owners must observe what external stimuli occur after seizures.
  2. There are cases when the dog starts to be called by name, or are distracted by some kind of individual signal - this can lead him out of the epileptic state.
  3. When the muscles begin to contract involuntarily - the body begins to emit a huge amount of heat. But the dogs have no sweat glands, and everything comes out through saliva. Therefore, so that the dog does not overheat, it is necessary either to fan the newspaper or send a direct stream of air. Helps the water, which moisten the limbs and the belly of the dog.
  4. If within half an hour the seizures do not stop, then you should immediately call the doctor's house.
  5. Often such that after a generalized form of epilepsy, an animal begins a partial stage. In this case, it would be advisable to limit the movement of the animal within certain limits.
  6. The dog should be limited from communication with other animals, especially with those who live next to a sick dog. Because in most cases, healthy animals attacked the sick beast.
  7. Hands, feet and other parts of the body should be kept away from the pet's teeth. Since one of the symptoms is involuntary muscle contraction, this can lead to very tragic consequences.

It is recommended to start a diary, where the days and time of the next attack will be indicated, as well as instructions, notes that indicate the probable causes of the attack.

Therapy for dogs with epileptic seizures

Therapy is prescribed by a veterinarian. And the dog’s treatment should be directed to complete healing from uncontrolled seizures. And for this, in the first place, prescribed medication. The task of drugs to alleviate the suffering of the pet and reduce the frequency of involuntary seizures. These can be drugs that inhibit the activity of the central nervous system, or reduce the frequency of seizures.

What to prescribe to a dog, it is necessary to consider individually. And without a vet here it is better not to experiment. Since all the necessary tests are taken at the veterinary clinic, studies are carried out and only after that treatment is prescribed.


Epilepsy in dogs is a disease that is very dangerous only because its nature is not fully revealed. But despite this treatment exists. The dog owner is the main thing to make a decision about how much he loves his pet and whether he is ready to fully support his pet and try any methods to heal him. After all, as they say, the easiest way to solve a problem is not the best.

Other pills from epilepsy for dogs

Also, for the treatment of epilepsy in dogs, more expensive drugs are used, such as felbamate, gabapentin, levetiracetam and the relatively new drug zonisamide. For rapid relief of a long-term attack, valium injections are most often used as emergency treatment.

At the end of the material, I would like to answer one frequently asked question: how long do dogs with epilepsy live? It is difficult to say something clearly, much depends on the cause of the disease, and, of course, on the progression of the pathology. As practice shows, in case the owner observes all recommendations of the attending physician, including timely taking medications and preventing situations that provoke an attack, dogs with epilepsy live long enough. In other words, in this case, the disease is not significantly affected by the life expectancy.

If our readers still have questions about treatment or other characteristics of epilepsy in dogs, as well as how to stop the attack, you can ask them in the comments to this article or in our official VKontakte group. Be attentive to your pets and do not get sick.