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Is My Dog Having a Seizure? What to Do If It Happens

Is My Dog Having a Seizure? What to Do If It Happens

Witnessing Your Furry Friend’s First Seizure

Imagine this: You’re happily playing fetch with your beloved pup, when suddenly, they collapse to the ground, their body stiffening and convulsing uncontrollably. It’s a harrowing sight that no dog owner ever wants to witness. My heart was racing the first time I saw my Labrador, Buddy, having a seizure. I felt so helpless, not knowing what to do. But thanks to the wealth of information available, I’ve learned a lot about canine seizures and how to handle them.

Understanding the Causes and Types of Seizures

As it turns out, seizures in dogs can have a variety of underlying causes. According to the AKC Canine Health Foundation, “Anything that irritates or damages brain cells can cause a seizure. This includes toxins, imbalances in blood chemistry, infections, or direct trauma.” Even something as simple as a trip to the vet can trigger a seizure in an anxious pup.

Seizures can manifest in different ways, too. There are the classic “grand mal” seizures, where the dog loses consciousness and their entire body convulses. But there are also more subtle “partial” or “psychomotor” seizures, which may just involve a brief limb twitch or strange behavior like air-biting or tail-chasing. WebMD explains that these types of seizures “can be tricky to tell…from odd behavior, but a dog that has them will always do the same thing every time they have a seizure.”

What to Do During and After a Seizure

When Buddy had his first seizure, I’ll admit I panicked a bit. But thanks to the helpful advice I found online, I was able to keep my cool and support him through it. The key is to remain calm and avoid putting yourself or your pup in harm’s way.

As the American Kennel Club recommends, don’t try to restrain your dog or put anything in their mouth – they won’t swallow their tongue, and you could get bitten. Instead, gently move them away from any furniture or stairs that could cause injury. Talk to them soothingly and avoid touching them, as they may lash out unintentionally.

Once the seizure has passed, your dog may be disoriented, wobbly, or even temporarily blind. Veterinary Emergency Group advises letting them rest and slowly rehydrate, but not allowing them to eat or drink right away. Monitor their temperature, too, as seizures can cause it to spike dangerously. A cool damp cloth on their feet can help bring it down.

When to Seek Veterinary Care

If a seizure lasts more than a couple of minutes or your dog has multiple seizures in quick succession, that’s an emergency. According to the experts, “The longer a seizure goes on, the more likely it is that the dog’s body temperature go up. Increased temperature may damage the dog’s brain.”

In these cases, you’ll want to get your pup to the vet as soon as possible. They can administer medication to stop the seizure and run tests to determine the underlying cause. Even if the seizure is relatively short-lived, it’s still a good idea to have your vet check things out, as they may want to start your dog on anti-seizure medication or make other treatment recommendations.

Preventing and Managing Seizures

While there’s not always a way to prevent seizures entirely, there are steps you can take to reduce their frequency and severity. For dogs with a diagnosed seizure disorder, like epilepsy, strict adherence to their medication schedule is crucial. And if there are certain triggers that seem to bring on your dog’s seizures, it’s best to avoid those situations when possible.

Participating in canine health research can also make a big difference. The AKC Canine Health Foundation is always in need of samples and data from both healthy dogs and those affected by conditions like seizures. By contributing, you’re helping advance our understanding of these neurological disorders and how best to treat them.

Ultimately, the more you know about seizures in dogs, the better equipped you’ll be to handle them. And with the right veterinary care and management techniques, your furry friend can live a happy, healthy life, free from the fear of unpredictable seizures. So, if you ever find yourself in my shoes, witnessing your pup’s first seizure, remember to stay calm and follow the expert advice. Your beloved companion is counting on you.

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