May 05, 2020

Watching your dog have a seizure can be an incredibly frightening experience, especially if they have never had one before. There are a number of reasons they might be having a seizure, which will determine the right treatment/prevention options you consider to avoid any more.

What does a seizure look like in a dog?

There are three different types of seizures that dogs experience, each with their own identifiable characteristics:

  • Grand mal seizure

This is the most common form of seizure, and perhaps is the easiest to recognize. This is when they lose consciousness and their entire body goes stiff, or their body may alternate between stiffness and involuntary muscle contractions.

  • Focal/partial motor seizures

These are when your dog only experiences a loss of control in one part of their body, and they may or may not lose consciousness.

  • Psychomotor seizures

This form of seizure appears as disturbed behavior. Dogs may experience some kind of hallucination that can completely shift their consciousness and behavior. In many cases, dogs become excessively violent and aggressive, even when it is not in their nature.

Many dogs will display signs that indicate they are about to have a seizure. These signs may include appearing scared, stressed, uncontrollable urinating or bowel movements, or an uncontrolled spasming or contraction of muscles. Understanding that these symptoms may indicate an oncoming seizure allows you to get your dog into a safe space, where they are less likely to harm themselves.

Most seizures only last a couple of minutes and a single seizure is unlikely to cause long-term problems. Seizures only become a serious health problem if your dog experiences many seizures close together, or if a seizure lasts for an extended period of time. Most people choose to take their dog to the vet after their first seizure in order to understand the cause, but medical treatment may not be required.

 What causes seizures in dogs?

Seizures are due to an excessive amount of electrical activity in the brain. Understanding what is causing the unusual activity is necessary in order to provide the appropriate care for your dog and to prevent future seizures where possible. In some cases, seizures in dogs are often caused by exposure to poison or toxins. Your pet may have come into contact with a type of household cleaning product that is not safe for dogs, or they may have been exposed to pollution. Even some flea collars can be harmful to dogs, resulting in seizures. In other cases, seizures can be caused by a brain tumor or epilepsy. It is possible that the cause of your dog's seizures are unknown, a condition that is referred to as idiopathic epilepsy.

Can seizures be prevented?

Future seizures caused by your dog ingesting poison or toxins can be prevented, by removing these harmful chemicals from your pet’s environment. If your dog is experiencing seizures that are caused by some form of brain tumor, it may also be possible for your dog to undergo surgery to remove the tumor, which may prevent further episodes.

Unfortunately, if your dog has epilepsy, there is no cure for this. It may be possible to reduce the number of seizures your dog suffers from various forms of medication, depending on the type of epilepsy they have. You can discuss treatment options with your vet, in order to determine what is best for your dog.

Hemp extract is widely used as an alternative medicine for treating both humans and pets. Please consult you doctor prior to administering any pet hemp extract to you dogs.