Epilepsy in Dogs: Meaning, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Epilepsy, the word itself, brings shivers to anyone who might have encountered a loved one or acquaintance with the condition. Though a significant proportion of the population does not know about the situation, it’s a living nightmare for those diagnosed with it and their loved ones. Epilepsy occurs due to high electrical brain activity. It is similar to the fusing of a pole due to excessive current for some time.

Helplessly watching your furry companion undergo a seizure or conclusion is unquestionably not easy. Watching them lose their senses and shuddering involuntarily certainly writhes one’s insides. It is a rare problem affecting 0.5% to 5.7% of the dog population, and any dog can suffer from this condition, but some dogs are prone to them on a larger scale, namely:

  • Beagles
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Keeshonds
  • Hungarian Vizslas
  • Belgian Tervurens

The most common symptoms of Epilepsy in dogs are loss of consciousness while suddenly falling on the ground while waddling legs, drooling, peeing, or pooping. Usually, seizures last anywhere between 30-90 seconds. They are harmless in most cases, being quite very opposite to their scary demeanour. Still, any seizure lasting for more than 5 minutes is life-threatening and needs emergency vet assistance, as it may lead to permanent brain damage or even death.

Epilepsy is a chronic and terrifying condition to witness, yes, but with proper care and treatment, your furry buddy can live a healthy life. 

The first step is to understand the condition of your pet- whether it is genetic or acquired.

  • Epilepsy can be idiopathic: This condition is inherited from parents, but the root cause is still unexplained. Genetic Epilepsy is also called idiopathic Epilepsy or Primary Epilepsy. 
  • Symptomatic Epilepsy: It occurs due to different environmental factors or problems like tumours, liver, or kidney problems.

Sometimes, Epilepsy can get misdiagnosed with conditions like Severe anaemia, Brain tumour, Head injury, Electrolyte imbalance, or Lead Poisoning.

The next step is to make sure that your dog starts the medicines as soon as possible because 7 out of 10 dogs no longer get seizures due to the medication and can live everyday life. Unfortunately, the remaining get them regularly- so different treatments and combinations have to be tried. Some dogs are lucky enough to get completely rid of seizures. That is seizure remission.

Following are the available treatments:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Valium
  • Potassium Bromide
  • Clorazepate dipotassium
  • Felbamate
  • Levetiracetam
  • Zonisamide
  • Propofol
  • Diazepam
  • Topiramate
  • Primidone
  • Neurosyn Tablets
  • K-Bro Vet Chewable Tablets
  • K-Bro Vet Oral Solution
  • PrimiTabs
  • CBD oil

Sometimes following the keto diet and making dietary changes can cause seizures to stop. However, it all depends on a hit and trial method because the brain is a twisted organ.

Always make sure that you remove materials away from the dog that can potentially harm them during a seizure. Keep your calm, and don’t place your hand near their mouth as they can unintentionally bite you hard. Keep in mind that your dog is not depressed or stressed as it can trigger seizures. Maintain a journal for your dog’s seizures. Make lifestyle changes for your dog, don’t skip medicines for them, and take care of your dog. All these can help your dog live a long and healthy life.