Sydney takes her naps right next to me on the sofa. She snores (it’s cute), she farts (this startles her, she is a Princess you know), and sometimes she chases rabbits. But being a pet blogger, I’m aware of canine seizures or canine epilepsy (repeated seizures); so I watch Sydney sleep and I wonder if she’s dreaming or if this is more.
Seizures in dogs and cats are abnormal brain activity. They can be very subtle or they can cause violent convulsions. Seizures occur when nerve cells (neurons) in the brain malfunction and become excited, firing without control. Most cat and dog seizures occur at night or when they are resting. Seizures can occur once and never occur again—for example because of heatstroke or fever—or they can occur repeatedly. Repeated seizures are called epilepsy. Unfortunately, if seizures are not treated, they occur more frequently and with more force because increasingly larger areas of the brain become affected.
For more information on seizures and epilepsy, visit 1-800-PetMeds.
What surprised me when I was reading where the things that can lead to canine seizures. I always thought they were brought about by a malformation in the brain; some type of inherited condition our dogs picked up from their sires. Instead, the following can lead to seizures (and if those seizures are left untreated, our dogs health is at risk).
More from 1-800-PetMeds…
This is a list of things that can lead to canine seizures. The items on the list that are related to extreme health conditions, like Cushing’s Disease or kidney failure make sense, but low blood sugar and heat stroke surprised me.
- Overheating – infection, heatstroke
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) – Insulin overdose, pancreatic tumor (insulinoma), liver failure, malnutrition
- Poisons and toxins – Lead, organophosphates, ethylene glycol
- Medications – Insulin, sudden withdrawal of anti-seizure medications
- Kidney failure – Nephrotic syndrome
- Liver failure or malfunction – Portosystemic shunt, liver cirrhosis
- Hypothyroidism – Genetic, immune-mediated
- Cushing’s Disease – Genetic, steroid drugs
- High blood lipids (hyperlipidemia) – Hypothyroidism
- Abnormal levels of electrolytes and other elements in the blood, such as sodium, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – Milk fever, eclampsia, fluid therapy, malnutrition, thiamine-binding toxic plants
- High blood pressure – Kidney disease, Cushing’s Disease, adrenal tumor (phaeochromocytoma)
- Lack of oxygen – Dogs with short noses and thick throats, such as Bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds, have difficulty getting air while sleeping or when recovering from anesthetic
And I learned that canine seizures don’t always present convulsions.
Our dogs are huge, happy and healthy. Because of this, I often forget how small and vulnerable they are and that I need to take care of them. Sydney doesn’t suffer from canine seizures, but I find it interesting that she could be at risk after a long walk, on a hot day, with little rest or water.
Does your dog suffer from canine seizures? How were they diagnosed? How do they present? What do you do now?