Seizures in dogs are the most common diseases affecting the nervous system, but there is nothing as disturbing as watching your dog having a seizure and feeling completely helpless.
Although there are many known causes of seizures in dogs, the most common cause remains unknown.
Dog seizures are due to abnormal electrical responses within the brain, that can result in a loss of consciousness and certain physical signs that can be associated with the seizure.
Most dog seizures usually last between 30 seconds to 2 to 3 minutes. Some dogs have been known to have one seizure all their lives, while others develop serious repeated dog seizures.
Seizures are an exhausting experience and most dogs will want to sleep afterwards so allow them a place to be quiet on their own.
Seizures in dogs can occur as a reaction to medication, allergies, toxins, distemper, or can be due to canine epilepsy.
Some other common causes are environmental toxins, from poisons to rotting garbage and plants.
If your dog is having a seizure, try to keep calm and make a note of all the details so that you may accurately describe it to your veterinarian. This will help him to diagnose the problem more easily.
Generalized Seizure: Tonic-clonic
The dog may fall and lose consciousness extending its legs rigidly, respiration may stop. This lasts around 10-30 seconds and is known as the tonic phase.
As the clonic stage begins, the dog may lose control of the bladder and bowels. Pupils become dilated and limbs begin a paddling motion. Chewing and salivation may also occur.
Partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy. Movements are restricted to one area of the body, such as muscle jerking, movement of one limb, turning the head or facial twitches.
Complex Partial Seizures
Complex partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy. They involve abnormal behaviours such as aggression, chewing, loud barking or howling, hysterical running, cowering or hiding. Diarrhoea, vomiting, salivation and excessive thirst or appetite, and back biting are also signs. The dog seems oblivious to his surroundings but usually does not lose consciousness. This type of seizure in dogs may last minutes or hours and can be followed by a generalized seizure.
Multiple seizures within a short period of time with only brief periods of consciousness in between. It can be difficult to distinguish between cluster seizures and status epilepticus but both should be treated as an emergency and a vet called immediately.
Seizures in dogs are very unlikely to be fatal, but they do put tremendous stress on the heart, lungs and circulation and when seizures occur in clusters, dogs are prone to developing status epilepticus, a condition characterized by continuous, uncontrollable seizure activity.
Status epilepticus is a neurological emergency which requires immediate intervention by a vet.
It's important to know that dogs do not swallow their tongues during seizures, so owners should never put their hands near a dog's mouth or they can be badly bitten.
Epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in the dog and is caused by abnormal and repetitive electrical activity in the brain neurons.
Epilepsy is not necessarily a long-term medical problem, although it is a challenging condition, but most affected animals can live a normal life with anti-epileptic drugs.
Types of epilepsy in dogs
Generalized seizures are usually associated with primary epilepsy.
Primary, or idiopathic, epilepsy, there is no known cause.
Partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy.
Secondary epilepsy refers to seizures for which a cause can be determined, and there are many
Complex partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy.
Treating Seizures and Epilepsy in Dogs
Early diagnosis and treatment are important in preventing the regularity of future seizures. Generally, conventional medicine for epilepsy is not prescribed unless the pet has at least one seizure per month, as the main aim of the treatment is to reduce, rather than to eliminate the frequency of seizures.
If seizure control does prove to be necessary the two most common medications used to treat seizures in dogs are Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide.
Many dogs live very normal lives despite epilepsy and seizures and some even participate in competition and serve as therapy dogs.
There are common chronic pet health problems that respond well to the more natural treatments.
Some seizures in dogs can be completely resolved with a home made natural balanced diet and there are several natural therapies to assist with epilepsy and seizures in dogs.
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* Supports the brain and nervous system in cats and dogs
* Maintains normal electrical balance in the brain
* Maintains stability and natural equilibrium in the nervous system
* Supports the natural temperature mechanisms in the animal body
* Supports healthy pressure of blood on veins and arteries
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* Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) - herb used to soothe the nerves and support the routine equilibrium of the nervous system
* Scuttelaria laterifolia (Skullcap) - herbal tonic that has been traditionally used to ease non-debilitating feelings of being 'overwhelmed'
* Hyoscyamus - a natural remedy with some common mental and emotional themes running through all its various expressions
* Belladonna - this remedy suits those that have a tendency towards a common 'crampy' discomfort, often being sensitive and 'jumpy', startling easily.
* Cuprum mettalicum - a natural preparation which supports continued stability in the nervous system while at the same time encouraging routine digestive function.
Always consult your vet for the best course of action in treating your pet.