Does Your Dog Have Epilepsy?
What is epilepsy?
This is a recurrent seizure condition where uncoordinated shootings of neurons in the brain occur. In dogs, it is not fully understood but has some similarities with causes in humans. Chemically the neurotransmitters are not balanced, so the nerves are not coordinated. Epilepsy dogs will show uncoordinated firing of neurons in their brains. This is called a seizure, also known as a seizure or seizure. It usually starts in dogs aged six months to 5 years.
Different types of epilepsy:
1. Epilepsy Idiopathy – The cause is unknown, it may be inherited.
2. Secondary Epilepsy – Usually, the veterinarian will carry out several tests to rule out possible toxic, or physiological causes before he makes his diagnosis as a dog who has an idiopathic version. There are many types of seizures seen in dogs, and often, the owner is not aware of the condition of his pet. Epileptic seizures are abnormal brain activity manifested in parts of the brain called the cerebral cortex. These abnormalities that cause seizures vary from petit mall to generalized, grand mal intact.
Four stages of seizure:
1. The Prodome – It lasts from minute to hour and sometimes days before the actual seizure. The dog will show changes in his behavior or mood.
2. Aura – The owner will pay attention to the initial signs during this stage. Some pet dogs will start vibrating, drooling, licking, pacing, wandering, hiding, urinating, or whining. Some other dogs may exhibit strange behavior such as excessive barking and trying to get the owner’s attention.
3. The Ictus – This is the actual stage of the seizure, where the dog may lose consciousness, grit his teeth, thrash about his legs and head, cry, drool, lose control of the bladder and intestines, and paddle his legs like he is running. Some types of foreign seizures in dogs will suddenly become empty and stare into space, while others will panic in circles. People with partial seizures will experience twitching in one area of their body, can be on one leg, face, on their hips, or their shoulders.
4. The Ictal – It occurs only after a seizure. The dog will act like he was treated, drunk, deaf, or blind. Some dogs may run without stopping, or drink lots of water. Others fainted and slept.
Causes of seizures
Many conditions can cause seizures: Liver disorders Brain tumors Congenital defects Low sugar (hypoglycemia) or conditions such as diabetes mellitus Fever or hyperthermia Heart problems, breathing difficulties, or anemia Kidney disorders Brain damage due to trauma or poor blood flow to the brain Infections such as dogs distemper Low calcium in women who breastfeed young Toxins such as antifreeze, chocolate, or lead Primary / idiopathic epilepsy Certain drugs taken by dogs What triggers seizures?
It is unknown, but many dogs experience seizures when excited. Very often, the dog seizes while playing, or when the child has just returned from school. A dog has a seizure after visiting a veterinary hospital. Other dogs have seizures when they fall asleep. Do not confuse this by dreaming because it is not uncommon for a dog to shake or bark during sleep. You can wake a dreaming dog, but dogs don’t experience seizures.
What is the diagnosis of epilepsy?
First, the veterinarian will get a detailed history. Neurology, physical examination, and laboratory tests are then carried out. Sometimes x-rays are also taken. If the vet cannot identify the cause of the seizure, this condition is then diagnosed as idiopathic. There are no tests available to diagnose epilepsy; the test only removes other causes of seizures.
What kind of facts about your dog can you give to the vet to help make the diagnosis?
This is useful if you, the pet owner, can provide your veterinarian’s answers to the following questions: What will your pet look like when he has a seizure? How often do seizures occur? What is the duration of each seizure? Observe both sides of your dog if there are symptoms that appear on one side only. Does one side look much worse? Does your pet dog suffer from hyperthermia? Is he exposed to toxic substances? Did your pet experience a traumatic experience lately or many years ago? Is your pet updated on vaccinations? Has your pet been raised lately or with another dog? Is your pet sick? In the past few weeks, has he run away? When and what does he eat? Has he been acting weird lately or have you seen any changes in behavior? Do seizures occur in patterns associated with certain activities such as eating, sleeping, or exercise? Does your pet show an incorrect sign just before or right after the seizure?
Do some dogs more likely to suffer from epilepsy?
Usually, epilepsy begins to appear at the age of 6 months to 5 years, usually at 2-3 years. That happens to all dog breeds, including mixed races. Epilepsy can be familial; it can be passed on from generation to generation. The Golden Retriever, Labrador, Cockers, Dachshund, German Shepherd, Collies, Poodles, Irish Setters, St. Bernards, Beagles, Malamutes and Huskies, Springers are several breeds of dogs with a high tendency to have epilepsy. Because epilepsy can be inherited, the dogs that have it should not be used for breeding.
Treatment begins when seizures are patterned, multiple and severe. You must know your pet’s dog pattern so that your vet can assess whether the treatment is helpful.
There is no known cure for epilepsy. The aim is to reduce the prevalence, duration, and severity of seizures. Oral medications are given to treat epilepsy. Dogs show a non-incident response to drugs. Veterinarians can try various combinations of drugs to see which one is right for your pet. At the beginning of treatment, most dogs will feel sleepy, but eventually, this will disappear in a matter of weeks.
The drugs commonly used to hold epilepsy are Phenobarbital and Potassium bromide. Can be used as a single or combination drug, and must be given every day. Before putting the dog on phenobarbital drugs, he must undergo laboratory tests.
Blood levels are also regularly taken. Do not skip or stop the drug after the drug is introduced, if not, severe seizures can occur. Almost all dogs that consume anticonvulsants must continue to drink it for life. Some other drugs used for the treatment of epilepsy are carbamazepine, felbamate, primidone, valproic acid, clorazepate, gabapentin, and clonazepam. Intravenous medications such as valium for rapid effects are given to dogs with prolonged seizures or also known as status.
Anti-epileptic drugs such as phenobarbital may have side effects on the liver if high doses are needed. Before increasing the dose, liver function tests must be taken only to make sure you are on the safe side. Although liver damage is rarely seen even at high levels. Usually, the level of the dose becomes effective for a certain period and then the seizures will increase in frequency and duration. The dosage can then be increased.
On the other hand, if the dog does not show seizures, the dose can be lowered and still control seizures. Keep a seizure calendar with their date and duration. This will help in determining if any adjustments are needed.
What should I do if my pet dog has a seizure?
Keep calm. Never put your hand in your dog’s mouth. You might be bitten! And that doesn’t help your dog. Get rid of sharp objects nearby such as tables and chairs to prevent injury. Place the dog on the floor carefully if he is on the couch or bed to prevent falls. Clean the pet area and other children. Observe your dog and contact the veterinarian