Canine Seizure Disorder Treatment

The best known canine seizure disorder is the epilepsy, but the dog may also experience other disorders leading to chronic seizures. The treatment for seizure disorders may vary according to the frequency of the seizures and the type of disorder affecting the pet. In some cases, especially if the seizures are rare, medication treatment will not be necessary.

Seizure Disorders in Dogs

Epilepsy is the most frequently met seizure disorder in dogs, causing periodical seizures. The disease is considered idiopathic and some theories claim the disease is inherited.

However, there are also other conditions that can lead to the occurrence of seizures in dogs:

  • A liver condition
  • Poisoning, especially if the exposure is gradual
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Brain cancer
  • Low glucose levels in the blood
  • Low calcium in the body

Treatment Options for Seizures

The treatment options for canine seizure disorders will depend on what causes the seizures. A clear diagnosis is needed and you will also have to provide the vet with details on how often the seizures occur and how long they last.

If the dog has a liver condition, he will receive a special diet that will benefit the liver and help the liver cells regenerate. If the seizures are frequent, anticonvulsants will also be prescribed, however, these should be used with caution, as they can affect the liver. Primidone can be harmful for dogs with liver problems.

If the dog suffers from poisoning or a heat stroke, emergency help will be needed and the vet will extract the toxic materials from the dog’s system or cool the dog’s body down to a normal temperature.

A dog that has chronic seizures and is affected by epilepsy may receive medication such as:

  • Phenobarbital, which is an anticonvulsant drug that will reduce the frequency of seizures or eliminate these. However, the drug should be administered non stop to manage the seizures, as after these are discontinued, the dog will start having seizures again
  • Potassium bromide can be used as a sole treatment, but it is often used in conjunction with Phenobarbital
  • Primidone is an anticonvulsant, but is less commonly prescribed as it can lead to liver damage
  • Phenytoin is similar to primidone
  • Propofol
  • Diazepam can prevent seizures, but shouldn’t be administered for longer periods of time
  • Gabapentin
  • Chlorazepate

If the dog has epilepsy but the seizures are rare (once in 2 to 6 months), medication is not recommended, as these anticonvulsants may have several side effects and affect the liver and kidney function when used as a long term treatment. The most common side effects of anticonvulsants include:

  • Behavioral changes; the dog can be more active or lethargic
  • Depression
  • Decreased levels of calcium
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion

In dogs that have a brain tumor that causes seizures, the seizures can be stopped if the tumor is removed. Tests are needed to establish if the tumor can be removed.