Canine Seizures in Older Dogs

Canine seizures can be a scary occurrence for the pet and the owner alike. Seizures generally present themselves as a sudden series of abrupt convulsions, twitches or spasms caused by impulses from the brain. They are usually caused by some type of disease or condition, and are especially common in older dogs. To learn more about canine seizures in older dogs, read on.

What Does a Seizure Look Like?

When your dog experiences a seizure, he will likely begin to have sudden and unexpected spasms and twitches. Sometimes these spasms are so mild that they are practically unnoticeable. Other times, they are severe enough to cause violent and forceful movements. Other signs of a canine seizure include the following:

  • Running in place, or moving limbs
  • Strange jaw movements
  • Dilated and unresponsive pupils in both eyes
  • Drooling or salivating
  • Urinating or defecating on oneself

What Causes Seizures in Older Dogs?

The most common cause of seizures in older dogs is a chronic disease. Epilepsy is among the most common of these diseases. Epilepsy is a disease that causes recurring and frequent seizures in dogs, and is caused by a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters in the body. A dog who suffers from epilepsy will have recurring periods of uncoordinated firing of neurons in the brain, causing frequent seizures.

Toxicity is another potential cause of seizures in older dogs. Dogs who have ingested a poison may begin to have convulsions and spasms soon after.
Canine seizures can be caused by:
  • Head trauma
  • diseases of the organs
  • heart disease
  • congenital defects
  • diabetes mellitus
  • hypoglycemia
  • anemia
  • low oxygen levels
  • kidney disease
  • liver conditions
  • canine distemper
  • tumors in the brain
  • hyperthermia
  • fever
  • brain damage
  • medications
  • vitamin deficiency
  • low calcium levels.

How to Prevent Seizures in Older Dogs

Although there is no universal way to prevent your dog from having seizures, frequent visits to a veterinarian will help you stay up to date with your pet's health and well being. in addition, only a veterinarian can diagnose the primary cause of your dog's seizures. He can also prescribe the proper medications needed for your pet in order to stop the chronic seizures and spasms.

What To Do if Your Dog Has a Seizure

If you notice your pet showing signs or symptoms of a seizure or spasm, promptly contact your veterinarian and follow his instructions immediately. Do not panic if your dog begins to have a seizure, and stay calm. Often times, comforting your dog during the seizure will help him get over the spasms more quickly, and will help relax him during the stressful time. In addition, it is important to maintain a safe environment for your dog while he is having a seizure, as dogs can easily injure themselves during an episode.

Things that May Trigger a Seizure

Often, many dogs will begin to have a seizure during times of high energy or excitability. This includes times of playing outside, running or other activities that cause excitement. Many dogs often have seizures while they are sleeping. This is often confused with dreaming, but a dreaming dog can be awakened, while a dog having a seizure cannot.