Causes of Seizures in Dogs

Seizures in dogs may occur due to different causes. Epilepsy is not the only disease that causes seizures. Knowing the triggers of seizures can prevent them from happening. It's also helpful to recognize a seizure and offer first aid help.

Lead Poisoning

Exposure to toxins such as lead, great amounts of chocolate or pesticides may lead to poisoning and cause seizures.

Neurological Problems

Seizures may point to neurological problems in your dog. An inflammation of the central nervous system may cause seizures, due to the additional pressure.

Brain tumors may cause pressure in the dog’s skull and trigger frequent seizures.

Canine Distemper

Canine distemper is a viral disease that can cause seizures. Distemper may lead to brain damage. Puppies are more susceptible to the virus, and the seizures may start 2 weeks after the dog has contracted it.

The virus is spread through saliva, urine and feces, but may be contracted through air in an infected environment.

Heat Stroke

Dogs sweat thorough their paws, which is an inefficient way of releasing heat. This is why dogs can easily suffer from heat strokes. Seizure is among the symptoms of a heat stroke. If you notice that your dog has been in the heat and has a seizure, try to decrease his body temperature. Don’t use ice, only cold compresses or water.

Low Calcium Levels

If the dog has a calcium deficit, he may suffer from seizures. Hypocalcaemia may occur in lactating dogs.

Seizures may occur in the last stages of the heartworm disease or if the dog suffers from a head injury. Loud noises such as fireworks or fire alarms may also trigger seizures.

Signs of Seizures

There are some signs that will tell you your dog is having a seizure:

  • Paddling limbs
  • Jaw movements
  • Confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drooling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Involuntary urination or defecation, as the dog does not have control over his muscles

The dog may experience partial seizures, when the seizure signs may be noticed only in parts of the body. There are certain breeds (German shepherds, dachshunds) that are more prone to seizures.

First Aid Help

If your dog is having a seizure, there are some things you can do.

  • Remove any sharp objects from the area
  • Make sure he is not in the proximity of stairs or other pets
  • Place pillows or blankets in the area, so that your dog won’t get hurt
  • Don’t try to pull out your dog’s tongue to prevent him from swallowing it. The dog is not aware of what is happening during a seizure and may bite your hand.
  • Keep calm and comfort the dog.
  • Turn off the lights and make sure there are no loud noises.
  • Try to note the duration of the seizure and let the vet know.

The dog will regain consciousness in a few minutes, but it may take a few hours for him to be conscious. It all depends on the severity of the seizure.