Dog Seizure Treatment

A dog seizure is terrifying to watch because your dog is in pain and you can't help. Often, seizure disorders can't be cured, but there are many steps you can take to reduce the frequency and intensity, both of which will reduce damage caused.

Causes of Seizures

The most common cause of seizures in dogs is canine epilepsy; however, many other illnesses such as stroke, poisoning, liver failure, hypothyroidism, hyperglycemia and tumors can cause seizures.

Seizures trigger abnormal electrical activity in the brain that cause abnormal reactions throughout the body, such as muscle spasms, facial muscle ticks, vocalizations, loss of consciousness and elimination of anal glands. Dogs experiencing the onset of a seizure may pace or seem anxious or disoriented. They will also seem disoriented for hours after the seizure.

Any time your dog experiences a seizure that is worse than the previous one, including the first seizure, take him to the veterinarian. There may be an underlying health issue that can be treated to prevent future attacks.

Treatment of Seizures

Many seizure disorders can be effectively treated with phenobarbitol or potassium bromide, which is used if your dog has too much liver damage from long-term use of phenobarbitol. If phenobarbitol is recommended for your dog, you must have your dog's liver enzymes tested two to three times annually for liver damage detection.

However, medication is usually only recommended if your dog's seizures have become regular or severe. If medication is not recommended, there are other things you can do to reduce the effects of seizures.

To prevent seizures, try to keep your dog's environment stress-free. Keep the house at a comfortable temperature and reduce your dog's exposure to any stressful stimulus. Limit his exposure to any household chemicals, such as fertilizers and cleanrs, and feed a preservative-free diet. Preservatives such as BHT, BHA and ethoxyquin are thought to cause seizures.

During a seizure, remain calm. There is nothing you can do, except make sure to remove objects that could injure him if he falls. Don't try to restrain him. Turn off all lights, television and music but talk to your dog in a calm, soothing voice.

Keep other pets away from your dog during and after the seizure because he may be more likely to attack, and they may be more likely to react to his stress with aggression as well. Allow him to pace off the effects of the seizure if he needs to. Don't force him to lie down if he seems physically unable. 

In the immediate moments after the seizure, it's important to restore your dog's nutrients and fluids because having a seizure takes the same toll on his body as running a marathon. Feed a few spoonfuls of ice cream immediately following the seizure and then feed a full meal. Add carbohydrates such as pasta or rice for additional nutrients. Add Pedialyte or Gatorade to his water.

There are few feelings more helpless than watching your dog have a seizure. However, many causes of seizures can be treated with medication. After stabilizing your dog, take him to a veterinarian for a full medical evaluation. The treatment will largely depend upon the cause.