Old Dog Seizure Symptoms

Dog seizure symptoms in elderly pets are, for the most part, the same as the symptoms of a seizure for younger dogs. A seizure is a condition that causes a set of involuntary movements. Research indicates that seizures are hereditary in nature and pets suffering from the condition may require medication for life.

Since there are different types of seizures that occur in canines, pet owners should make note of all the symptoms exhibited because the type of seizure that the dog is suffering from dictates the type of symptoms exhibited.

Types and Stages of Seizures

The types of seizures that are commonly seen in dogs include tonic-clonic seizures, partial seizures, petit mal seizures, complex partial seizures, status epilepticus and cluster seizures. These seizures generally manifest themselves in 3 different stages known as the pre-ictal phase, the ictal phase and the post-ictal phase.

Causes of Seizures in Older Dogs

If your older pet exhibits signs of a seizure without having any previous history of the condition, he may be suffering from an underlying condition like a brain tumor. It’s also very common for canines to develop idiopathic seizures (seizures with no known cause). Besides this, some dogs suffering from Lyme Disease or toxicity develop full blown seizures.

However, the most common causes of seizures in elderly pets (who haven’t had seizures before) are tumors, head injuries and accidental ingestion of toxic substances.

Symptoms of Seizures in Elderly Dogs

The symptoms exhibited by elderly pets are similar to those exhibited by middle aged dogs. Each pet will exhibit a couple of involuntary movements depending on the type of the seizure and its stage.

As a pet owner you need to carefully monitor your dog if he’s having a seizure and make note of the symptoms exhibited. Also time the seizure so that you will be able to help the vet confirm diagnosis.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Uncontrolled twitching of the limbs
  • Trembling
  • Leaping in the air
  • Involuntary urination
  • Defecation
  • Drooling
  • Disorientation
  • Sudden collapse
  • Paralysis
  • Temporary loss of sight 
  • Inability to understand commands

Tips for Pet Owners

If your aged pet is having a seizure, make sure you move furniture and other objects out of his way so that he doesn’t get injured. Avoid panicking as this will only confuse the pet even more. Stay by your dog and speak to him in a calm and encouraging voice. Once he recovers from the seizure give him some time to rest as he will likely be disoriented and tired.

If the seizure has occurred for the first time it may occur again in the future. You must take the dog for a vet check and find out what the underlying cause is. If the cause is associated with a brain tumor, the seizures will only be controlled once the tumor is treated.

If the cause is idiopathic, the vet will prescribe medications that will have to be administered to the dog for the rest of his life.