Seizures from Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Hypothyroidism in dogs can cause many problems, but one of the most common—and troubling—are seizures. Studies have found that 77% of dogs with seizures have thyroid problems. 

Defining Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland, which affects a majority of the body. With hypothyroidism there is not enough thyroxine produced, which leads to the metabolism of these tissues slowing to unhealthy levels. This can cause a multitude of serious problems and one of those problems is the rapid onset of seizures. 

The Seizure Process

There are four stages to a seizure.

  1. Prodome. This can occur hours or even days before a seizure actually happens. This stage is marked by a sudden, noticeable change in your dog's behavior or mood. 
  2. Aura. This warns you that a seizure will soon take place. Signs of this include whining, restlessness, salivation, affection and nervousness. 
  3. Ictus. This is the actual seizure itself. Categorized as a series of intense physical activity, it often lasts between 45 seconds and 3 minutes. It is possible that your dog will fall down to the ground or pass out while this is happening. Some things that also may happen include hectic trashing, vocalizing, teeth gnashing, uncontrollable use of the restroom and excessive drooling. 
  4. Ictal. This is what happens after the seizure takes place. Symptoms that you may see from your dog include seeming blindness or deafness, eating or drinking more than normal or pacing endlessly.

The Seizure Types

There are four types of seizures. 

  • Petit Mal. The mildest of seizures, this can include nothing more than upward eye movement or staring off at nothing. 
  • Grand Mal. This type of seizure has been described under the Ictus section. It is important to keep an eye on your dog after this type of seizure, as it will be disoriented and could very well hurt itself without even realising it. 
  • Status Epilepticus. This is a seizure that lasts for ten minutes or longer. It could also be that your dog has several seizures in a row, without any real time in between for awareness or consciousness. This is a form of seizure that is incredibly serious, as it can be life-threatening. 
  • Cluster Seizure. This is when your dog has multiple seizures in the course of a 24 hour period. This is another type of seizure that can be life-threatening.

Treatments for Hypothyroidism Seizures

There are many medications that can be offered to help your dog with seizures. You will need to talk with your pet professional to determine which type of medication is best suited for your dog. 

Prevention of Seizures from Hypothyroidism

One of the suggestions for helping lower your dog's risk for seizures is to make sure your dog is in an environment as free of chemical pollutant as possible. There are a number of these chemicals that can cause seizures in dogs. 

Diet, too, can help when it comes to seizures in dogs. Make certain that whatever dog food you give to your pet is preservative free, as certain types of preservatives can actually cause seizures. It has also been recommended by many that the dog be switched over to a raw, organic diet to help control and lessen the likelihood of seizures. 

It is also thought that vaccinations can lower a dog's risk of having a seizure. If this is something that you want for your dog, talk to your pet professional about splitting up doses of vaccines up or other ways to make this a benefit for your pet.