Canine epilepsy is a brain disorder much like the condition that affects humans. It is characterized by seizures and other physical symptoms that occur suddenly and on a recurring basis. So, what exactly causes this?
There are two types of epilepsy in dogs: primary and secondary. Primary or idiopathic epilepsy occurs for no known reason. Secondary occurs whenever an underlying reason for the condition to be found.
Serious infectious diseases like distemper can lead to the condition. A disease like hypothyroidism can also lead to seizures due to the detrimental effects it has on your dog’s liver and kidneys. Trauma to the head can also be the underlying cause.
There are various stages to a seizure due to canine epilepsy. In the first stage, your dog will exhibit changes in his mood or headaches. During the second stage, symptoms such as excessive salivation, whining, and nervousness are common.
The third stage includes the actual seizure. You will notice all of the muscle groups in your dog’s body increasing in tone. Canine seizures can last only a minute or so, up to three minutes in all. After the seizure is over, your dog will be left disoriented and confused. He may not response to you or other stimuli.
As mentioned, the cause of seizures in dogs can’t always be determined. The vet will have to rule out medical and physical causes. If none can be found, then your dog is said to have primary canine epilepsy.
It is important that owners take note of the frequency and duration of the seizures. The frequency in which they occur after the initial onset can help determine what’s causing them. If they occur very frequently, then there is usually an underlying medical reason.
If no underlying cause of dog epilepsy can be found, obviously no treatment will be successful. However, medications can be prescribed to help limit the severity of the seizures that your dog experiences. These medications can also help tone down the side effects of the condition.
It is vital that owners administer these drugs properly, especially since they can have harmful effects on the liver. If your dog ever stops taking them, it will need to be done on a gradual basis. If not, he may experience symptoms of withdrawal from the medication.
During an episode of canine epilepsy, there are things that you can do to help your dog through it. Never put your fingers near his mouth, or you may get bitten. Stroke and talk to your dog soothingly to help him relax.