We all know seizures as a condition that happens to humans, but unbeknownst to many, this neurological disorder also occurs in dogs. This involuntary disturbance of brain function is often temporary, accompanied by irregular muscle activities. When repeated episodes of seizures occur to a dog, it is classified as Epilepsy. This can happen in clusters and can be unpredictable. In dogs, a seizure usually lasts around one to two minutes. However, there are instances that a seizure occurs longer than average that would call for your veterinarian’s attention.

Causes

Seizures in dogs occur due to different causes. It could be due to inherited disorders such as Idiopathic Epilepsy or other reasons. Here are some conditions that may cause seizures to your dog:

Head injuryCan dogs get concussions? Actually, the most common sort of head trauma is a concussion. This occurs when the nervous system is violently traumatised due to an impact, resulting in both temporary and permanent damage. This condition is characterised by brain bleeding and caused by a direct hit to the head. Untreated brain swelling caused by head trauma can result in convulsions, coma, and even death.

Encephalitis – One of the most likely reasons for brain disease in canines is inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, known as the central nervous system (CNS). The inflammation in these regions can cause myelitis or meningitis, which can be severe and can become life-threatening. Clinical indicators of encephalitis generally represent the damaged area of the brain. Forebrain (cerebral) illness presents its symptoms through seizures, blindness, behavioural abnormalities, mental distress, and circling. Brainstem illness is accompanied by unbalancing or loss of coordination, head tilt, tremors, or facial paralysis. Encephalitis can cause neurologic abnormalities in a single area (focal) or numerous regions (multifocal) of the central nervous system. 

Strokes – The clinical manifestations differ depending on which part of the nervous system is affected. Strokes might occur in any part of the central nervous system. Strokes in the brain can result in rapid involuntary movements, blindness, or seizures. A stroke occurs when there is a decrease of blood flow in a dog’s brain, resulting in abnormal obvious neurological signs like seizures or, worst, coma. Many illnesses can lead to a clot or a blockage of blood supply to the brain, and many other conditions can cause a blood artery to burst, which is one of the probable factors of stroke in dogs. 

Brain cancer – In dogs, seizures are a common manifestation of a range of intracranial physiological disorders. Seizures are frequently used to detect an underlying brain structure illness in canines with brain tumours. The supratentorial nerve system, particularly the olfactory and frontal lobes, is affected by most brain tumours that cause seizures. 

Liver disease – Because all of the cells in the liver have the same abilities, the liver has a vast reserve capacity. If one component of the liver fails to function properly, another can take over, but with enough time and right conditions, the liver can rebuild tissue. However, in the final stages of liver disease, neurological disorders such as confusion, pacing, aimless roaming, or loss of coordination might occur. These were all caused by the buildup of toxins that the liver would typically clear.

Kidney disease – The kidneys help to regulate hydration, salt content in the system, and the elimination of various toxins from the blood. Seizures can occur in advanced renal failure due to a buildup of toxins in the blood. This is usually found near the end of a long-term failing or if there’s been a severe collapse – acute kidney damage, such as antifreeze toxicity. Seizures are a symptom of chronic and advanced kidney impairment, and the condition is likely to be dire.

Low or high blood sugar – Diabetes in dogs is typically caused by hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. In consequence of having extremely low blood sugar levels, a hypoglycemic dog may have a seizure. When an insulin dosage is delivered without enough sustenance for the dog’s system to effectively utilise the insulin, hypoglycemia occurs.

Electrolyte problems – Electrolyte imbalance induced by dehydration is a typical cause of seizure attacks. These electrolytes aid in regulating neuron and muscle function, the transport of oxygen, and the metabolism of food into energy. A lack of oxygen in the brain cells will cause abnormal impulses, eventually leading to a seizure attack.

Anaemia – This medical condition describes a low level of several red blood cells (RBCs), haemoglobin (Hb or Hgb), or both. It is not a disease in and of itself but instead the result of another chronic illness or condition. Haemoglobin transports oxygen to the body’s cells and tissues, and a lifeless dog will exhibit symptoms associated with a lack of oxygen that will result in an episode of seizure.

Here’s what you can do when your dog is having an episode:

  • Stay safe and try to remain calm — and leave the seizure to your pet. During and after an episode of seizure, your pet is likely to be utterly unconscious of their surroundings or even of their actions. This is also true for cats that have convulsions, but dogs, in particular, can become highly uneasy, agitated, and even blind immediately after having a seizure. Please do not attempt to hold or pet your animal while it is having a seizure.
  • Make room. Make your pet’s habitat as quiet and safe as possible, such as blocking the neighbouring stairwells or other potential hazards. In case there are other pets in the room, it is better to remove them where the seizure is happening to avoid the aggravation of anxiety.
  • Look at the time. Understanding where your dog’s seizure started and how prolonged it lasted will give your veterinarian important information about your dog’s symptoms. If another person is in the room, ask him to capture the episode on his mobile so you may present it to your vet later.

A Natural Supplement That May Help 

A natural supplement commonly used by humans may potentially help your dog who suffers from seizures. Cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, is a cannabinoid that is abundantly found in hemp plants. Although a cousin to THC, which is abundant in marijuana, CBD is non-psychoactive and does not cause high. 

CBD is popular in humans as an adjunctive or alternative treatment for many conditions, primarily for managing seizures, pain, inflammation and anxiety. In humans, an FDA approved CBD based medication is used to treat seizures related to Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Disease called Epidiolex. While there are not many clinical studies on dogs, preliminary research and anecdotal evidence from dog owners claimed that CBD had helped their dog with pain relief and seizure episodes.