The main sign of pet epilepsy is seizures, which are caused by abnormal electrical activity that begins in the brain. Most pet seizures last from one to three minutes, with the average time being 90 seconds in dogs.
Minor or partial motor seizures can cause dogs to salivate, stare into space, and/or have localized muscle twitches.
Severe seizures, also called Grand Mal Seizures, may cause dogs to totally lose control!
Dogs typically fall down onto one side or another, experience severe full body muscle twitches and often urinate and/or defecate during the episode.
This type of severe seizure is quite dramatic and is often seen for example, on television After the episode, some dogs act normally, others remain dazed. Seizures in pets use up a lot of energy so most dogs are hungry and enjoy small portions of food and water after the epileptic episode has ended.
Dr. Carol’s Tip: Epileptic dogs enjoy small amounts of fresh organic food and water when a pets seizure episode ends.
Some cases of epilepsy in dogs occur as a result of an underlying disease. Diabetes and low blood sugar, kidney failure and brain tumors are a few diseases that can cause pets to seizure. Once the underlying cause of your pets seizures is determined and successfully treated and/or controlled such as with Diabetes or kidney failure, the seizures usually subside.
In addition, tainted pet food can cause seizures. For example, the Nutro Pet Food that was recently recalled by the FDA contained an excess of the mineral “Zinc” which when eaten, caused pets to seizure and suffer with “Pancreatitis-like” episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.
The majority of dogs diagnosed with Epilepsy are middle aged; usually dogs are over six years old before their seizures begin. Most cases of epilepsy in dogs are termed “Idiopathic Epilepsy” meaning that the cause of the seizures is unknown.
Classically the onset of Idiopathic Epilepsy in dogs is between one and five years of age, with a higher incidence in certain canine breeds, such as golden retrievers, cocker spaniels, huskies, malamutes, and miniature poodles.