What to do before an attack of epilepsy in dogs?


Before an attack of epilepsy in the dog, you should remain calm, lie down, do not try to stick your tongue out, let it recover and follow the recommended treatment

  • Last updated: August 17, 2015

Epilepsy in dogs is a hereditary disease, more common in certain breeds: German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Setter, Beagle, Poodle, some Dachshund and Basset Hound. The first epileptic seizure often manifests itself in dogs between the ages of six months and five years and, although it is diagnosed by ruling out other causes, it should be learn to act before an attack of epilepsy in the dog. There are five key guidelines for action: keep calm, lay down the dog, do not try to stick your tongue out, let it recover and follow the treatment recommended by the veterinarian. Epilepsy does not imply death, but it can be a serious accident for can.

How to act against the dog's epileptic attack?

The so-called idiopathic or essential epilepsy in dogs It is a brain disease characterized by a symptomatology similar to that manifested in people suffering from this pathology. When an attack begins, in a random and unpredictable way, there is a discharge of energy in the brain that causes in the dog pedaling movements in the limbs, abundant salivation, urination or defecation without control and loss of consciousness. How to act in this case?

1. It must Keep calm and place the animal so that it does not hit or fall from an elevated place.

2. It can lay down the dog on a fluffy surface, such as a mat or cushions, so that it is comfortable and not harmed due to seizures.

3. Don't try to stick your tongue out of the dog, because he may run the risk of biting it.

4. Once the epileptic attack is over, you have to let it recover in a quiet place because, after it, the animal is exhausted.

5. The vet can prescribe a treatment In case you consider it convenient. This consists of the administration of Valium, a muscle relaxant that is applied rectally. The owners themselves can apply the relaxant to the dog when it suffers an epileptic attack.

Epileptic dogs and attacks that warn

Epileptic seizures may be of greater or lesser intensity. Certain signs in the dog's behavior can anticipate the owners that they will suffer an attack. "The fact that the dog is more nervous and restless than usual is usually a warning that the animal will begin to have seizures," explains Juan Antonio Aguado, veterinarian and professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the Complutense University of Madrid.

If the owners anticipate the attack, they can implement first aid, such as placing the dog in a place where there is no danger of hitting the head or risking falls from a certain height. It is also advisable to lay the dog on a soft surface (cushions or a mat), but always on the floor to prevent, again, from falling. This could happen if the dog is placed on the couch.

Canine epilepsy does not kill and has a cure

The epileptic attacks they last less than one or two minutes, although for the owners who suffer the situation it may seem like an eternity. Once the attack ends, the dog is disoriented and tired. Juan Antonio Aguado recommends to the owners "tranquility". "Epilepsy does not kill, although it is very cumbersome and distressing for the owners of the animal. The attacks have no side effects on the dog, unless the tongue is struck or bitten," says the veterinarian.

Idiopathic epilepsy in dogs is incurable and is very likely to require lifelong treatment.

This disease cannot be detected through analysis or radiographs and, in general, does not need emergency treatment, unless attacks are repeated every so often, something that can be very dangerous for the dog.

The idiopathic epilepsy It is incurable and it is almost certain that the dog will require a lifelong treatment. The animal does not suffer during the attack, which rarely causes death. In cases where epilepsy is caused by a brain tumor or by an ischemia (decrease in arterial blood supply), the animal can be operated. When attacks are very frequent, a treatment based on barbiturates is applied. "But it is only used when strictly necessary, because this treatment does have side effects," warns Juan Antonio Aguado.

Dogs that detect an epilepsy attack on their owners

Certain dogs detect seizures in people before they occur. This ability is not available to all dogs, only some, which can capture the pheromones or odorous particles that a person gives off before suffering an attack. Dogs are able to recognize a certain body odor, regardless of the area of ​​the body from which it comes.

Some dogs are trained to warn their epileptic owners that they will suffer an attack. In this way, shortly before it occurs, the dog barks or spins around itself to warn that the attack will begin. Thanks to the help of these dogs, their owners can place themselves in a safe place to avoid falls or notify someone to help them.

Dog epilepsy: tips

If symptoms similar to those of an epileptic attack are perceived in the animal, the veterinarian should be consulted.

Epilepsy is a chronic disease, so the dog will need a lifetime treatment.

Do not skip the treatment prescribed by the veterinarian, to minimize epileptic episodes.

During an attack, the dog must be placed in a place where it does not fall or hit. When the episode ends, you should be allowed to rest in a quiet place.

Provide the epileptic dog with a relaxed atmosphere, since stressful situations are often triggers of epileptic episodes.

Symptoms of an epilepsy attack in dogs

Epilepsy is a very complex disease that affects the brain. Abnormal and sudden activity occurs in the neural network that can trigger the seizures, which will be recurrent and characterized by seizures. As we will see, not all seizures in dogs are caused by epilepsy, hence the importance of a good diagnosis, which will also allow us to know what to do when faced with an attack of epilepsy in dogs.

True epileptic seizures consist of the following components:

  • Prodrome: is the period prior to epileptic activity. There may be behavioral changes that help the caregiver to recognize this phase, such as restlessness, anxiety or more attachment than usual. It can last hours or even days, although it is not always present.
  • Aura: This phase may not be easily recognizable. It marks the beginning of the crisis. Vomiting, urination and defecation can be observed.
  • Ictal period: is the seizure itself, in which involuntary movements, abnormal behaviors, etc. occur. Its duration varies from a few seconds to several minutes. It can be partial or generalized.
  • Post-natal period: After the epileptic crisis, the animal may manifest strange behaviors such as disorientation, inadequate urination and defecation, nervousness, increased or diminished thirst and hunger or some neurological deficits such as weakness or blindness. The cerebral cortex is not yet recovered. The duration of this period varies greatly, from seconds to days.

Depending on the symptomatology, epileptic seizures can be focal, originating in a certain area of ​​a cerebral hemisphere, generalized, triggered in both cerebral hemispheres, or focal ones that evolve to generalized, which begin in a cerebral region and end up involving both hemispheres. The latter are the most common in dogs. In addition, epilepsy can be idiopathic or structural.

What to do if my dog ​​suffers an epileptic attack?

If our dog begins to show symptoms that he is going to suffer an epileptic attack or we simply see that he is already suffering, what we must do above all is to remain calm. It may seem complicated given the situation, but keeping calm is essential to help our dog.

It is very likely that our dog loses consciousness during the attack, so we must place it or lay it down on a soft area. Like for example your bed or a sofa, some blankets on the floor or something that prevents it from being damaged if it falls.

Keeping calm at all times, we must accompany our dog until its seizures end. We will never, under any circumstances, try to stick out your tongue, since it could bite you. Nor will we put his hand in his mouth, because he is not aware and could bite us unintentionally. We will only accompany you until the seizure ends.

Epileptic seizures in dogs usually last an average of one or two minutes, in very serious cases even much more ... but it is not usual. When the attack is over, our dog may be completely disoriented, lost and even deaf or blind for a few minutes.

It is very possible that you get scared and start running and bumping into things. We must calm him down but very carefully, because if he does not recognize us, he could bite us and in those moments it is very possible that he is totally disoriented.

Once the attack has passed our dog will also be very tired, so we must put it in a place where you can rest peacefully. We will put a bowl of clean fresh water nearby, so you do not have to move if you are thirsty and let it rest until you want.

When everything is finished and our dog has rested, we will go to the veterinarian to examine him and do the corresponding medical treatment. It is also very important to be pointing on a sheet when you suffer an epileptic seizure and the duration of it, it is very valuable information for our veterinarian.

The differential diagnosis of epilepsy in dogs

Based on the symptoms of an epilepsy attack in dogs we can know if it is really this disease or, conversely, the attacks have another cause. For differential diagnosis we will consider:

  • Syncopes: in this case the dog suddenly collapses and recovers in the same way. In the previous section we have already seen how long an attack of epilepsy lasts in dogs and in what phases it develops. Most epileptic seizures are brief.
  • Vestibular alterations: the animal will be aware and the symptoms will last much longer.
  • Narcolepsy: The animal will be asleep fully but may be awakened.
  • The attack of pain: again the animal will be aware, will be positioned in different positions and for a considerable time.
  • Intoxications: In this case the seizures are usually continuous or repeated every few minutes. In addition, other symptoms such as weakness, diarrhea or uncoordination can be observed between seizures, while in epilepsy, after the seizure, there is usually a period of calm, even if the dog appears stunned.

In the next section we will see what to do when faced with an attack of epilepsy in dogs.

Can epilepsy be cured in dogs?

You cannot say that the problem disappears forever, so the answer would be no, it cannot be cured. But today there are high quality medical treatments, which can help reduce almost completely epileptic seizures in dogs.

But when epilepsy does not appear as such, it is a side effect caused by a brain tumor…. if this is operated successfully, the epilepsy would disappear.

Our dog is part of our family, so we must love him and be with him in the same way as if nothing had ever happened. Can have a healthy and happy lifeYou should simply take a medication.

However, recent studies have detected chromosome 37 abnormalities in dogs more likely to suffer from epilepsy than in healthy dogs. So maybe in the not too distant future we can talk about new treatments that cure epilepsy.

Idiopathic epilepsy in dogs is not a reason to sacrifice or to abandon, it is a disease that can be treated like any other. However, if for any reason you cannot assume it: PLEASE Do not abandon it, take it to a protector and simply explain the problem, they will find you a new family.

What is the treatment a dog with epilepsy should take?

It is a medication that decreases the proliferation of discharges in the brain, thereby decreasing epileptic seizures. The amount of these anti-convulsant medications will be defined by the veterinarian, depending on the intensity of the attacks and the weight of our dog.

There are times when medication can take several months, so we must be patient. The medication always ends up working, it's just a matter of following our veterinarian's instructions.

There are no home or natural remedies to replace the dog's medication. But there are many cases in which it is claimed that acupuncture and homeopathy treatments ... have helped reduce the attacks and their intensity. We assume on a personal level that any therapy that helps our dog relax and live happier and calmer can be interesting.

There is a group on Facebook where you can find more information and talk / chat with people who have dogs with epilepsy. And on youtube there are hundreds of documented videos. It is always good to share ideas and experiences.

Three phases of seizures

All seizures have three phases differentiated: preictial phase, ictial phase and postictal phase. Although it seems that you are not interested in knowing its phases and have very rare names, it is important that you know them, since knowing how to identify a preictial phase You could anticipate a convulsive crisis in your dog and know what to do if it is detected.

  • Preictial phase or aura: it is the pre-attack phase. In this phase, it is common to observe changes in their behavior such as wanting to get the attention of the owner, being uneasy, or otherwise wanting to be alone and start hiding.
  • Ital phase: is the convulsive phase as such.
  • Postictal phase: when the seizure is over. In this phase it is normal to observe depleted animals, although in some cases they show hyperactivity. Causes for the seizures they are diverse: thrombi, encephalitis or meningitis, trauma, congenital malformations, liver disease, hypoglycemia, thyroid disease> of the seizures, if any. If a possible systemic disease is ruled out, it is established that the dog has idiopathic epilepsy, that is, it is epileptic without any probable cause to produce it.

The necessary tests are usually blood and urine analytics, diagnostic imaging tests (radiography, ultrasound, CT, magnetic resonance imaging), cerebrospinal fluid analysis, etc. We may only need to perform some of them to obtain a diagnosis, but in the vast majority of cases we need to perform virtually all of them to obtain a diagnosis. diagnosis accurate.

How to act before an epileptic attack of a dog?

The first thing to do when faced with an attack of epilepsy in dogs is keep calm, which can be difficult, since crises are often shocking. During them we must ensure that we are away from the dog's mouth, since he is not conscious and could come to bite us, especially if we try to get his tongue out of his mouth. Nor should anything be introduced between the teeth.

If the dog is in a dangerous place where it can be harmed, we must move it. Otherwise we can wait a few minutes and, at the end of the crisis, we must go to the veterinary center and try to provide maximum information to facilitate the diagnosis, as it is possible that when the clinic arrived the crisis has subsided and the veterinarian I can't see her.

In this regard we can record it. If the crisis does not resolve in 5 minutes, we will face an emergency that must be immediately attended by the veterinarian, as serious brain damage and even the death of the dog could occur.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

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