Recognizing Seizure Symptoms
A canine seizure may start with subtle signs like restlessness, hiding, or clinginess. As the episode builds, typical symptoms include:
- Uncontrolled shaking and muscle spasms
- Loss of consciousness
- Rigid stiffening of the legs and body
- Drooling and chomping
- Paddling, cycling, or running motions
- Loss of bowel/bladder control
Seizures usually last 1-3 minutes followed by post-ictal disorientation and fatigue. Being able to quickly identify a seizure allows you to respond appropriately.
Providing Emergency Care
When a seizure strikes, staying calm is key. Follow these steps during the episode:
- Note time the seizure starts
- Clear the area to avoid injury
- Cushion their head with a folded towel
- NEVER restrain or put anything in their mouth
- Monitor breathing and gently stroke body until seizure ends
- Avoid excessive stimulation during post-ictal recovery
Monitoring duration and symptoms helps the vet determine treatment options.
Calling the Veterinarian
Contact your vet immediately if your dog experiences:
- A first-time seizure
- Cluster seizures with short intervals between episodes
- A seizure lasting over 5 minutes
- Failure to regain consciousness after the seizure
Describe the episode in detail to help determine if medication is warranted.
Ongoing Home Care
Caring for an epileptic dog at home involves:
- Administering prescribed anti-seizure medications
- Keeping a seizure diary noting date, time and symptoms
- Eliminating seizure triggers like chemicals, toxins, stress
- Discussing supplemental therapies like CBD with your vet
- Comforting your dog during recovery periods
Provide extra TLC on difficult days. Patience is key in managing this chronic condition.
Improving Your Dog’s Quality of Life
While scary, seizures don’t have to devastate your dog’s health and happiness. Arm yourself with knowledge of first aid, treatment options, and sensitive ongoing care. With preparation and teamwork with your vet, you have the power to help your dog thrive in the face of epilepsy.
When to Seek Emergency Care
Bring your dog to an emergency vet immediately if they experience:
- A seizure lasting over 10 minutes
- Multiple repeated seizures without regaining consciousness
- Seizure during advanced pregnancy
- Injury, breathing issues, or choking during the seizure
- No improvement in post-ictal state after several hours
- Fever, nausea, or other signs of illness before/after seizure
Prolonged, cluster, or post-ictal complications can become life-threatening and require intensive hospital care.
Nutritional and Lifestyle Support
Maximize your dog’s health with:
- High quality veterinary therapeutic diets
- Omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation
- Digestive enzymes and probiotics
- Antioxidants like vitamin E to minimize cell damage from seizures
- Stress reduction techniques like massage, pheromones
- Consistent schedules and environment
Optimizing nutrition, reducing stress, and promoting stable routines further safeguard your dog’s wellbeing.
Being a Seizure Response Pro
Prepare a seizure emergency kit with:
- Copy of vet records, medication list, seizure diary
- Towels, blankets, and extra leash/collar
- Pedialyte and bottled water for recovery
- Benadryl in case of allergic reaction to meds
- Important vet/owner contact information
Advanced preparation helps you respond efficiently when seizures strike.
Providing the Best Care
While epilepsy can’t be cured, dogs can enjoy full lives with diligent owner response, integrated veterinary care, and properly tailored treatment plans. With preparation, care, and hope, you have the power to guide your dog safely through the storm.