Can dogs suffer from epilepsy? Yes, but it’s important to distinguish what the term means. Seizures in dogs are often heaped under the word “epilepsy” or “epileptic,” but this is more of a convenience than a precise terminology. We’re going to look at the broader question of seizures in dogs and what, if anything, can be done to help them cope in the aftermath.
Dogster’s resident veterinarian has written that what causes seizures in dogs varies and that what was once referred to commonly as “epilepsy” represents a wide range of neurological conditions. When a dog, puppy or adult, has a seizure, a series of uncontrollable electrical impulses fire in the brain. The episode itself tends to last only a couple of minutes, but it may be only be a symptom of a larger and more dangerous problem
Why do dogs have seizures?
This is a complicated question, because there are many types of seizures in dogs. Genetics plays a role for some dogs who inherit a predisposition to seizures, which may manifest at any age, from puppyhood onward. If you are familiar with the dog’s parentage, you can alert your veterinarian to the possibility and work with them on monitoring for potential red flags. That foreknowledge can be difficult to come by, however, and even a dog with a family history may not show any symptoms.
Genetic inheritance aside, dog seizures may be caused, in the short term, by traumatic events such as a head injury. Over the long term, malfunctions and deficiencies in major body systems may influence a dog’s neurological health. Any kind of severe imbalance to a major body system or critical organ, like the liver, kidney, or cardiovascular system, can bring about the optimal conditions for seizures to occur.
Regular diet and exercise may help prevent things like pancreatitis, liver, and kidney diseases, which can all be contributing factors, but the sheer number of reasons for and causes of dog seizures is too many for any single routine or regimen to prevent. For instance, chronic low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is another potential cause for seizures in dogs, but altering a dog or puppy’s diet may only address one possible issue while others go untreated.
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