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Does your dog suffer from seizures?
Epileptic seizure disorders in dogs
The terms epilepsy, seizures, convulsions and fits all mean the same thing and are one of the most frequently reported neurological conditions in dogs.
The scientific term for a seizure is "ictus", and in simplistic terms seizures can be described as temporary involuntary disturbance of normal brain function, that are usually accompanied by uncontrollable muscle activity.
Studies indicate that seizures occur in both males and females dogs with equal frequency, and in many cases dogs can have one seizure and never have another.
Usually, seizures appear suddenly and end spontaneously. They can last from a few seconds, minutes or hours, and the severity of seizures can vary between:
The underlying causes of seizures
Seizures by nature are rather unpredictable and can be triggered by multiple, uncontrollable factors. Seizures are are not in themselves a disease, but rather symptoms that your dogs has some kind of neurological disorder. Here's a list of some of the underlying causes:
Frequently, seizures can be idiopathic, meaning your vet may not be able to determine the cause. That said, it isn't the end of the world, because as your pet's sole carer you are in a position to help enormously by watching his diet and swapping to natural flea and tick control treatments.
The key to helping your dog is to try your best to nail down the common factors, which trigger off his seizures.
In addition to looking for possible causes, you should make yourself familiar with the signs and symptoms leading up to your dog having a seizure and and also when he is having a seizure.The last part of the puzzle is seeking out a vet who specialises in epileptic seizures, then together you can work out a treatment plan that will keep your pet's seizures to a minimum, and when they do happen to make him as comfortable as possible.
The three stages of epileptic seizures
Aura - before
The aura stage is the lead up period just prior to the onset of a seizure. Some signs and symptoms of an impending seizure are not always openly apparent, whilst other are. Visible signs for you to keep an eye out for are:
Ictus - during
"Ictus" is a term used to describe the symptoms which happen when a grand mal seizure takes place - the most common signs are:
Postictial - afterward
The postictial stage occurs immediately after the seizure has occurred. During this period your dog may present with any of the following symptoms:
Unbelievable as it may sound, it is possible that all three of the above phases may not be seen, because many seizures occur while dogs are resting or asleep.
Warning signs that your dog requires immediate emergency veterinary treatment
What you need to do, to help your dog during the Ictus stage of a grand mal seizureBasically looking after your pet who is having a seizure is no different to treating any other family member with epilepsy.
Treating your dog after he has suffered a seizure
Instead of a classic grand mal seizure as described above, some dogs can suffer from atypical seizures known as psychomotor seizures. These seizures are believed to arise from a center lower in the brain. They are characterised by dogs exhibiting strange behavior such as staring into space, frenzied barking, licking or chewing at themselves, or snapping at invisible objects.
Treatment for these seizures is pretty much the same as for grand mal seizures in so far as your pet needs to be kept as calm as possible and given reassurance, support and affection. Rescue remedy is a great natural calming remedy to sooth and settle your pet down.
Breeds with a genetic factor to idiopathic epilepsy
These breeds or cross breeds with the breeds listed below include:
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Library and is presented for informational purposes only and not intended as an endorsement of any product. The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com
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A special tip from Carole -
I have used Rescue Remedy (shown below) for the past 24 years (actually, lets be specific - I have used it for my darling doggie Poppie and her predecessors) and found it absolutely marvelous! If you need to calm your pet down at any time, give it a go, you won't regret it (Poppie usually uses it before her bath time). Each bottle lasts her for ages!
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