What causes dog seizures?

There are a number of reasons for dog seizures. These can include epilepsy, low blood sugar levels, calcium deficiency, heat stroke, some infectious diseases, head trauma, liver disease, kidney disease, some poisons, poor circulation of the brain or brain tumours.

If your dog is eight years old or younger, epilepsy is the most common cause. In most cases, epileptic seizures do respond well to treatment.

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Are dog seizures life threatening?

Although they are not immediately life-threatening, your dog will lose control of their body, which can be frightening. Prolonged seizures can be deadly.

No two seizures look the same but you may see your dog start to tremble, his eyes glaze over, he may fall or lie down and start to jerk violently. You may also see focal twitching, champing of the jaw and drooling and your dog may pass urine or faeces.

After the seizure, your dog may be disoriented and can appear blind for some time — this is called the “post-ictal” period. This shouldn’t last for more than two hours. In recurring cases, you may spot subtle changes in your dog’s behaviour before a seizure — called the “pre-ictal” period).

Treatment may be needed if your dog suffers a seizure for a prolonged period or repeatedly, so please contact your vet as soon as possible, or, out of hours, find your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or Vets Now 24/7 hospital.


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Would you know what to do if your dog has a seizure? Be prepared and check out this article from Vets Now:


How to manage dog seizures

  • Try not to panic
  • Focus on your dog’s needs, as it is unlikely that the seizure is immediately life threatening
  • Distance your dog from anything that might harm it and avoid touching your dog, particularly around the mouth as they may bite you due to losing control over their muscles and movement
  • Make a note of the time of the seizure started and how long it lasts for
  • Try to keep your dog as cool as possible (do not wrap in towels or blankets) as they can overheat
  • If the seizure continues for more than four minutes, phone your vet immediately or, out of hours, find your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or Vets Now 24/7 hospital