Most people imagine seizures as obvious and violent muscle contractions that cause loss of consciousness, but dogs can actually be affected by many different types of seizures. Some are very visible, while others are so subtle and nuanced that you might not even realize it’s a seizure at all.
It’s important for all pet owners to understand that seizures — whether mild or severe — make dogs vulnerable to ongoing health complications. Would you be able to recognize a seizure in your own dog?
Here’s everything you need to know in case your dog ever has a seizure.
What Does a Dog Seizure Look Like?
A seizure occurs when the electrical impulses traveling up and down your dog’s spinal cord somehow malfunction. Imagine a car crash in your dog’s brain where electrical impulses collide, spin out of control, and cause many different physical and mental effects.
Dogs experience seizures in one of two forms: a petit mal seizure or a grand mal seizure. A petit mal seizure is usually mild, while a grand mal seizure is severe. Here’s how you can tell the difference.
Potential Causes of Dog Seizures
Dog seizures may occur as a result of multiple factors, including biochemical disorders like imbalanced blood sugar, metabolic issues, and other underlying health problems. Serious health conditions like kidney disease, liver failure, and kidney failure can also alter the brain and body chemistry to trigger seizures.
Genetics also play a major role in seizures. Idiopathic seizures — also known as epilepsy — are often genetic, which explains why many dogs begin to experience seizures without any warning or explanation. If your dog suffers from idiopathic seizures, your vet may never truly know the underlying cause beyond heredity.
Brain tumors are also known to cause seizures as they obstruct the space of the brain, trigger pressure changes, and cause neurological abnormalities.
How to React to a Dog Seizure
Watching your dog endure a seizure is scary and confusing. You may not know how to react and provide help, or you may put yourself in danger from your dog’s unpredictable movements. Here’s the best way to react to your dog’s seizure.
First, look at the clock or start a timer to get a sense of the length of your dog’s seizure. Most seizures, even grand mal seizures that cause loss of motor function and control, last five minutes or less. As scary as it may be, don’t touch your dog during the seizure, especially around the mouth. In their incoherent state, your dog may bite down on your hand without the ability to let go, which could cause significant damage to your hand.
Instead of touching your dog, eliminate all possible stimuli in the room. Turn off the TV or radio, ask guests to stop talking, close the blinds, and turn off the lights. This decreases the number of neural impacts affecting the brain and makes it easier for your dog’s neurological system to settle down.
The only time it’s appropriate to touch your dog during a seizure is to move them to the ground if possible. You don’t want your dog on the couch, chair, or steps during a seizure since it’s likely they’ll roll off and sustain an injury.
Finally, remember that your dog is not actually in pain during a seizure! They might howl, bark, or vocalizing during a seizure, but they aren’t in real pain. They’re simply experiencing involuntary muscle twitching that causes contractions and unusual body movements. As soon as the seizure ends, you’ll see your dog wake up and enter a dazed phase or stupor that could last minutes or hours.
When Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?
All seizures, even severe grand mal seizures, should stop after five minutes. As long as your dog’s seizure does not extend beyond five minutes, you can wait to schedule a vet appointment any time over the next day. However, any seizure longer than five minutes requires immediate vet attention.
If it’s longer than five minutes, start to drive. It’s critical that your dog’s vet has the immediate opportunity to identify the underlying cause of extensive or clustered seizures. Every single time your dog experiences a seizure, the brain rewires itself to become more likely to suffer future seizures.
This is a serious problem, so your vet should use a physical exam and bloodwork to uncover the root cause of your dog’s seizures. It could be anything from an unknown liver disorder to an electrolyte imbalance, but if it can be resolved, the seizures should stop.
Short-Term Seizure Treatments
As a general rule, most vets recommend that medication isn’t needed for dogs who experience one seizure per month or less. Dogs with more than one seizure per month should take medicine to reduce seizure frequency.
Medications like phenobarbital or anti-seizure drugs can limit seizure occurrences but rarely eliminate them completely. Still, fewer seizures per month is an improvement that protects your dog’s health and reduces the likelihood of complications.
How Can Stem Cell Therapy Help Chronic Dog Seizures?
Like many pet owners, you may feel frustrated that medications can’t provide more reliable results for your seizure-prone dog. Pharmaceutical drugs are expensive and their results only last as long as your dog takes them. This is exactly where regenerative stem cell therapy can make a huge difference.
Stem cells function naturally in the body by helping to heal and rebuild damaged tissues. They are also powerful anti-inflammatory agents with the ability to reduce dangerous inflammation in the body.
Stem cell therapy can be used to help dogs who have multiple seizures a month, especially idiopathic seizures without a clear underlying cause. The healing power of stem cells can decrease the amount of medication that is needed to control seizures and decrease monthly frequency.
If you envision the body’s irregular biochemical processes as a car accident, stem cells function like a police officer who redirects cars and reorganizes the highway in order to get traffic flowing smoothly once again. Combined with the anti-inflammatory properties of stem cells, this natural therapy provides an unprecedented way to get to the root causes of seizures and potentially eliminate them altogether.
How to Find Canine Stem Cell Therapy Near You
You can’t walk into any local vet clinic and expect to find stem cell therapy services. Only a veterinarian certified to perform HUC-DT stem cell therapy can provide the simple, safe, effective, and affordable stem cell therapy capable of reversing your dog’s seizures.
Stem Cells For Dogs can help you find a vet in your local area who is qualified and trained to perform this regenerative procedure. You only want the best for your dog, and that’s exactly what stem cell therapy delivers.