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Epilepsy in dogs

Epilepsy in dogs is the result of a neurological impairment of brain functions - an electrical failure occurs in the bioelectric system of the body, resulting in reduced electrical stability and an attack that can occur both in the form of small seizures and in the form of powerful convulsive convulsions.

Often, epilepsy can be a consequence of liver and heart disease, diabetes, brain tumors, as well as the effect of toxic substances or head injuries. In these cases, we are talking about secondary epilepsy.

There are also true epilepsy, which has a connection with hereditary factors and a violation of the neurological functions of the brain, the appearance of which remains unexplored. In such cases, treatment can be directed only at the elimination of symptoms.

Causes of secondary epilepsy

  • Pathologies, provoked by infectious agents (among them - plague, encephalitis, etc.);
  • Intoxication with metals or other toxic compounds, including lead, arsenic, strychnine;
  • Damage to the head and brain;
  • Electric shock;
  • Bites of poisonous snakes and insects;
  • Reducing the level of sugar in the blood, resulting from inadequate production of glucose or with increased utilization of glucose;
  • Diseases of the liver and kidneys;
  • Unbalanced nutrition and an acute shortage of vitamins and minerals, in particular, vitamin B and D, magnesium and manganese;
  • Presence of worms;
  • Prolonged overloading of the nervous system;
  • Insufficiency of thyroid hormones.

It is believed that the most common factor that causes epilepsy in dogs between the ages of one to three years is a genetic predisposition, at the age of over four years - the presence of the above pathologies.

What are the symptoms of epilepsy in dogs?

There are several stages of the disease:

  1. Aura - the presence of symptoms that indicate the approach of an attack. This condition is characterized by the appearance of anxiety, increased salivation, general nervousness. The dog starts whining, rocking, trying to hide. Such symptoms can be short-lived, as a result of which it is not always possible to recognize them immediately.
  2. The ictal phase. At this stage, the animal has a disturbance of consciousness, the head capsizes upward, the pupils dilate, the so-called petrification of the extremities is observed-excessive muscle tension, which is followed by a convulsive attack that affects the muscles of the head and limbs, marked breathing, the discharge of foam from the mouth, often with an admixture blood. Also, during an attack, involuntary urination or bowel movement may occur as a result of bladder failure due to compression of the abdominal wall muscles.
  3. The postictal phase occurs immediately after a seizure. An animal has a state of confusion, disorientation in space, partial blindness. In some dogs, on the contrary, there is a complete decline in strength and the animal can fall asleep. The postictal period can last up to several days.
  4. Epilepticus. This condition is characterized by a prolonged attack or the emergence of several attacks in a row without the onset of improvements, requires urgent medical attention.

What to do in case of an attack?

Often during an attack, the life of a dog is out of danger. First of all, if an attack occurs, the animal should be isolated, immediately protected from contact primarily with children, as well as with animals. Under the dog's head, it is advisable to lay a pillow in order to prevent additional trauma. You can not try to limit the movements of the animal, and also to unclamp the jaws. After the attack has passed, take care of the pet, providing it with the maximal leaving. In the case of an epileptic, the dog should be immediately taken to a veterinary clinic for emergency care. If this is not possible, inject the animal with an intramuscular anticonvulsant. This method can only be used as a last resort.

How is epilepsy diagnosed and treated in dogs?

To diagnose epilepsy, the animal is taken a blood test, an X-ray examination is performed, and an anamnesis of the disease is collected. If no pathologies are found on the basis of all the examinations conducted, it is considered that the animal has true epilepsy.

Anticonvulsants used in epilepsy in dogs:

  • Fentoin. (+) Highly effective, does not cause side effects. (-) Quickly removed from the body, causes a thirst, frequent urination.
  • Phenobarbital. (+) Highly efficient, fast acting. (-) Increases irritability, has an increased diuretic effect, causes thirst.
  • Primidone. (+) Fast and high effect. (-) The presence of only a tablet form of the drug, increased thirst, appetite.
  • Diazepam. (+) Does not cause side effects, quickly acts. (-) Has a short-term effect, causes irritability, nervousness.

Sometimes use phenobarbital in combination with sodium or potassium bromide in the absence of a positive effect from the use of any one type of drug.

Epilepsy in dogs requires prolonged treatment. The choice of the drug, especially the dose of the drug, should be performed by a veterinarian based on the overall clinical picture of the disease.

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