Some pups are prone to seizures due to their genetics, while others may develop them due to an underlying disease. While you can’t always tell whether your pooch will suffer from seizures, there are certain things you can look for that may indicate he’s predisposed to developing them. Certain behaviors and symptoms may mean that a seizure is imminent.
Some dog breeds are genetically more predisposed to developing seizures than others. Breeds including German shepherds, Belgian tervuren, beagles, dachshunds and keeshond may develop what are known as idiopathic seizures, which have no definitive cause, according to the Canine Epilepsy Resources website. Other breeds that could be affected by seizures, include the golden retriever, Labrador retriever, vizsla, Shetland sheepdog, Bernese mountain dog, Irish wolfhound and Finnish spitz, according to petMD. Scientists have even discovered a gene that seems to be responsible for seizures in Belgian shepherds, according to a March 2012 study published in ScienceDaily.
Signs that Seizures are Imminent
If your pooch is exhibiting strange behaviors, including nervousness and fear without a real cause, it could be a sign that a seizure is about to happen. Other signs of an impending seizure include attention-seeking behaviors, crying, pacing, salivating or seeking seclusion. These symptoms can occur within hours of a seizure occurring, according to the VCA Animal Hospitals website. This period of strange or altered behavior is known as the aura or pre-ictal phase, in which your pooch can sense that something is wrong and feels a seizure coming on. If you can, it's best to get your pup to the vet to see if a seizure really is coming or something else is going on.
Pooches Predisposed to Seizures
Some pups may develop seizures due to conditions such as diabetes, stroke, encephalitis, poisoning, liver or kidney failure. Giving a diabetic dog too much insulin can induce a seizure because of the drop in blood sugar. Small- and toy-breed pups who aren't fed regular meals may have seizures due to low blood sugar. A pooch who has recently given birth to puppies may experience seizures due to the drop in blood calcium levels that can happen after whelping, warns WebMD. If you suspect your pup is ill or has been improperly fed, get him to the vet right away.
Forget the Crystal Ball
While you may not be able to predict with a high degree of certainty whether your pup will have a seizure, watch him for signs of illness and feed him enough to keep him at a healthy weight to prevent seizures from developing. For his safety, keep him away from potential toxins such as insecticides, chocolate, antifreeze, strychnine and lead, warns WebMD. Not only can these poisons make your pooch sick, but they can result in seizures. Regular checkups with your vet can help prevent underlying conditions that could result in seizures. If your pup does develop seizures, anticonvulsant medications can control them along with supervision from your vet.
By Susan Paretts
petMD: Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs
VCA Animal Hospitals: Seizures -- General for Dogs
WebMD: Seizure Disorders in Dogs
ScienceDaily: New Epilepsy Gene Located in Dogs
Canine Epilepsy Resources: Seizures in Dogs
petMD: Seizures (Epileptic) in Dogs
About the Author
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, crafts, television, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared in "The Southern California Anthology" and on Epinions. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.