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May 4, 2013
"I have idiopathic epilepsy (canine epilepsy) and I am still a happy healthy boy... And cute, too."

“I have idiopathic epilepsy (canine epilepsy) and I am still a happy healthy boy… And cute, too.”

If you read yesterday’s post, you know my Aussie mix dog Pierson has recently had another seizure. No worries, though. He is fine. Most dogs that have problems with seizures have what is called idiopathic epilepsy. This sounds terrible, and it can be for a few. But in most cases, it is mild enough and infrequent enough that medication is not even needed. Most dogs with canine epilepsy live long healthy lives.

I’ve never had a dog with seizures before Pierson. But thanks to the internet and all my dog blog friends, I’ve known about canine epilepsy for some time. Because I had foreknowledge, I was able to remain calm when Pierson had his first episode in January. So that you can have foreknowledge too, read through the following facts:

What Can Cause a Seizure in Dogs:

* Brain injury
* Distemper
* Heat stroke
* Vaccines
* Brain tumor
* Poisoning
* Kidney or liver failure
* Low blood sugar
** All these sound scary. But the most common reason for a seizure is idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is caused by none of the above. In fact, the cause is not known at all. Veterinarians generally label a dog with seizures as having idiopathic epilepsy when all of the above possible causes for the seizure have been eliminated.

While it may seem frustrating to not know what is causing your dog’s seizure, at least with a diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy you will know your dog wasn’t poisoned and that he doesn’t have a brain injury. It may also help to know that it is unlikely your dog feels any pain while seizing.

What To Do If Your Dog is having a Seizure:

* Move stuff out of the way so your dog doesn’t hurt themselves on something.
* Don’t put anything in your dog’s mouth.
* Try not to touch your dog while he is seizing.
* Remain calm.
* Call your veterinarian.
* Go to the vet after you have called them. Don’t talk on your phone while driving and remember to drive safe.

To read about Pierson’s first seizure, check out this article of Pierson’s Seizure on my American Dog Blog. Click the links in that article for more detailed information about canine epilepsy.

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3 Responses to “Pet Safety Saturday – Canine Epilepsy”

  1. Jodi:

    I imagine it’s horrifying to watch your dog and not be able to immediately help. I hope there are ways to limit his seizures.

  2. Dawn Frost:

    Our lab rescue, Morgan, has epileptic seizures. Thankfully, most are petit mal. Unlike your advice above stating that you shouldn’t touch your dog while seizing, for Morgan, if we don’t place our hands on his back and speak to him softly, he tries to paddle toward us which makes him seize longer.

    Pierson, by the way, is a very handsome dog and he is lucky to have you. 🙂

    By the way, what do you do to keep Pierson safe in your vehicle in case he seizes. We have a backseat hammock for Morgan. The hammock keeps him from getting caught in cracks and crevices.

  3. MayaAndPierson:

    Hi, Dawn Frost! Dawn Ross here. You know, I read on several web sites and also heard from my vet that touching your dog while he is seizing could make them seize longer, but I touched Pierson both times he seized and I believe it actually helped him come out of it quicker. Every dog is different so who’s to say.

    Pierson wears his dog seat belt in the car. I also have the floor of the car covered with the Backseat Bridge from Kurgo. If he seizes in the car, he is not going to fall and hurt himself anywhere.

    Thanks for your experience with canine epilepsy and thanks for stopping by! 🙂