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Signs That Your Dog May Be Having a Seizure

For most of us, dogs are members of our family. It can be downright terrifying if your dog starts to have health issues, especially when a seizure is one of the symptoms. However, it can be difficult to tell whether or not your dog is actually having a seizure.

Types of Seizures

Each type of seizure comes with its own set of symptoms. Some are easy to spot and others are not. The three types of seizures are:

• Petite mal
• Grand mal
• Cluster

1. Petite mal seizures

Petite mal seizures are the hardest to detect. Characterized by clicking teeth and repeated blinking, they are barely noticeable.

2. Grand mal seizures

Grand mal seizures are both easy to detect and extremely dangerous. When dogs experience a grand mal seizure, they may fall over, grind their teeth, salivate excessively, lose control of their bladder and bowels, jerk uncontrollably, and kick their legs violently. It is possible during a grand mal seizure for the dog to lose consciousness.

3. Cluster seizures

Cluster seizures are essentially a series of grand mal seizures that occur within concurrent 24-hour periods. The dog may have time after each seizures to return to consciousness and recover. If your dog suffers a series of seizures with no recovery time in between, take him or her to a vet immediately.

Seizure Stages and Symptoms

If you are aware that your dog is prone to having seizures, knowing what happens during each stage of the crisis will help you prepare. There are three stages to each seizure:

• Prodromal Stage
• Ictus Stage
• Postictal Stage

A. Prodromal Stage

The prodromal stage is the beginning of the seizure. Your dog will appear stressed, worried, or frightened. Your dog will either seek affection from you or try to hide. At this point, you should gather towels and blankets to cushion the dog. Clear a space of furniture and other items so your dog doesn’t get hurt if he or she should fall down. Gently coax the dog into this safe area in order to prevent further injury.

B. Ictus Stage

The ictus stage is the seizure itself. This is when your dog might become unconscious, suffer uncontrollable muscle spasms, and lose control over bladder and bowels. During this stage you should stay clear of your dog’s legs and mouth to prevent harm from coming to you. To comfort your dog, gently stroke it and speak in a low, calm voice.

C. Postictal Stage

The postictal stage is the end of the seizure. At this point, your dog will be exhausted and disoriented. This can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. Some dogs may experience temporary blindness or deafness during the postictal stage.

Seizures are a Symptom

It’s important to remember that seizures don’t just happen out of the blue. They have a cause. If your dog has a seizure, the best course of action is to take him or her to a veterinarian to explore the potential causes, which can range from ingested toxins to brain tumors.

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