Many dogs, young and old, develop seizures, involuntary paroxysmal disturbance in the function of the nervous system.  More simply, a wave of electrical discharge that starts in the brain and continues down the spinal cord resulting in a convulsion. The type of seizure depends on which area(s) of the brain the wave starts in.

Most dogs have a generalized seizure in which both sides of the cerebrum trigger loss of consciousness, collapsing, vigorous paddling of limbs, involuntary urination and defecation, and salivation.  This is the ictal phase which can last from thirty seconds to five minutes.

It is preceded by a pre-ictal phase in which the dog may seem to sense something is wrong, demonstrated by nervousness, attention seeking, drooling, or hiding.  The post-ictal phase is when the dogs are exhausted and disoriented after the seizure.  Some may have temporary blindness.

Partial seizures arise in one side of the cerebrum and result in muscle group twitching of the face or limb on only one side.  Focal motor seizures start in the temporal area and cause abnormal behavior like imaginary fly biting, tail chasing, rage, or hysteria.

Through the seizures are difficult to watch, the dog does not feel pain and they don’t swallow their tongue.  Be careful not to get close to their face, as some may accidentally bite in the ictal and post-ictal phase.  Make sure to close access to stairs, pad sharp corners, and try to place a potty pad or towel under their hind end to collect waste.  Most seizures are over by the time you call the clinic, but have your dog seen in order to evaluate for possible causes of seizure activity.

Courtesy – Dr. Carla Edwards