What Is Intestinal Seizures In Dogs

If your dog suffers seizures, the kind and intensity of the seizures can change from one situation to the next. Here, our Bartlett veterinarians describe the various canine seizure forms.

Dog Seizures

Dogs can have a variety of seizure kinds, and it’s not uncommon for a single dog to go through several different types of seizures. Additionally, the way that each of these several seizures affects a particular dog might also vary greatly.

Usually, dogs’ seizures come on suddenly and last only a short while (a few seconds to a couple of minutes).

Pet owners frequently worry that their dog would hurt itself during a seizure, but this is uncommon.

Even if the seizure is brief, you should still call your veterinarian to let them know what has happened. Not all dogs who experience seizures need to see their veterinarian. Your veterinarian will inform you whether or not your dog needs to be examined when you chat with them.

Focal or Partial Seizures in Dogs

Dogs who experience focal seizures, also known as partial seizures, only experience them in a specific area of the affected brain half. Depending on your dog’s level of consciousness when the seizure is occurring, these seizures might be simple or complex. When a dog has a simple focal seizure, they often remain awake; but, if your dog has a complex focal seizure, consciousness is likely to be more compromised.

Signs of a Simple Focal Seizure

Dogs having a straightforward focal seizure may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Hallucinations (Your dog may bark, growl or moan at nothing, bite at the air or behave fearfully for no apparent reason)
  • changes in vision or hearing symptoms
  • Standing erect, fur
  • dilated eyes
  • Balance issues
  • uncontrollable motions
  • Muscles in particular can contract and relax.

Generalized Seizures in Dogs

Dogs’ generalised seizures affect both sides of the brain. A focal seizure frequently develops into a generalised seizure before it happens. When a dog has a generalised seizure, they typically pass out and may urinate or defecate while they’re unconscious.

Types of Generalized Seizures

Different types of generalised seizures can be distinguished by movement on both sides of the body:

  • Tonic: Muscle tightening or contraction
  • Clonic: Uncontrollable jerking or fast, rhythmic muscle contractions
  • Tonic-Clonic: Immediately after a tonic phase, a clonic phase occurs (see above)
  • Sporadic jerks or motions on both sides of the body are known as myoclonic.
  • Atonic seizures, sometimes known as “drop attacks,” will suddenly cause the dog to pass out.
  • a cluster of seizures is when a dog has two or more seizures in a 24-hour period while remaining fully conscious in between them.
  • Status epilepticus refers to either a single seizure lasting more than five minutes or a series of seizures occurring quickly with no regaining of consciousness in between. The moment your dog experiences a Status Epilepticus seizure, call your veterinarian for assistance. Seizures that continue more than five minutes may be fatal.

Focal Seizure Into Generalized Seizure

The most frequent type of seizures in dogs is focal seizures that progress to generalised seizures. The focal seizure is frequently so brief or modest that pet parents fail to notice the warning symptoms.

If your dog experiences a generalised seizure, attempt to recall their precise last action just before the generalised seizure started. Before the seizure started, was there any strange behaviour? Give your veterinarian a thorough account of what transpired. The more information your veterinarian has regarding your dog’s activities prior to the generalised seizure, the better equipped they will be to identify the sort of seizure your dog experienced and its potential causes.

What are the four dog seizure types?

It can be pretty frightening to watch your dog experience a seizure. If you have never dealt with a dog’s seizure before, you usually have no idea what to do. You make an appointment with your veterinarian when the event is done, and they advise you to consult a veterinarian expert, specifically a veterinary neurologist who focuses on the neurological systems of animals. Given that there are various seizure kinds that dogs might experience, your primary veterinarian emphasises the significance of obtaining the correct diagnosis for your pet’s overall care and health.

If you’re like the majority of people, you had no idea that there were many dog seizure kinds. To develop the best treatment strategy moving forward, it is critical to receive the proper diagnosis. A quick, uncontrolled electrical impulse in the brain typically causes a seizure. Muscles are triggered, briefly interrupting normal brain activity. Dogs typically flop to the ground during seizures and writhe around while being unconscious of the seizure.

  • Grand mal or generalised seizures. These are the most typical seizure forms in canines. Convulsions that cause a dog to lose consciousness might last anywhere between a few seconds and a few minutes. All areas of the brain are disturbed during a seizure.
  • focal or fragmented seizures Only one area of the dog’s body has a seizure when this kind of seizure in dogs occurs in just one part of the brain. Although they only last a few seconds, these can develop into generalised seizures.
  • psychomotor convulsion. This kind of seizure in dogs is characterised by odd behaviour and only lasts a few minutes. Dogs who experience this kind of seizure will abruptly attack their tails or other hidden objects. Dog seizures can be challenging to spot, yet your dog performs the same movement pattern during each episode.
  • idiopathic epilepsy Idiopathic seizures occur when no classification can be made of them (similar to idiopathic head tremors we discussed in our last blog post).

Similar to canine idiopathic head tremors, seizures frequently have unidentified causes in dogs. The following is a list of several causes of seizures in dogs:

  • genetic abnormality
  • Some form of poison was consumed.
  • brain injury
  • kidney failure (or renal disease)
  • liver illness
  • brain cancer
  • Not to worry. Dogs do not feel pain during seizures, but they may feel uneasy.
  • Don’t give your dog anything to chew on. During a seizure, dogs don’t swallow their tongues. Your dog could get hurt if you put something in its mouth.
  • Purge the vicinity where the dog is. Check to make sure your dog won’t accidentally hurt themselves by falling down a nearby stairwell or onto something dangerous or sharp.
  • Schedule a visit with your primary veterinarian. He or she will check your dog out, go over recent events, give a physical exam, and possibly take a blood sample. These initial exams will rule out common liver, kidney, and heart diseases as well as any potential heartworm issues. A referral to a professional, such as the veterinary neurologists of Veterinary Neurologist and Imaging of the Chesapeake, may be necessary if all of these tests are negative.

A seizure event lasting longer than five minutes is referred to as a cluster seizure, which is not a specific seizure type (also known as status epilepticus). It’s crucial to take your dog to an emergency veterinarian right away if he or she experiences a protracted seizure. Your dog’s temperature might increase to risky levels during cluster seizures, which can cause brain damage.

Pets with central nervous system diseases are the focus of a veterinary neurologist. When treating your dog, he or she can draw on a wide range of instruments, as well as much knowledge and experience.

We employ MRIs at Veterinary Neurologist and Imaging of the Chesapeake to obtain a chemical, radiofrequency, and magnetic wave-based imaging of the brain. We also perform spinal taps (CSF taps), which extract a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing and provide us with further details on the central nervous system’s microscopic environment. These instruments, along with other diagnostic procedures, may be used to rule out potential reasons for your pet’s seizures so that we can identify the actual cause.

As previously indicated, if the seizure is labelled as an idiopathic seizure, the aetiology may not be known. We can still manage the symptoms, though. Depending on the diagnosis, we may recommend drugs to reduce or stop the seizures. Anticonvulsants are medications that must be taken continuously for the rest of one’s life because stopping treatment can result in more severe seizures than before.

Can dogs get seizures from intestinal problems?

Simple issues like overeating to more serious conditions like pancreatitis and sodium ion overdose can cause digestive issues in dogs. Having stated that, owners frequently have the good fortune to stay away from the terrifying things. Inflammation of the digestive tract is a factor in the majority of canine digestive issues. Inappropriate eating habits are frequently the source of the inflammation. When your dog consumes something he shouldn’t have, that is. With those pouty expressions, dogs have a talent for winning over owners, and occasionally they are successful. However, you should hesitate before giving in if your dog tries to persuade you to share any of your leftover food or table scraps.

Many of the everyday things you eat can have negative impacts on your dog’s digestive system. High-fat foods can be challenging for your dog’s pancreas to process and, in some situations, can cause canine pancreatitis. These foods include bacon, ham, and meat trimmings. The same holds true for foods that contain a lot of sodium. Dogs who consume too much salt may develop sodium ion poisoning, which can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, and convulsions.

Foods containing methylxanthines are especially dangerous to dogs since they can cause increased panting, thirst, hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, and even death. Chocolate, coffee, and caffeine-containing foods are the most popular methylxanthines-containing foods consumed by owners. Additionally, dogs should never be given grapes, macadamia nuts, dairy, onions, garlic, chives, or Xylitol because they are all extremely hazardous to them. If you have any concerns about what your dog can safely eat, it is always a good idea to speak with a veterinarian.

What results in dog mal seizures?

One of the neurological diseases in dogs that is most frequently observed is seizures. A seizure, which is often referred to as a convulsion or fit, is a brief, unconscious disruption of regular brain activity that is typically accompanied by uncontrollable muscle movement.

Recurrent seizure events are referred to as epilepsy. Seizures brought on by epilepsy might be isolated or come in groups, random and infrequent or occurring on a regular schedule.

What causes seizures?

Seizures can have a variety of reasons. The most frequent cause of seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy, which is a hereditary condition with an unidentified root cause. There are more causes, such as liver disease, kidney disease, brain tumours, head injuries, or poisons.

Seizures frequently happen during periods of fluctuating brain activity, such as when a dog is excited, eating, sleeping, or waking up. Between seizures, affected dogs may seem entirely normal.

What happens during a typical seizure?

Three things can cause seizures:

1) The pre-ictal phase (aura), during which the dog’s behaviour is altered, is characterised by hiding, nervousness, or a desire to find the owner. It could be fidgety, anxious, complaining, trembling, or drooling. This could go on for a short while or several hours. This time frame comes before the seizure activity, as if the dog can know what is about to happen.

2) The duration and appearance of the ictal phase might range from a few seconds to many minutes. A total loss of consciousness and bodily functions might occur during the ictal phase, as can subtle alterations in mental awareness such a confused expression, slight shivering, staring out in the distance, or licking the lips. All of the body’s muscles contract spastically and wildly during a grand mal seizure in which the dog loses consciousness. The dog typically collapses on its side, paddles its legs, and appears to be paralysed. Frequently, the head will tilt backward. Salivation, urination, and faeces are all possible. The dog is deemed to be in status epilepticus, which is a prolonged seizure, if it doesn’t stop in five minutes (see below).

3) Confusion, disorientation, salivation, pacing, restlessness, or even momentary blindness occur during the post-ictal phase, or the time immediately following the termination of the seizure. The length of the post-ictal phase and the severity of the seizure are not directly correlated.

Is a seizure painful or dangerous to the dog?

Seizures don’t hurt, despite their dramatic and violent appearance, yet the dog may experience disorientation and possibly terror. It’s a myth that dogs swallow their tongues when they’re having seizures, but this is untrue. You won’t be able to help your pet if you put your fingers or another object in its mouth, and you run the risk of getting severely bit or hurting your dog. It’s crucial to prevent the dog from falling or harming itself by accidentally slamming things upon it. There is little possibility of harm happening as long as it is on the floor or ground.

The dog is rarely in danger from a single seizure. However, the body temperature starts to rise if the dog experiences several seizures quickly (cluster seizures) or if a seizure lasts for more than a few minutes. In the event that hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) follows a seizure, additional issues must be resolved.

What is status epilepticus?

Status epilepticus is a grave and potentially fatal condition. A seizure that lasts longer than five minutes is what distinguishes it. The dog may die or sustain irreparable brain damage if intravenous anticonvulsants are not administered very away to interrupt the seizure activity. In the event of status epilepticus, you must seek immediate veterinary care.

Now that the seizure is over, can we find out why it happened?

Your dog’s veterinarian will start by conducting a detailed medical history after a seizure episode, paying special attention to any past experiences with head trauma or exposure to potentially dangerous or hallucinogenic chemicals. A physical examination, blood and urine tests, and occasionally an electrocardiogram will also be carried out by the veterinarian (ECG). These tests eliminate conditions that affect the heart, electrolytes, liver, kidneys, and blood sugar levels. If your dog doesn’t take a monthly heartworm preventative, a heartworm test is done.

Depending on the intensity and frequency of the seizures, more diagnostics may be advised if these tests are normal and there hasn’t been any recent toxic exposure or trauma. Less frequently than once per month, infrequent seizures are less concerning, although they can grow more frequent or more severe. A spinal fluid analysis could be done in this situation.

Specialized procedures like a CT scan or MRI may also be carried out to directly examine the structure of the brain, depending on what is accessible at a referral centre or teaching hospital.

How are seizures treated or prevented?

Treatment typically doesn’t start until a pet has:

1) a month or more between seizures,

2) Seizure clusters in which one seizure is followed by another right away, or

3) Grand mal seizures that are intense or last a long time.

Phenobarbital and potassium bromide are the two drugs that are most frequently prescribed to treat seizures in canines. Other anticonvulsants are currently the subject of research, and novel anticonvulsants like zonisamide (brand name Zonegran) and levetiracetam (brand name Keppra) are gaining popularity. For canines that don’t respond well to conventional therapies, combination therapy is frequently used.

Anticonvulsant medication must be taken continuously once started. There is evidence to suggest that the dog may be more susceptible to future, more severe seizures if anticonvulsant medicine is started and then stopped. If put on anticonvulsant medicine and then quickly taken off of it, even healthy dogs without a history of seizures or epilepsy may be made to have a seizure. Your veterinarian will provide you with detailed instructions for doing this if anticonvulsant medication needs to be stopped or changed for any reason.