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Seizures In Older Dogs: What You Need to Know

It’s frightening when an older dog experiences a seizure, especially if they’ve never had one before. I know this from my own experience with seizures in older dogs senior pets.

However, knowing that your dog’s seizures aren’t painful may give you peace of mind. 

Of course, your dog may experience anxiety and bewilderment, but they will not be in pain during the seizure. However, because a senior dog having seizures can indicate a serious problem, it’s critical to notify your veterinarian.

WHAT IS A SEIZURE?

Seizures is a most commonly reported neurological condition in dogs by pet parents. A seizure, sometimes known as convulsions or a fit, is an uncontrollable electrical disruption in the brain. It is frequently accompanied by uncontrollable body movements and changes in behavior or consciousness. Epilepsy occurs when a dog experiences recurring seizures, either as single occurrences or in clusters.

Dog seizures can range from twitch to severe convulsions, and they can last a few seconds or many minutes. A generalized seizure, often known as a grand mal seizure, is the most well-known type of dog seizure. This type has an impact on both sides of the brain. If your dog suffers a generalized seizure, he or she will likely lose consciousness and move spastically in all four limbs.

A focal seizure, which affects only one area of the brain, is another type of seizure in dogs. A focused seizure is typically characterized by abnormal movements on one side of the body or in one limb. Over time, focal seizures frequently lead to generalized seizures.

A dog acting abnormally is a sign of a psychomotor seizure. They’ll do things like attack an object that isn’t there. Because dogs perform unusual things all the time, this sort of seizure is difficult to diagnose. During seizures, however, they consistently exhibit the same behavior.

Finally, idiopathic epilepsy occurs when dogs suffer seizures for no apparent reason. Idiopathic epilepsy is assumed to be inherited, and it primarily affects dogs between the ages of six months and six years. Epilepsy is rarely the underlying reason for an old dog experiencing seizures for the first time because it is almost typically detected in their younger years.

WHAT HAPPENS IF A DOG HAS A SEIZURE?

When a dog has a seizure, it probably depends on the sort of seizure, a dog’s mental awareness may change, such as appearing bewildered and having a tremor. In the case of a grand mal seizure, dogs frequently fall over, become stiff, and may paddle with their limbs. They can speak, drool, and have incontinence.

Dogs are frequently puzzled and bewildered after having a seizure. They may walk aimlessly, become temporarily blind, pace back and forth, engage in compulsive behavior, and have heightened hunger and thirst. Some dogs recover quickly and act as if nothing happened, whilst others can take up to 24 hours to return to their normal selves.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF DOG SEIZURE?

The signs of a dog seizure vary greatly. Dogs usually behave differently before having a seizure. They may appear nervous, hide, or remain quite close to you. They may tremble, salivate, or appear agitated or bewildered. These behavioral changes might occur just before the seizure or up to several hours before it. This is referred to as the preictal period.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR DOG IS HAVING A SEIZURE?

Well, here are some suggestions for dealing with a seizure in your senior dog:

  • Maintain your composure. As a pet parent, I understand this is a tall order, but I try to stay focused on the situation at hand.
  • Your dog’s seizure should be timed. This can be useful information for your veterinarian in the future.
  • Contrary to popular perception, dogs and humans do not swallow their tongues during seizures. Never try to grasp your dog’s tongue by sticking your hand in their mouth. There’s a danger you’ll be bitten and gravely hurt accidentally.
  • Keep your pet away from stairwells and other objects that could injure them if they fall. During a seizure, it is safest if they are on the ground. Cushion his or her head and speak gently and reassuringly to them till they awaken.
  • A dog’s body temperature may rise if a seizure lasts more than two or three minutes, and he or she may get hyperthermia. This can have significant consequences. Using cold, wet towels to wrap around their necks, paws, and crotch can help to decrease the rise in body temperature.
  • Even if your dog looks in good health afterward, call your vet straight away and tell them what occurred.
  • If your dog suffers more than one seizure in a 24-hour period, or if the seizure lasts more than a few minutes, take him or her to the veterinarian right once.
  • Keeping a journal is an excellent idea that chronicles their symptoms as well as the date, time, and length of any seizures to assist your veterinarian in determining if there’s a trend.

WHAT CAUSES DOG SEIZURES?

Dog seizures can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Ingesting poison
  • Anemia
  • Diabetes
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Kidney disease
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Liver disease
  • Head injury
  • Encephalitis
  • Brain tumor
  • Stroke
  • Canine epilepsy (notice that old dog seizures are rarely caused by epilepsy if they did not have it when they were younger).

HOW ARE SEIZURES IN OLDER DOGS DIAGNOSED AND TREATED?

To Identify the cause of seizures, your veterinarian will interview you about your senior dog’s history. They’ll want to know whether your dog has been exposed to toxins or if he’s had any head injuries. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination, lab testing, and maybe an electrocardiogram or ECG. If all of the results from the tests come back normal, but your dog continues to have seizures, your veterinarian may recommend more testing, such as spinal fluid analysis, a CT scan, or an MRI.

The treatment of dog seizures begins with identifying and resolving the underlying cause. If diabetes is the root cause of the problem, controlling it will be a top concern. Recurrent seizures are commonly treated with medication, such as an anticonvulsant. It is vital to strictly adhere to your veterinarian’s prescription instructions. Never miss a dose or stop taking it on your own, as this can lead to more severe seizures in the future.

While seizures in older dogs might be upsetting, your veterinarian will work with you to figure out what’s causing them and try to help you control them.