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Veterinarian Advice: Canine Seizures and Canine Epilepsy

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Few events are as terrifying as watching your pet during a full seizure. One second he looks normal and the next he’s on his side, eyes glazed over, muscles twitching frenetically. He can even lose control of his bladder or bowel. Due to the abnormal electrical activity in the brain, this episode may only last seconds, but when it does, time seems to move in slow motion.

For some dogs this is a once in a lifetime experience, but in most cases seizures will recur. If this is the case, and the abnormal electrical activity is caused by an underlying problem in the brain, the condition is known as epilepsy.


You might think that diagnosis and treatment are easy since epilepsy is quite common. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Patients often show no signs; diagnostic tests are often negative; and, at least initially, the actual seizure events may be infrequent. These factors can contribute to a decision to adopt a wait-and-see approach, which can lead to problems later.

Dr. Michael Podell, veterinary neurologist at the Animal Emergency and Critical Care Center in Northbrook, Illinois, notes, “It is important to identify the underlying cause as much as possible. Sometimes it’s easy to be conservative. [but] Unfortunately, it can often be a more serious problem. “



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