Dog seizures can happen in any breed of dog, although there are a few breeds that have a genetic trait that makes them more likely to get seizures.
Idiopathic epilepsy is genetic in many dog breeds and is familial; meaning that it runs in certain families or lines of animals. Breeds most prone to idiopathic epilepsy include the Beagle, Keeshond, Belgian Tervuren, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Vizsla and Shetland Sheepdog. Multiple genes and recessive modes of inheritance are suggested in the Bernese Mountain Dog and Labrador Retriever, while non-gender hormone recessive traits has been proposed in the Vizsla and Irish Wolfhound. There are also recessive traits in the English Springer Spaniel which can lead to epilepsy, but it does not appear to affect all members of the family. Seizures are mainly focal (involving localized areas of the brain) in the Finnish Spitz. Source
Here’s what you need to know (and do!) if you think your dog has had a seizure, plus some videos of dogs having seizures so you can see that dogs typically come out of seizures just fine — even though the dog seizure itself can seem quite violent and scary…
Types Of Dog Seizures
Not all seizures will have your dog on the floor shaking. There are many different types of dog seizures .
Two distinctly different types are quite common:
- In some cases, a seizure may be limited to just your dog’s face or even his legs. This type of seizure is known as partial seizure . You may not even notice that he is having a seizure!
- The moderate or grand mal seizure is the one that most people think of when they hear the word seizure. This is where
your dog’s entire body is affected by the seizure. Typically, the dog falls to the floor shaking and he temporarily loses consciousness.
Generalized seizures affect the whole body and can be divided into 2 types, grand mal and petit mal. Grand mal seizures are the most common. A dog experiencing a grand mal seizure usually falls on her side and has uncontrollable muscle activity such as kicking her legs as if swimming or paddling. Salivation is profuse and often the dog involuntarily urinates and defecates. The dog is unaware of you, her surroundings, or her own actions. Petit mal seizures do not result in convulsions, but the animal loses consciousness. It may look like the dog just collapsed. Source
What Dog Seizures Look Like
- Pre-ictal – Your dog may suddenly become nervous or agitated. While appearing restless, he may start to pace, seek affection, salivate, whine, or hide. These signs occur just minutes before the actual seizure begins. This phase can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
- Ictal – This is the actual seizure itself. Your dog’s muscles will visibly contract in an uncontrollable spastic motion. Your dog will likely fall over and appear stiff-legged (or paralyzed) while he is convulsing. Your dog may also lose control of his bowels at this time. Dog seizures themselves usually last from a few seconds to a few minutes.
- Post-ictal – Your dog’s seizure is officially over, however he will still be disoriented and confused during this time. He will likely be panting and salivating excessively, and he may even appear to be blind temporarily after the ordeal.
Here are some video examples of dog seizures…