What does a dog seizure look like?
Just like in humans, dog seizures can manifest in several ways. The most common type of seizure noticed by pet parents is the classic grand mal seizure. For grand mal, the signs of a seizure in a dog are a rhythmic, back-and-forth jerk in his legs, which looks like someone is “seizing” him.
When a seizure is just starting, ending or is mild, you may only notice your dog is paddling as if having a dream. If the seizure is severe enough, however, it can cause a dog to fall over, lose consciousness, urinate or defecate indiscriminately, and not respond to his name when called.
After a seizure occurs, a dog may act drunk, wobbly or lose his balance. A dog having a grand mal seizure often is unaware of what he is doing. An aware dog might be frightened.
A seizing dog is not at risk for swallowing his tongue, so prevent accidental bites by never, ever putting your hands or fingers near a seizing dog’s mouth.
Dog seizures also can be focal, which means that only one part or one side of the brain is affected. In these types of seizures, only one side of the pet, one limb or just the face is affected. Dogs usually are conscious and responsive during these focal seizures.
Dogs also can experience partial seizures called paroxysmal episodes where you might notice some twitching or abnormal behavior such as imaginary fly biting. Dogs usually are conscious and responsive during these episodes.
Even though focal seizures and paroxysmal episodes are less severe than grand mal seizures, they still represent abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Therefore, if your dog experiening these types of seizures, seek veterinary advice.
For more information on what causes seizures, read: What Causes Dogs to Have Seizures?
If your dog is having any type of seizure, seek veterinary attention immediately. Most seizures are not life threatening, but prompt veterinary attention is warranted in all cases of dog seizures. Dog seizure medication is available that can help control habitual seizures.
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