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Understanding Your Canine Companion

Seizures in dogs can be a frightening and disheartening experience for pet owners. Witnessing your furry friend go through such an episode can leave you feeling helpless and concerned about their wellbeing. Understanding the common causes and signs of seizures in dogs is crucial for early detection and proper management, ensuring the best possible care for your beloved pet. In this blog post, we will delve into the common causes and signs of seizures in dogs.

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Idiopathic Epilepsy

Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common cause of seizures in dogs. It is a genetic disorder with no identifiable underlying cause, typically affecting dogs between the ages of six months and six years. Breeds predisposed to idiopathic epilepsy include Beagles, Belgian Tervurens, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. Please note that epilepsy is not limited to these breeds and if you are worried it is best to seek medical advice from a local vet.

Structural Brain Disorders

Structural abnormalities in the brain, such as tumours, inflammation, or malformations, can lead to seizures in dogs. These issues may be congenital or acquired later in life due to infections, trauma, or exposure to toxins.

Metabolic Disorders

Imbalances in blood sugar levels, liver function, or electrolytes can cause seizures in dogs. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hepatic encephalopathy (liver dysfunction), and imbalances in sodium or calcium are common examples of metabolic issues that can lead to seizures.


Exposure to toxic substances, such as lead, antifreeze, or certain pesticides, can cause seizures in dogs. Ingestion of toxic plants, human medications, or food items containing xylitol (a sugar substitute) can also trigger seizures.


Viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that affect the brain or nervous system can lead to seizures in dogs. Examples include canine distemper, rabies, and fungal infections like cryptococcosis.

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Pre-ictal Phase

This is the period leading up to the seizure, which can last for a few seconds to a few hours. During this phase, a dog may display restlessness, anxiety, or clinginess. They may also seek out their owner for comfort.

Ictal Phase

This is the actual seizure itself, which can last from a few seconds to several minutes.

Post-ictal Phase

This is the period immediately following the seizure, which can last for a few minutes to several hours. During this phase, a dog may display disorientation, confusion, or temporary blindness. They may also be unsteady on their feet or excessively thirsty. Its important to note if your dog is experiencing a seizure then call their vet immediately for medical support.


In conclusion we advise to always be attentive to your dog’s behaviour, as early detection of seizure symptoms can make a significant difference in treatment outcomes. You could keep a seizure log to track the frequency and severity of episodes if your dog is prone to seizures, and consult with a veterinarian to establish an appropriate treatment plan. By being proactive and well-informed, pet owners can help their dogs lead healthier, more comfortable lives despite the challenges posed by seizures.

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