Seizures in Dogs

Today I examined two dogs which experienced a seizure last night. Both owners were worried with furrowed brows. Both dogs were happy with wagging tails. Therein lies the truth….seizures are usually harder for the owner to observe than for the dog to endure. In other words, most seizures are harder on us than on our pets.

What is a dog seizure?
A seizure in dogs and people is the physical manifestation of abnormal brain activity. The brain works through the constant transfer of neurological signals between cells. Sometimes, the signals go “haywire” and a seizure occurs.

Imagine a spark in the brain that grows to a fire, then burns down to glowing embers before finally going out. The spark is beginning of abnormal brain activity, the fire is the seizure, and the embers are the remnants of the seizure. These represent the 3 stages of a

seizure.

  • In the first stage called the pre-ictal stage (spark), a dog feels a bit odd. He feels like something is about to happen, but doesn’t know what. Some dogs become agitated in this stage; some run to their owners for comfort; others seek a quiet place.
  • During the seizure (fire), the dog’s response depends on the severity of the seizure (size of the fire). Some dogs become quiet and dazed (absence seizures). Others may twitch a little or bite at imaginary objects, but remain mostly in control of their movements (partial seizures). Still others may fall over and convulse violently thrashing their legs and losing control of bowel and bladder functions (generalized seizures).
  • In the post-ictal phase (embers), the dog may be confused and dis-oriented for several minutes. He may be wobbly or stumble as he tries to walk. As the “embers” die out, the dog returns to normal mental status.

What should you do if your dog has a seizure?
If your dog has a seizure of any sort, try to remain calm. Speak to your dog in a reassuring voice. He may hear you even if he can’t respond. Keep your hands away from his mouth todogseizure prevent unintentional bites. Remember that your dog may not have control of his body movements and he may snap unintentionally. Place a towel or blanket over the dog to provide comfort and to absorb urine/feces. Remain with your dog until he regains full composure.

Keep a journal of all seizures. Record the date, time, what the dog was doing prior to the seizure, how long the seizure lasted and what it looked like. This information will help your veterinarian determine how best to deal with the seizure.

Most seizures are over before the pet owner can dial the veterinary emergency number. Even though it seems like they go on forever in the heat of the moment, seizures often last only a couple of minutes. If the dog loses consciousness or if the seizure lasts more than 5-10 minutes (status epilepticous), he needs to see a veterinarian immediately. Severe seizures may affect brain function permanently.

What causes a dog seizure?

Dogs have seizures for many reasons.

  • Very rarely, dogs have brain tumors.
  • Less rare are bacterial or viral infections of the nervous system such as encephalitis or meningitis.
  • More common causes include metabolic problems involving liver or kidney mal-function. Some dogs have a seizure when they become hypo-glycemic (low blood sugar). Other causes include exposure to toxins (pesticides, poisonous plants, chemicals). But the vast majority of seizures are characterized as epileptic seizures.

Dog epilepsy is the term used to categorize repeated seizures of unknown origin. Some breeds are prone to epilepsy such as beagles, cocker spaniels, boxers, collies, dachshunds, and Irish setters to name a few. Dogs with open fontanels (soft spots on the skull that don’t close) such as Chihuahuas and Pekingese may be more apt to have seizures related to hydrocephalus.

How are dog seizures diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will run a series of tests including blood work, urine tests, and a sampling of cerebro-spinal fluid may indicate kidney failure, liver disease, nervous system infection, or hypo-glycemia.

Radiographs, CT scans, and MRIs may be necessary to rule out a space occupying lesion indog-seizures-while-sleeping-t2 the brain such as a tumor. But, quite often, a definitive cause is never uncovered.

Can dog seizures be treated with medication?

When the frequency or severity of the seizures becomes uncomfortable or dangerous for the pet, it may be necessary to give anti-seizure medications. It is important to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully by giving the medicine in the proper dosage at the recommended time. Missing doses may result in another seizure.

Sometimes, even with medication, dogs may have an occasional seizure. Usually these episodes are not as severe and don’t occur as often as they did before treatment. Once on seizure medication, dogs usually have to take it for the duration of their lives. Read our dog seizure article on MyPetED.com for more information.

Seizures are so scary…but most of the time they aren’t as bad as they seem. My two patients from this morning went home happy. Their owners went home relieved to learn that their dogs were fine. These owners will know how to handle any future seizures safely. And they will remember that the seizure is worse for them than for their dogs. Isn’t that a comfort?

 

193 thoughts on “Seizures in Dogs

  1. after his seizures the vet has increased his medication (2) and he is now like a zombie. He recently had his system shut down and they had to flush the drugs out of him. He was than the real dog I once had. Now he back on the same meds but higher dosage and is a zombie.

    • It sometimes takes a while to regulate seizure medication. The delicate balance involves giving enough medication to eliminate or decrease seizures without over-sedating the dog. There are several factors involved such as the level of function of major organs (kidneys, liver), the severity of seizures, and the medication used. Despite our best efforts as veterinarians, some dogs continue to have seizures. Patience and persistence will help your dog find his best balance.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

    • hi doctor please help with advice. my 2yr old English Bulldog just started haveing all these sings im reading about. i took him to the vet they said it was an ear infection and allergies…. but no he is a very Well Traind dog Never used the bathroom inside now he cant even feel it, he will jus lay in it. he has no balance falls everytime he walks and will throw up threwout the day. and his left side eye is droopy with an inword dip in his head between that eye and his ear! ??
      :’( please give advice.

      • Dear Amakela,
        Your dog needs to be re-evaluated quickly. These signs could indicate a progression of his problem and a need for further diagnostics or treatment. While ear infections can certainly cause signs that resemble central nervous system problems, there may be something else in the works. Make an appointment with your veterinarian or go to an emergency clinic.
        Dr. Lynn

  2. Thank you so much for writing this article. My 6 year old boxer began having seizures recently. Although his had blood tests and brain CT a cause has not been found. He is taking Phenobarbitol, but continues to have generalized seizures lasting 1-2 minutes. I have a medical background and although it helps in dealing with injuries and illnesses in friends and family members, I feel a bit paralyzed in dealing with my best friend’s seizures.
    I’d like to know your opinion on liver enzymes levels and what percentage elevation is expected or accepted. Also, can you enlighten me on whether there is a preferred timing to giving phenobarbitol? His seizures always occur while sleeping. What are some possible triggers to avoid? And lastly… can recurrent seizures, even if mild, cause brain damage or just seizures that last more than 2 minutes?
    Thanks so much for your input!
    From Florence, Italy (95 degrees!)

    • First of all, it’s so exciting to hear from a MyPetEd fan all the way from Italy.
      I can sympathize with your predicament in dealing with seizures, expecially when they are not totally controlled by medication. Seizures are more common in certain breeds, including boxers. Since boxers are prone to tumors, it’s a relief to know that the CT did not reveal any abnormal brain lesions.

      Phenobarbital is a good anti-seizure medication, but its’ effectiveness is dose dependent. Have your veterinarian check blood levels occasionally to verify adequate absorption. Liver enzymes may become elevated in light of certain medications, but mild elevations are not critical. As you know from your medical background, the liver can function quite adequately even when a large percentage of the tissue is impaired. I usually am not concerned with ALT elevations unless they are consistently high. Even then, your choices are few since your dog needs the Phenobarbital regardless of this potential side effect. As for timing of the medication, the most important thing is to give the Phenobarbital at regular intervals to ensure the most consistent blood levels. Try to dose your dog at 12 hour intervals.

      Many dogs experience seizures while sleeping or under anesthesia. It’s as if the seizures occur when the “brain is relaxed” and not guarded. Don’t fret about this too much. Night-time seizures may interrupt your sleep as well as your dogs, but there is not much you can do to avoid them. During waking hours, you can help your dog by avoiding triggers. Sudden noises, bright lights, crowds, presence of strange dogs….anything that makes your dog anxious may trigger a seizure. The good news is that mild seizures, even if frequent, usually do not result in damage to the brain.

      Your dog is very lucky to have you to care for him. Your medical knowledge and attentiveness will certainly help him enjoy a longer, happier life even with his seizure condition.

      Thank you for your comments. By the way, it’s 95 degrees in Louisiana, USA, too!

      All the best,
      Dr. Lynn

  3. I found from giving my German Shepherd both phenobarb which he began with and it dumbed him down something fierce to Sodium something(?) that he wasn’t woozy, stumbling, dumb as a rock on the Sodium benzoate(?), can’t remember the second word. So I dropped the phenobarb and gave him only the sodium compound. More expensive but my dog and I like it lots better. To me it was worth every penny if he felt better on that drug. It didn’t cause a foggy brain, sluggishness, etc that the Phenobarb did.

    • Marti,
      For the highest degree of success, veterinarians depend on observant pet owners who monitor their dogs’ response to various seizure medications. There are many drugs available and finding the best one is a cooperative effort between doctor, owner, and patient. Thanks to your observations, your German Shepherd is taking a medication that works well for him. Just remember to report any changes in his condition to your veterinarian and never change medications or alter dosages without consulting your dog’s doctor first.
      Thanks for your comments which will help other pet owners,
      Dr. Lynn

  4. Dr. Lynn,
    My 1 year old 4.5 pound chihuahua was recently diagnosed with epilepsy on Dec.7, 2012. To make a long story short, i had an MRI, spinal tap, and her fluid samples sent to an outside lab. All came back negative.She was prescribed Kepra 1ml every eight hours and zonisamide 10mg every 12 hours.In the beginning she was a zombi, catatonic, had a hard time getting comfortable, and had a head tilt to the left.I questioned whether i made the right decision by not putting her down.Everything happened so fast, from going to he vet for an emergency visit to the same night being admitted at the neurologist, to the following morning having test done.Once we got her on the zonisamide the seizures stopped. I started lowering her dosage of the kepra and currently shes on kepra .2ml once per day and the same dosage of zonisamide. I’d like to take her completely off the kepra but will consult her neurologist first. It took her about 2 months for her body to get use to the meds and just now, actually yesterday i noticed her head tilt has gone away. We got another dog and i believe played a huge role in her recovery. My questions to you is, her protein count in her spinal tap came back as 68.6mg/dl from the outside lab. From the in house lab at the neurologist it was 30mg/dl. What does a high protein count mean and can it be related to the seizures? Why would the test results be different between the in house lab and outside lab when using the same samples? Lastly, she stopped drinking water when her seizures started and to this day isn’t drinking water.She’ll drink milk and i have to put water in her food to get fluids in her. Thank you for your time.

    Lesley

    • Dear Lesley,
      Sorry to hear of your dog’s neurologic problem; however, from your summary, it sounds like your Chihuahua is in excellent hands. Now for your questions:

      It is not unusual to have variance in lab results between in-house and out-sourced lab tests. The time between taking the sample and evaluating it may have some bearing. Ask you doctor if he is concerned about the discrepancy. My guess is he has confidence in one or both labs.

      Secondly, water intake is important for all dogs, but especially those on with existing health problems or those taking medications that may affect kidney function. Adding a supplement to flavor the water is fine, as long as you consult your veterinarian first. Many dogs are lactose intolerant so if you add milk, do so in small quantities and use skim milk. Ask your veterinarian about the possibility of adding unsalted chicken broth. Anytime you add something to the water, it raises the possibility of increasing bacterial growth, so change water frequently and scrub the water bowl well.

      Good luck with your pup,
      Dr. Lynn

  5. I have,a Pomeranian. He has been on phenobarbital for 8 yrs and Potassium Bromide for 6 yrs. He does pretty well on these meds. He has occasional breakthrough seizures which I give him a extra Phenobarbitol and he’s OK. This only happens about once a month.
    My question is, tonight I got out of routine of giving his phenobarbital with breakfast and bedtime and the Potassium Bromide with dinner. He didn’t eat breakfast because it was storming And he was nervous. so for dinner, I gave him his breakfast. I CAN’T REMEMBER if I put the medicine in his food when I heated it up. should I give it to him now or not? What if I DID already give it to him, I don’t want to OD HIM. BUT, if I DIDN’T GIVE IT TO HIM, he will probably have a seizure. What is the better of the two choices. Give or don’t give? What’s your advice???

  6. Laeanne,
    It’s easy to forget when or if you gave medication to your dog, especially when giving several different drugs, so please don’t feel too badly. There is a delicate balance in controlling seizures and several factors than can “tip” the balance. For example, feeding schedules can affect drug absorption; organ malfunction can affect drug metabolism and excretion; and missing a dose or giving a dose twice can definately alter blood levels of anti-seizure medication. When in doubt, you are likely to do less harm by skipping a dose rather than giving one twice. Please remember that maintaining the balance is essential and having your dog’s phenobarbitol level checked regularly will help maintain the balance. Keep your veterinarian well informed of your dog’s condition. He/she is your dog’s best ally.
    I hope your dog is doing well.
    Dr. Lynn

  7. I have a chihuahua who has cluster seizures about every four weeks, you can almost set your watch to it. We are currently working on finding the right combination of drugs to control/spread out the occurrences. He is on phenobarbital, potassium bromide, and zonisamide. We are currently working on lowering the pheno as his levels are above theraputic. I read Laeanne Farnsworth’s comment about not being able to remember if she gave her dog a scheduled dose, and I can totally relate. I had a couple panic striken moments and have since kept a journal of administered doses, including dates and times. We also went through the zombie/woozy period, ALSO questioned if I was doing the right thing (am I doing all this for ME? should I put him down?). He did get over the woozy period, and my vet had a heart to heart with me explaining this whole long process and that she is determined to get his seizures under control and at this point she believes it is possible. He is a great dog with a wonderful personality so I trudge on. Take it day by day and enjoy him while he’s here.

    • Kim,
      Thank you so much for your informative and encouraging words. Hearing from pet owners who actually care for a seizure dog is the best kind of reinforcement others in the same situation can have. It sounds like you are on top of your dog’s condition and are devoted to his care.
      I wish you all the best,
      Dr. Lynn

  8. My 13 yr old female chihuahua, Cocoa, went missing for 10 days. She was fine before she was gone but when we got her back, she was falling to one side when walking and started having seizures. I took her to the vet and she was put on Kepra and Phenobarbitol, which was increased due to increased twitching. Its not so much seizures like they were but constant twitching, mainly flailing hind legs but does do paddling as well. Before the meds she walked, well at least would try to walk or at least stand for a little while but now she is limp. I hold her like a baby to feed her and really have to support her neck. Is this due to the meds and will she eventually improve once her body gets accustomed to them? Taking her back in for an IV and for the vet to see her again. Her temp is normal, appetite is fine, and she poops/urinates fine. Any help would be appreciated because I hate seeing her like this.

    • Your elderly dog is exhibiting some disturbing symptoms and it may be difficult to arrive at the diagnosis. Complicated cases often require extensive lab tests. Some neurologic disorders like seizures even require a CT scan to look fir brain tumors. Without seeing your dog or reviewing blood and urine tests results, I am not able to make an accurate assessment of her condition.

      Also, your dog’s medications are important to success so keep your veterinarian up to speed on her response to the drugs. Your Pete’s doctor can adjust dosages or try other medications as needed.

      I share your concern for your dog and hope that your veterinarian can find the cause and prescribe an effective treatment plan. Please keep me updated on the progress.

      Wishing you the best,
      Dr. Lynn

      • Dear Dr. Lynn,
        I have a three year old yellow lab who had the second seizure of her life this evening after her dinner (both times only lasted a couple minutes). She was lying on the kitchen floor (under-foot as usual! ;) as I finished preparing our dinner and suddenly went into it with no warning. She remains conscious and is obviously fully aware of what is happening and scared (I see it in her eyes). She was mostly stiff with some body twitching/shaking, and her jaw was clamped shut tight. As it was winding down, she started trying to get up and eventually did but was clearly still somewhat affected (clamped jaw, shaking) for about another minute, but then was totally back to normal with no confusion. Her first episode, around a year ago, started when she was upstairs sleeping (in our old place), or just waking up…? First our other lab came down trying to get us, worried about Honey. Then Honey came and tried getting/stumbling down the stairs to me. Pretty much the same type of episode, clearly aware and very scared. I figured she got into something.

        She tends to be a bit of a “Nervous Nellie” in general, but there are occassionaly times when she acts very nervous for no apparent reason. I’ve thought perhaps it was due to a bad dream as it’s more of an all day thing, but now am questioning that a little.

        Thoughts…?

        Thank you for this post, your continued attention to it, your great advice, and especially your attention and response to my post!
        Best regards,
        Denise

        • Oh, one more bit of info…being a very happy, athletic, active lab (and the best my memory serves), I am certain she has crashed into things (trees, etc.).
          Thanks!
          Denise

          • Although she may have had a few playful accidents (like my Lab did when he was younger), head trauma is probably not the cause of your dog’s seizures. With head trauma, the neurologic problem occurs realtively soon after the accident. This was a good thought and shows that you are a really observant pet owner.

        • Dear Denise,
          Your description certainly does sound like seizure activity. There are many reasons why dog’s have seizures as mentioned in the blog you read, but to determine the cause for your dog will require some basic diagnostic tests. Talk to your veterinarian about ruling out metabolic causes and infectious causes through blood and urine tests. In healthy,young dogs, a definitive diagnosis is sometimes elusive even when sophisticated diagostics like CT scans are performed, so don’t be dissapointed if nothing shows up.

          Maintain a journal of the seizures and write down the details just like you did in your message to me. This information will be quite helpful to your veterinarian in deciding when anti-seizure medication becomes necessary. Usually, we will not prescribe medication if a dog only has one or two episodes a year like your dog is doing.

          In the meantime, don’t fret too much. Observing the seizure is usually harder on the pet owner than the actual seizure is for the dog. Just comfort your Lab with soft words and pet him carefully. Sometimes, even the sweetest dogs bite unintentionally while in the throes of a convulsion.

          Wishing you well,
          Dr. Lynn

          • dr. lynn, our lab had the same issue. She is 10, has had 2.5 seizures, 1 large 1.5 small. She has never had this before. Blood work from the vet checked out very good. We are very conscious about what she eats. All natural etc. the vet put her on zonisamide, seems good, but might have had that small seizure, (wet the bed).What do you think about a all natural drug nuroplex?

          • Dear Matthew,
            Natural, holistic products are often good additions to medical regimens, but remember to check with your veterinarian before giving any non-prescription products to your dog. With the limited number of seizures your Labrador has experienced and the good lab results she had, you are in pretty good shape for now. Continue to monitor what she eats, moderate her activity, and keep a close eye on her.

            Good luck,
            Dr. Lynn

      • Sorry to say my chihuahua died the following week after being on continuous seizure meds and being put on a sedative to stop her seizures. I was pleased at first when she finally was able to rest after coming from the vet but the following morning she no longer was breathing. Thanks for your help.

  9. 3-y-o male, pitbull/ rott with furrowed brows staring expression (wolf-like), droopy eyes, pin-point pupil, upper and lower eye-lids rolled in, nictitating membranes partially covering eye. constant licking of lips, apparently difficulty seeing. Possible causes?

    • While it certainly appears that your dog is experiencing some neurologic problems, it will be difficult to say with certainty that seizures are the cause. With that said, let’s remember that there are many degrees of seizure activity and your dog may be exhibiting a seizure without actually convulsing. Some people refer to these as “partial” seizures.

      Please monitor this unusual activity and record notes in a journal. Write down the date/time/length of the occurrence and describe his symptoms as you did in detail. Also, think back to what the dog was doing prior to the episode. Was he outside or inside? Was he playing or resting? Had he eaten right before? Has your dog been vaccinated for distemper/rabies?

      These details will help your veterinarian not only diagnose the problem but also determine if/when to intervene with anti-seizure medications.

      Keep us posted on your dog’s condition.
      Dr. Lynn

  10. My 6-yr-old Goldendoodle had a seizure yesterday (his first ever) at 3 p.m. and another at 8 p.m. Both episodes lasted about one minute. After the first one, he got up and was normal until the second seizure last night. It’s 9 a.m., and he still won’t get up to go out to pee. He seems aware of me, but extremely tired and unwilling to get up. I want to take him to the vet, but I can’t move him from upstairs. He weighs about 110 pounds. What should I do?

    • Dear Barbara,
      I am sorry to hear that your dog is having seizures, but want to assure you that these episodes usually pass without any lingering side effects. It is common to have 2 or 3 seizures close together and for dogs to be tired or dazed for a while afterwards. Since this is your dog’s first seizure experience, you should have your veterinarian rule out the common causes of seizures with a physical exam and lab work. Your dog may not be ready for anti-convulsive medications yet, but you should continue to journal all episodes. A good history will help your dog’s doctor decide when medical intervention is needed.
      Hope things go well,
      Dr. Lynn

  11. I have a mixed breed dog that I found at 1 year of age and he had a seizure several months after I found him. He had a seizure every 6 months after that like clockwork and the vet said not to worry if only once or twice a year. However, he just had a seizure about 3 months ago and then another one yesterday afternoon. His do not appear to be while he is at rest. They are normally in the afternoon with nothing unusual going on in the home. He always has a seizure, seems to be coming out of it, and then seizes again. They generally last 10 minutes or so, but this last one was in total about 15 minutes.

    • Dear Dorothy,
      I agree with your veterinarian that mild seizures occurring just every 6 months are not usually a cause for concern; however, with the increase in frequency, you may want to have your dog’s doctor rule out possible metabolic causes of seizures by running blood and urine tests. It is also common to have 2 seizures in a row just as you describe. Please remember that these episodes normally are not very uncomfortable for the dog and don’t usually have any lasting effects. With that said, they do warrant some attention.
      Dr. Lynn

  12. Hello,
    I am going crazy! My 3lb chihuahua had a seizure the other night that lasted just under 90mins. No that isn’t a mistype. We found out from the breeder that it turned out the Mom of our three dogs (my Mom has one from the same litter as mine, and another one from the same
    mom diff dad) has epilepsy. My boy has only had seizure on rare occasions, maybe about 5-6 a year. Usually only if he gets hurt, or over heated. The brother from the same litter my mom has and the half brother from the same mom have to both be on seizure medication though, since they have them ever couple days if not more, for no reason. We have a friend of the family that is a vet. When Phantom started his seizure it seemed normal. He was laying in the sun and got over heated. But he wasn’t calming down after a couple minutes, which is odd. I out him under cold water in the sink to drop his temp and kept loving on him. I got my Dad’s friend that’s a vet on the phone. Phantoms seizure had progressed and was worse than I had ever seen. He wanted me to bring him to his office but I moved out of state and couldn’t. He told me to soak Phantom in cold water to make sure his temp stays down and get some Benadryl and give him 12.5mg and go to an emergency vet if it doesn’t get better in a ten minutes or so. I live in a small town. So after the ten minutes (it had been 45 by this point) I tried finding an emergency vet. By the time I got him to the emergency vet and they gave him a shot of Valium it had been almost 90mins. But they said his temp was normal and he had no bruising in his gums or ears so he didn’t seem to have any permanent damage. That vet was a quack though and did nothing for us and sent us on our way. Long story short my vet friend had to get us a script for Valium because phantom kept seizing all day the next day ever hour or two but for only 3 mins. Now when he’s awake ever since the initial seizure he has been in the constant post ictal phase and its making me crazy!!! He circles the house non stop, walks into walls, tries eating everything, acts like a zombie, no personality, and will not sleep! He just keeps trying to walk and not stop! My other two dogs don’t really even acknowledge him anymore because he doesn’t act like himself at all. I feel like my Phantom died and I got left with some brainless zombie. I am so sad and so frustrated. It’s late Sunday night and he had the seizure late afternoon Friday. He hasn’t seized since Saturday afternoon once we got the Valium. Please, is this normal?? How do people deal with it?? I haven’t hardly slept since because he won’t sleep or I’m worried about him. How long will this last?! Will my dog be normal again? I’m so lost. My moms dogs never have acted like this after a seizure and either has he in the past. I’m worried its permanent.

    • Dear Jessica,
      From your description, it sounds like your dog has a significant seizure disorder. You need to make an appointment with a veterinarian at a quality animal hospital and request a seizure work up. This will include a thorough physical examination, blood and urine tests.

      Record the frequency and length of the seizure episodes and share this with the veterinarian. All of this information combined will help your pet’s doctor arrive at the best treatment protocol for your pet. While Vallium is given to stop seizures, there are better medications available to control them or prevent them, so help is possible for your dog.

      Wishing you and your dog the best,
      Dr. Lynn

  13. I have a 13 year old sheltie who is a puppy mill rescue. She was rescued at age 8. She is a great dog and has made such wonderful progress in becoming a family dog. Just this April, she had her 1st seizure (to our knowledge) with paddling, foaming, and air snapping that lasted about 3 minutes. Since we’d not seen this before, we took her to the emergency vet and they did bloodwork and saw a nuerologist in the AM. She was her normal self by morning. We took her a “wait n see” approach but altered her diet to low fat because her cholesterol and liver values were elevated. She had 2 seizures in June and most recently 4 in a cluster event over 24 hours. She has had some improvement in liver and cholesterol values, though they are still high. All other bloodwork is good. 2 days after this cluster event she is still twitchy and unsteady on her feet. Her back legs go out on her or she leans and stumbles. Is that a normal part of recovery?

    My options seem to be 1) continue wait and see, 2) start potassium bromide rather than phenobarbital since her liver values are elevated, 3) do MRI to check brain, 4) do Ultrasound to check liver. My vet is pretty confident that the seizures are a result of epilepsy.

    I’m just looking for a “if she were my dog” opinion. I fear the wait and see option since they seem to be increasing but reading other’s stories about the drugs makes me also fear them.

    Thank you in advance for a reply.

    • PS, I decided to go with the potassium bromide tonight. Also read some interesting ideas about using honey (though she is not hypoglycemic), cold ice pack on the spine, and occular pressure. Any thoughts on those?

      • Monitor him carufully as he transitions from phenobarbital to the potassium bromide. If he is not hypoglycemic, honey is not necessary and is actually contraindicated since some honey contains harmful bacteria. I have no experience with spinal ice packs or ocular pressure, but assume that in inexperienced hands, these options may actually do harm. Go with your veterinarians advice to be safe.
        Dr. Lynn

    • I am sorry to hear that your sheltie is having difficulties, but it sounds like your veterinarian is on top of things and that you have a good understanding of seizure disorders. It is not unusual for dogs to have a delayed recovery from cluster seizures; however, your dog is still exhibiting neurologic signs that warrant attention. Please call your veteriarian for a re-check.

      As far as your options, I’d probably rule out number 1, and consider a change of medication. Potassium bromide may be more liver friendly and possibly more effective in controlling the seizures. The liver ultrasound and continued monitoring of liver enzymes are good ideas because liver malfunction can impact seizures. MRI’s are expensive but are a good rule out of space occupying brain lesions (tumors, abscesses, etc). If options 2 and 3 work out, you may be able to avoid this expense.

      Keep me updated on your dogs progress.
      I wish you both the best,
      Dr. Lynn

  14. I have a 10 years old pomeranian who suffered couple of seizures. I took him to the vet and went through a blood test. The result came out and indicated that four out of three, his liver enzymes levels were high. So I talked to the vet for quite a long time to whether I should give him phenobarbital and the liver medicationat the same time, or just the liver med first because that could be the cause of the seizure. phenobarbital sometimes worsens dogs liver so I’m debating what I should do… can someone please help me… once I start phenobarbital, he can’t stop taking it becuz it could exacerbate his seizure.. thank you so much. Please pray for my chuchu. God bless everyone.

    • Hello,
      I am sorry to hear that your Pomeranian is suffering from seizures and liver complications, too. It is important to control the seizures, and while Phenobarbital is a good medication, it is not the only anti-seizure drug. You may consider utilizing other medications; however, continue to monitor and treat the liver enzyme elevation regardless of the drug you and your veterinarian choose.
      Dr. Lynn

  15. Hi..my German Shepherd is about to have an op on her cruciate ligament and she is an epileptic. What are the chances of her having a fit under anaesethesia? Will she be ok? thank you for your help and peace of mind.

    • Hello,
      A torn cruciate can be effectively and safely repaired in a dog with seizures. The anesthetic your veterinarian chooses will be based on your dog’s physical status and seizure activity. There are ample methods to monitor your dog’s status while under sedation, so feel confident in proceeding with this orthopedic procedure if all checks out OK.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

        • Hi Dr Lynn, turns out to be hip dysplasia in my dog not the cruciate as thought. Is there any inlammatories that she can take that will make her feel good? She is on macrolone (prednisolone) for her arthritis and phenobarb (phenomav) for her epilepsy.

          • It is not advised to mix steroids (prednisone) with other anti-inflammatories. There are other pain relievers that can be given in conjunction with steroids, such as Tramadol which should be safe in epileptic dogs. You may also ask your veterinarian about dog foods (such as Purina JM) or joint supplements (such as Dasequin) designed to give added relief to dogs with joint pain.

  16. Thank you Dr Lynn..another problem has arisen though and that is that she loses a bit of bowel control but not always only sometimes. Is there any medicine that can help this? I mean, it don t mind cleaning up but i would prefer her to be able to go down on the grass in the back. thank you for replying to me.

    • Loss of bowel control is annoying….for you and your dog. If the loss of control occurs not only during seizures, you may want to try a high fiber diet, but speak to your veterinarian first. Any change in her normal lifestyle can affect the seizures.

      • Sorry for pestering you Dr Lynn, i have another problem. My girl is eating her own poop so what can i do about it as it is not good. Thank you again.

  17. Hello Dr Lynn..I took my dog to the vet this morning for her check and asked the vet if there was anything that she could have to keep the pain away. There was a hip op and is
    expensive or a needle which will be given once a week for 4 weeks. I decided that the needles would be ok. I also tols him that she was eating poop and also pooping verywhere and he told me that the cortisone was making her hungry and to bear it for the next week or so as all will be better then. so i am happ to say that all is ok and thank you for your help.

  18. Dear Dr. Lynn,
    My Lab is only having seizures either just before or right at the start of a heat cycle…would it be possible that it could be anything other than epilepsy?
    Thanks!
    Denise

    • Dear Denise,
      Hormones that circulate during estrus (heat cycle) can do lots of odd things, so it is possible that your Labrador’s seizures are related to her cycle; however, you should have her evaluated to rule out other medical causes of the seizures just to be sure.
      Record the date, length, and character of the seizure episodes to give your veterinarian as much information as possible.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  19. so my 6 yr old male boxer is going through something. the vet took blood work which all came back normal. he was having episodes for 2 days and then they just stopped. now he’s having them again. he’s kind of out of it but not totally b/c he is responsive. he’s walking around while having these episodes. he kind of looks like his legs are cramping and when his legs get really bad he starts to fall over. I comfort him and it only last’s about a min and then he shakes off like nothing happened and goes back to his normal self. he’s eating, drinking, going to the bathroom like normal. he’s playing and everything. not sure what to do. does anyone at all have any suggestions…

  20. also, my 6 yr old boxer is not fixed. the vet did say that he had some extra white blood cells in his blood work but she said that’s nothing to really worry about since he’s not fixed. he had 5 episodes within 2 days and then they stopped for about a wk and a half and then has had 4 small episodes over night into the morning. his first recent episode he was sleeping, woke up and was dragging his right back leg behind him straight out and then after he laid down and went back to sleep.

    • Nicole,
      Since these episodes are fairly close together, you should keep your veterinarian informed of their frequency. Also, report, in detail, what happens during each occurrence. Your veterinarian may want to do further testing and prescribe anti-seizure medication if it looks like seizure disorder is the final diagnosis. Because Boxers are prone to tumors, you may also want to consider a CT scan or MRI to rule out a brain lesion.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  21. I have a 7 yr old Cocker and at first these episodes that I am going to call seizures only happened every now and then but only at night after he went to bed. My dog doesn’t flop around or do anything like that he acts very dazzed and its like he doesn’t know where he is and like he doesn’t hear me. He even wondered right thru his invisible fence without even a flench. My vet is still trying to figure out what is going on with him but his blood work came back normal. during the day he acts just fine. My dog wonders around in a daze and its like he is looking a things that aren’t there and looks right thru me when this happens to him. sometimes these episodes last for 15 to 30 minutes. Can you give me some advise as to what might be going on. My dog is like my baby and I am so worried.

    • Dear Kimberly,
      Certainly seizures are a possibile explanation for your dog’s strange behavior, but there are other causes to consider. Lab work is often within normal limits for dogs that have seizures not related to metabolic problems (diabetes, liver disease, kidney failure, etc.), so it’s difficult to rule out seizures just by lab results. Your veterinarian will take into consideration the timing of these episodes and their duration. Usually, seizures aren’t on schedule like your dog’s episodes, but may be provoked by certain activities. What happens right before the dazed episodes? Is your dog resting, eating, walking outside??? Another consideration for your dog’s confused state is cognitive dysfunction which is similar to senile dementia in people. Dogs with cognitive dysfuction don’t respond to their environment in a normal fashion. They become disoriented, forget where they are, wander around, etc. There are medications that may improve their mental state.
      Hang in there. Diagnosing your dog may take a little time. Keeping a complete journal at home of these events will help your veterinarian arrive at a conclusion.
      Let us know how things go.
      Dr. Lynn

  22. My 14-1/2 y.o. Yorkie, Abigail, has been twitching all week. Only lasts a nano second but is extreme head twitch and biting motion. Afterward she is shaking like she is cold. Has also been acting confused and bumping into walls, walks in circles clockwise, head tilted to left. Took her to the pet emergency clinic…he said maybe ear infection and started antibiotics. I took her to our regular vet the next morning. He took blood and said all is normal. Eats voraciously but didn’t poop for 2-1/2 days, then finally got some relief. Had been on Proin for nighttime incontenence so I stopped that, fearing a stroke although the vet said probably not that. I must also add that she is totally deaf and only has some peripheral vision for several years. Getting old just sucks!!! Could this be seizures? Thanks so much for your expertise.

    • Dear Mel,
      You are so very right….getting old sometimes does “suck”. Your elderly Yorkie could be exhibiting mild, partial seizures; however, these same changes in behavior can be attributed to cognitive dysfunction that occurs with age. Your veterinarian has ruled out metabolic problems with the blood work and the emergency clinic has treated her for a potential ear infection so you are on a good diagnostic track. Record the frequency/duration of the events and make a follow-up appointment with your veterinarian. With a history of the episodes at his fingertips, your pet’s doctor may decide to try anti-seizure medication, cognitive dysfunction medication, or just decide to observe the progress of the events. Let him know that you stopped giving the Proin. It’s important that he has a complete picture of your dog’s regimen.
      I wish you well,
      Dr. Lynn

  23. I have a question I hope you can help me with. My chihuahua, Dakota had a litter of 7 puppies a week ago. Today I notice, she was walking sideways, started tilting her head and rubbing face into the carpet, her eyes also looked glossy. Later this evening after she fed her puppies, she was walking towards me, looked like she was lost, confused, her head was twitching, then she laid down and was twitching all over, this lasted about 1-2 min., she then slowly got up went back into her bed/house with the puppies, laid down. I looked at her about 5 min. later and the puppies were feeding, and she was twitching from head too toe, eyes glazed over, la la land. This lasted about 3 min.. 30 minutes later she was drinking water more than usual, I re-filled her dish, came back 10 min. later re-filled again. Ate a little food, but kept drinking. Now she just seems exhausted, tired, her eyes don’t seem glossy any more. Could she be lacking in vitamins? or did she have a seizure? Thanking you in advance, for your time and input
    Colleen

    • Dear Colleen,
      Considering the fact that your chihuahua is nursing so many pups, I would assume that her trembling and confused state may be due to a calcium deficiency more than due to seizures. It is important that you see your veterinarian for a complete evaluation. Bring the pups along, too. It may only take calcium supplementation to rectify the situation if caught early; however, hypo-calcemia (milk fever) can be life threatening.
      Let us know how she does,
      Dr. Lynn

  24. My 5 year old Standard Poodle has been having seizures at night for a year now. We have put him on Phenobarbital ( per our vet) and was giving him 1/2 tablet morning and 1/2 at night. I’m a nurse and could not stand the thought of it, he began to gain weight so I managed to get the morning dose away and now he takes 1/4 tab at night, but cannot go without the 1/4 tab. Is there some evidence based practice that says why they may have seizures only at night? It’s amazing how much we can love these beautiful animals, but I can’t stand to see him have these seizures and I hate to give him the phenobarbital. Thanks for advise.

    • Dear Susan,
      It does seem that dogs have seizures when the brain is “relaxed” as they sleep. I have no scientific studies to back up this observation made in my own veterinary practice, but have noted the same tendency in my patients that you have in your own dog. However, changing the dosage of phenobarbital may also be a factor. Consistent blood levels usually require twice a day dosing due to the half life of the drug. Perhaps you should request that your veterinarian run phenobarbital blood levels at regular intervals to monitor your dog’s status. We perform this lab work twice a year on routine cases and more often in dogs that have changes in their seizure patterns.
      Hope this helps,
      Dr. Lynn

  25. Dear Dr Lynn,

    Firstly thank you for all your help and dedication helping people, such as myself, with the issue of seizures in their dogs.
    My 12 year old Maltese terrier has not been so well over the last 3-4 months. When we first noticed he had a siezure he was rushed to the vets and consequently put on Phenobarb 1/2 a tablet twice a day.
    About 3 months after being on Phenobarb he had at least 3 violent seizures that I am aware of in under 24hrs. The vets have just recently put him on another medication now Levetiracetam 1/2 tablet 3 times a day.
    He still has a very good appertite but the thing worrying me is he is unable to rest for long and spends most of the day night walking aroung and he doesn’t seem to know where he is walks into things etc.
    As well as this he yelps randomly sometimes like he is in pain. He is also on pain medication.
    Do you have any idea about his constant walking? I don’t know if he is in pain unhappy and I should put him down or if his constant walking is due to dementia and he is otherwise happy? He does still enjoy his food so I am confused as to what to do.
    I also worry his body is exhausted from the constand walking. He is on vivitonin for dementia. What should I do? Thank you so much for your help I am sad feel I have already lost my mate and hate seeing him the way he is :(

    • Dear Natalie,
      Your description of your dog’s dilemma is one that is fairly common. When the golden years arrive, most elderly dogs have multiple problems (seizures, dementia, organ decline) and are placed on a variety of medications. The question arises….how much of this behavior is related to medical problems as opposed to the actual medicine?

      To assess the effectiveness of the seizure medication, your veterinarian will review your history of seizure events and possibly perform lab work to determine the blood levels of anti-seizure medication. He will also monitor the function of major organs regularly (about every 6 months). Keep a good journal of your dog’s activities to shed light on his overall condition.

      You mentioned dementia which can certainly be the cause of his behavior changes. Dog’s with reduced cognitive function may roam aimlessly and pace constantly. They are confused and often do not recognize their once-familiar surroundings. Some dogs get their days and nights mixed up. But, waling into things and confusion can also be related to failing eyesight. Has your pet’s doctor assessed his eyes lately? Diminished hearing also adds to mental confusion since the dog cannot receive auditory input. As for the barking, some dogs vocalize without provocation, so what sounds like yelps of pain may simply be yelps of confusion (much like elderly people mumble constantly or make strange utterances at odd times).

      A dog on seizure medication, pain medication and behavior modification drugs is on a lot of stuff! Have your veterinarian carefully assess his physical condition to determine if routine pain meds are warranted. Think about any change in behavior since the start of vivitonin for dementia. Of course, he cannot do without his anti-seizure medication.

      Getting old is hard on pets AND pet owners. It sounds like you are a devoted pet owner with a devoted veterinarian, so between the two of you, I feel certain that your dog will receive the best care possible. I send you my heartfelt good wishes for continued happy days with your dog.

      Dr. Lynn

  26. My Lab will be 4 in Jan. He had been having seizures once a month I thought for sore it was his heart worm mess was always within 4 days of his taking the meds so I switched his food and took him off the med. he has not seized since last April. Two nights ago my husband and son in law installed a Bose surround sound system with a lot of bass! Last night we watched a movie but had to lower the bass because Logan seemed a bit alarmed … Wondering if something triggered something because this morning he had a seizure??? Thanks in advance! Warmly ,Lisa Monica

    • Dear Lisa,
      It is doubtful that the sound system your dog listened to last night caused a seizure this morning, so it’s best to see your veterinarian to evaluate other possible causes. Also, please do not stop giving heartworm medication. There are several safe, effective forms of heartworm preventive, so you and your doctor can choose one that may be better tolerated by your Labrador. If your dog is bitten by a heartworm carrying mosquito and becomes infected,heartworm disease will only complicate his health problems.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  27. my 1 year old boxer (Brody) suffered from his first seizure today he was given as much phenobarbotol as the vet could safely give him. He was also given propofol and nothing could get the seizures to stop. After at least 6 hours of constant seizing we decided our baby boy had suffered enough and made the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make and put my Brody to sleep. I’m beyond heartbroken, we have no answer as to the cause, he was fine yesterday.

    • I am so very sorry to hear about Brody. It’s never easy to lose a pet that you love and my heart goes out to you. Unfortunately, seizures are more common in Boxers than in other breeds and they are often caused by brain tumors or infections of the nervous system. Seizures due to brain lesions are difficult to control medically. Please find comfort in the fact that you and your veterinarian did all you could to help Brody and he is resting now. Your heart is broken right now, but with time, will heal. You may never find another dog to take Brody’s place in your heart, but you WILL find another place in your heart for the next dog fortunate enough to join your loving family.
      Take care,
      Dr. Lynn

  28. my 15 week old lab has small seizures and tilt his head to the right and his body goes to the as well I don’t know what to do

    • Seizures in young puppies are often related to infections of the nervous system that can be viral or bacterial. A soft spot on top of the head (open fontanel) can also indicate that the pup has hydrocephalus, a condition of increased fluid in the brain that can cause seizures as well. Also, metabolic problems like hypoglycemia can cause seizures. Regardless of the cause, you need to see your veterinarian so that he or she can attend to the situation promptly.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  29. Nothing is helping my dog with her seizures. The doctor keeps giving her higher and higher dosages or different combinations of medicines and nothing seems to be helping. This has been going on for around 8 months now and I feel so bad every time she has one. They’re getting progressively worse; sometimes as many as 4 a day. This is putting a lot of stress on my dog and the rest of my family. No matter how many times you see it, it never gets any easier to witness.
    Do you think it’s time that we should just accept that we can’t keep her forever and have her put down? I hate seeing her go through these seizures and suffering so much.

    • Sorry to hear that your did is not responding to seizure therapy. Without knowledge of his diagnostic or treatment history, I cannot make a medical decision on his case. Your veterinarian and you need to have a frank discussion regarding his prognosis and quality of life and make the best choice on his behalf. If all medical options have been exhausted this decision my be the most difficult one of ending his misery. A day with 4 seizures is not a good one for you or the pup you love.
      I will be thinking of you as you venture forward.
      Dr. Lynn

  30. TIPS.
    Hi. I usually search things online and don’t contribute once I find the solution. For our best friends, I decided to put my input in. Adopted 3 month old in March 2012. Vivid, 30 second seizures started 4 months later. I did research and went to the vet with no improvements. Just put up with the 3-4 seizures a month. Vet said no to the Phenobarbital at first. Then I went back recently and they tried a newer drug that started with a Z. Given the vet’s refusal for Phenobarbital and my research, I also agreed to say no. Vet said yes now but I decided to do some serious research and this is what was repeated throughout various reputable sites and tesstimonials:

    Keeping Rosemary, Fennel, hyssop, sage and wormwood out of the food ingredients is good.
    High protein and low carbs is good.
    No grains is good.
    I read a statement where one couple have a dog and it had seizures. They bought a food with no rosemary and they stopped. A few years down the road they started again. Turns out the food manufacturer recently added rosemary to the food. Given my dog didn’t have seizures for the first four months makes me feel the high quality, yet grain and rosemary and somewhat low protein may have contributed to this.
    Seizures are painful to watch. Some of us will not have a choice but to deal with them or go on meds. Below are a list of some 5 star foods that meet the standards I mentioned. The numbers are as follows. #1=Protein #2 fat #3 carbs
    Back to Basics 42-20-30
    Dry N Alive (DNA) 39-26-27
    Oracle Grain Free 45-14-33
    My favorite is Evo Turkey and Chicken 47-24-21
    And for the people with it in their budget Primal Freeze Dried Beef 50-39-3

    I’m sorry to say I just started this diet and it’s too early to tell the outcome. I do know that high quality food will put the whites in the eyes and shine on the coat. Not to mention the health benefits. My dog is two next week and it’s time to do everything to stop the seizures. I’m content with failure but doing about 15 hours of research online has brought me to the above conclusions.

    • Jordan,
      I hope your dog improves on this diet and appreciate the information you shared. For other pet owners, please remember to consult your veterinarian prior to changing your dog’s diet at any time. Depending on the cause of the seizure, medication may still be needed.
      Dr. Lynn

  31. Hi. My name is Sam. My 13 yr old min-pin just started getting seizers out of no where we got him phenobarbital but he has had three since he took it at 12:20 he had one at 1:30 than 2:40 and 4 pm it is now 5:40 he is finally resting after hours of pacing…my quest is ..does it take a while for the med to take affect?? Should I let him rest? The vet said to give him another dose at 8

    • Dear Sam,
      It certainly takes a while for Phenobarbital to regulate seizures; however, 4 seizures within 4 hours is concerning. If your dog has another episode tonight, please see an emergency veterinarian for assistance. Your dog may require additional medication via injections to break the cluster of seizures. Also, once he is regulated, remember to have his phenobarbital blood level checked to make sure the drug is being absorbed in an effective manner. I hope both you and your dog have a restful night!
      Good luck to you and your min-pin,
      Dr. Lynn

      • Dozie,my otherwise healthy 9.8 year old female boxer has had 8 seizures within the past 36 hours. Brought her to the vet, blood tests showed everything normal. Trying to stabilize with drugs, had to up dosage. This was so sudden! Has anyone had this experience????? She is my perfect furry baby!!! My husband and I are distraught!!

        • Seizures in Boxers, especially older ones, are fairly common. It is not unusual for medication dosages to require adjustments before the seizures are controlled. If the seizures don’t stabilize, you may need to consider that the underlying cause may not be responsive to medications. For example, brain lesions may cause persistant seizures that are difficult to control. Further diagnostic tests may be needed or different medications may need to be administered. Hopefully, neither will be necessary and your Boxer will prove soon.

          Good luck,
          Dr. Lynn

  32. My 4 year old Beagle has just started having seizures. The time between the first and second seizure was exactly four weeks to the day and a ten minute time difference (7 am and 7.10 am) The vet took bloods after the first seizure and the results were clear. I definitely think his seizures are on waking as he doesn’t have them at any other time. I witnessed the first seizure in which he was rigid, howling, foaming at the mouth etc. A few minutes after his seizure he was back to his normal self. The vet has suggested epilepsy meds but I’m not keen to start these without further testing. I would really appreciate your opinion as I’m extremely worried. Many thanks.

    • Dear Zoe,
      Your assessment is right on target! Since the seizures occur early in the morning after an overnight fast, low blood sugar may be involved. Try giving your dog a little food right before bedtime and again upon awakening. Avoid table food and snacks which can cause changes in blood glucose levels. Stick to dog food only. If the seizures still occur, you may need to consider anti-seizure medication. There are many causes of seizures (as you’ve read in the article) and you’ll need to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the best management tactics.
      Let us know how your Beagle does.
      Dr. Lynn

  33. My 6 year old lab, RJ, has had three seizures in the last 1 1/2 years. Each happened when he was awakened from a sound sleep. The first was when my husband came home from work, and another several months later when I came home. Another occurred when RJ was sleeping and the doorbell rang. (HIs doggie pals ring the doorbell when we have play days) He has had all the tests and is otherwise very healthy.
    I now call the house phone before I get home just to wake him up if he is sleeping.
    Have you seen seizures related to excitement from a sound sleep?
    Linda

    • Dear Linda,
      Fortunately, RJ has only had 3 seizures in 1 1/2 years, so his episodes are fairly sporadic. I have never noticed a predilection for seizures in dogs waking up from a nap, but this could be your dog’s individual timing. You are being cautious to ring the phone before you come home; however, this is probably not necessary. Continue to keep an accurate log of the seizures that you witness and share this with your veterinarian.
      Wishing you both well,
      Dr. Lynn

  34. My German Shepherd female sadly died from an epilepsy seizure on Monday. She had one that lasted over 5 hours and she never came out of it. Just want to thank you for all your help when I asked.

  35. My 7 year old lab has been having seizures for about 13 months. About 6 months ago we started him on phenobarbital. This worked well for 3 months – no seizures at all. Then his seizures started again. He has anywhere from 2 to 4 a month. The vet upped the dosage of phenobarbital, but so far it has not made a difference. Is potassium bromide the only other option?

    My other concern is that he is so hungry after a seizure. I try not to fed him, as he is getting to big, but he is persistent, jumping on counters (he only does this after a seizure). Is there any way to control his hunger after a seizure?

    • Dear Donna,
      Before you change medication, have your veterinarian do a phenobarbital blood level to make sure the dosage you are giving is actually making it to the blood stream. As for appetite, you should stick with a basic nutritional plan for senior dogs and give your dog a little extra kibble if he appears hungry after a seizure. He may be agitated after the event and wants to eat as a soothing mechanism.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  36. Dear Dr. Lynn.
    had
    This page is very helpful. I have a sterilized maltese, he will be 5 years old this year. He had three tumours removed 3 years ago. In last year (June 2013) he had what seems to be a fit to me. It lasted about 2 mins. He was standing, and he was twitching his left hind leg. He was not foaming from his mouth. His mouth was clenched, his gums pale, and tounge bright red. By the time I arrived at the vet he was perfect. Although while the episode was occuring he seemed disoriented. I had him at the vet, the Dr did a very well check. He said he does not see anything wrong. and did not recommende I take blood test. He says the dog perhaps has seperation anxiety. Then he had a second episode 3 months later, and I was not present. He then had a third episode another 3 months later. On all three episodes it was a warm day. I got a second opinion and the next vet told me maybe its flees. (Its a house dog which is dewormed and defleed reguarly.)He also said I dont have to see flees on my dog in order for me to know his got it. I got a third opinion and this vet told me it can be heat strokes, and said the dogs heart sound good and brain looks fine. Today, I got a fourth opinion, and this Dr told me she personally feels its anxiety, as the dog is EXTREMLY attactched to me. Then Dr, Corbet, who removed the tumours told me he done chest xrays etc, and says he picked nothing wrong up. I am so worried about my boy.

    I will appreciate any advice, tips etc..

    Thanx
    Toshca

    • I know you are worried about your baby, but it seems that you are looking in a lot of places for answers to his episodes and it’s not clear that seizures are the problem. Pick the doctor you trust the most and give him or her a thorough history of the events. Then keep a log of the episodes and update your veterinarian regularly. Request a complete physical exam, intestinal parasite check, and CBC/Chemistry panel/Thyroid level as a well-health work up. This will give you and your pet’s doctor a good baseline of information. Keep your dog on year round flea and heartworm medication as well. With a good foundation and a good doctor, you and your dog should both feel better about this situation.
      Wishing you well,
      Dr. Lynn

  37. So, I’m an EMT and have had a diverse range of friends and have seen seizures and their after-effects in humans enough times to be fairly enurred to them. My ridgeback-pit 7yo just had his third in 3 months, and i dont see any serious consequences of the seizures. I’ve talked to humans post-postictal and they have reported that, besides being upsetting for those surrounding them, and disruptive to their day, the seizures are not really a problem for them.
    I did take Puss to his vet and got the phenobarb she recommended… but i dont really feel like giving him this heavy, liver-damaging medication for the rest of his life (the vet did do a blood panel, and said i could wait on giving them until another seizure). I feel like Puss’s seizures are not often enough for it to be an issue.
    Basically I’m weighing having to do the postictal cleanup every couple months to having to feed him medication for the rest of his life. And since Puss doesn’t seem so bothered by it, and I’m not bothered by it, i dont mind cleaning up after him.

    The question is (and which i haven’t been able to find an answer to anywhere on the net) is what are the negative long-term effects of untreated epilepsy?

    Thanks!

    • Dear Rebecca,
      Three seizures in three months doesn’t sound like a lot, but Puss may be having additional seizures while you are not at home to see them. Even so, if his quality of life is not diminished and you don’t mind monitoring the episodes (and cleaning up), you do have the option of delaying medication. To my knowledge, there are no permanent side effects of mild seizures, but there may be secondary injuries, i.e. biting the tongue, skin wounds if seizure occurs on rough surface like sidewalk, or bruises if the dog falls from an elevated surface (like the bed). Otherwise, as long as your dog does not experience cluster seizures or doesn’t go into status epilepticus, you can take a conservative approach for now. Just be open to anti-seizure drugs when the time comes. There are other options to phenobarbital if you would prefer them.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  38. Dr Lynn, 1st Thank you!! I adopted a 6mth chiuhahua . Found that she is epileptic. She has been on pheno the severe seizures have reduced by quite a bit( she still has them 2-3 times a week. She is now constantly licking air. She’s alert but non stop air licking. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    • Dear Diane,
      I am pleased that her seizures have decreased; however, 2-3 episodes per week are still too many. Plus “licking the air” may be another form of seizure activity. Due to her young age, you should have her tested for distemper. You may also want to request testing (blood, spinal tap) to rule out bacterial infection of the nervous system. Talk to your veterinarian about a diagnostic plan.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  39. Dear Dr Lynn

    I have 2, 5 year old white shepherd. I got him when he was 6 months old. He has been having seizures since when he was 1.5 , so basically he has been having seizure for year now. He is on medication since he started having seizure. The vet diagnosed him idiopathic epilepsy. First 6months he has been seizure once a every second day then it became once a week , but during that time he only had one seizure. But from last summer he has been having cluster seizures in one day in every 20-24 days . The frequency of seizure became longer but when he has seizure he usually has 7-13 seizures. Lately, he is having 15-16 seizures in 8-10 hours. He is on Phenobarbital 2 tables in the morning 2 tablets in the evening. My question is he has been being on medication for 1 now, but he still has pretty bad seizure, now I think his lever is affected by the medicine. I really do not what should I do more. The vets does not say any specific thing, only thing they say is I have to try the medicine. My question is why the medication does not work well, because i know some dogs who is on medication go without seizure 3 months till 1. What should I expect now ? Please give me some advice.
    Best regards
    Mercy

    • Dear Mercy,
      Every dog with seizures has his own agenda….no two respond exactly the same to medication. To determine that the dosage of phenobarbital is optimum, you can have a blood level of phenobarbital run. This is a simple blood test and will determine that your dog is receiving therapeutic levels of the drug in his system. The dosage can be adjusted accordingly. Also, there are other anti-seizure medications available in the event that phenobarbital is not effective. Since your dog is experiencing cluster seizures, he needs to be re-evaluated.
      Keep us posted on his condition.
      Dr. Lynn

      • Thank so much for your quick respond. We are going to meet our vet next week. Then I will update you :)

        Best regards
        Mercy

  40. Dr Lynn,
    Have you ever heard of low thyroid levels causing seizures? My 13 year old beagle started having GM seizures this month. She had her first seizure on 1/6. We took her to her vet on 1/7. Bloodwork was fine accept for low thyroid levels. Started thyroid meds 2x/day on 1/10. She had another seizure on 1/12, another on 1/21 and another on 1/22. All GM seizures. Vet wants to recheck lab work in a week and a half. She seems to twitch while she sleeps but this doesn’t wake her. She sometimes coughs and gulps like she’s trying to swallow hard, even if she has just woken from sleep. She seems to startle easily if you touch her from behind and she jumped when I closed the dryer door. If we make a noise, she sometimes acts as though it came from a different location. She used to snore a lot but not so much this month since the seizures have started. Usually after seizures she scratches under her chin. I’ve stopped giving her the treats and chew bones we had been giving her because I’ve read these can trigger seizures and I know for certain thay before the last two seizures she had treats and a rawhide chew bone. Can boiled chicken trigger seizures? She had some chicken before the last two seizures as well. She’s on grain free Blue Buffalo because of allergies that started about two years ago. I’d love your opinions. Thank you very much.

  41. hi there i am writing to see if anyone can give me some advice on what to do…. i have an 8 yr old female chihuahua veta who has had approx 6 seizures in the past but we got thru them with no problems..about 2 weeks ago she started acting as though she was just about to have another seizure but she didnt…she would start tilting her head to the right and then it was like she couldnt walk and she would fall to the right side and just lay there. she was lethargic and very grouchy. after about two days of going in and out of this state we took her into the vet. The vet examined her and also found that she had no pupil response in her right eye. She would do this “trance” thing i have decided to call it for the next two days until we got her to a bigger vet two hours away. She would have this trance once or twice a day and it would last for anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. At the new vet she had an MRI and all the blood work and csf test done and everything came back normal. We left their with a script for keppra and omeprazole. The eye doctor had a funny conclusion he said that her left eye was the one that seemed to have the most issues, we have to repeat that test. she was in Icu for two days there and it seems as though she did not have any of the signs she did at home with us the head tilt “trance” in the hospital but is this because she was medicated?? we brought her home and within 24 hours she was doing the trance again….we got a phone call from the neurologist who immediatly put her on doxycycline and clindamycin, nothing seems to have worked. Four days after we got back she seemed to have deteriorated and may have had an actual seizure or something so i called the vet who immediatly put her on phenobarbital now which she has been on for about four days now…i dont think she is doing better maybe these trances are a little bit milder but i am not sure i started to give her a little bit of metcam when i see that she is starting to go into another episode and maybe this seems to have been shortening the time she is being affected but again i dont know. I am at a loss over the course of the last few days i have been trying to think if maybe we are missing something…could she be hypoglycemic?? but would the fasting blood test not have shown this???? could she be having like cluster miagraine headaches???? If anyone has any ideas please let me know…..ps in the mean time i am switching her to a raw diet i am also giving her some milk thistle and pre and pro biotics (forgot to mention she has irriatble bowl syndrome and has a severe beef allergy) we also got this rescue remedy…….please help thanks trish

  42. Dr. Lynn,
    My 4 1/2 yr old border collie had his first seizure 4 days ago. He is recovering slowly. He is still very lethargic and I’m wondering if he can’t see very well. Is that a side effect of having a seizure? He doesn’t seem to be in pain he just wants to lay around and will only go outside if I go with him. His seizure happened outside. He looked terrified for about 3 days after. He isn’t eating very much or drinking a lot. He avoided eye contact with me for several days but has finally started looking me in the eye. His vet did blood work and said he was fine. I called them back after 2 days when he wasn’t back to normal. They prescribed two different pain meds without seeing him. I looked up the side effects and they were horrible. I don’t feel he is in pain so I didn’t give them to him. Should I try them to see if they help? He also has heat strokes every time he goes outside and runs after his ball for over 10 minutes. We have to make him stop and take a break or he will literally fall over. We told his vet about this a year or so ago and they blew it off and said he was fine. I’m not sure what to do to help him. He used to be a very sweet happy energetic dog. Should we go to a different vet and get a second opinion?

    • Heather,
      Considering the lingering effects after your dog’s seizure, you should look into his condition further. There may be something going on that did not show up in the blood work. Exercise intolerance could be related to a cardiac problem. In answer to your question, Yes. Seek a second opinion. Keep us posted on what you find.
      Dr. Lynn

  43. With a heavy heart my dear dog Shea passed away from a massive seizure on 13th January 2014. She started fitting during the night and never came out of it and we had to take her to the vet and there was no possible way she would live. The vet told us that he could have brought her out of the fit but she would be a different girl so we decided on euthanasia as that was a better than her lingering.

    • Dear Christine,
      I am so sorry to hear of your dog’s passing. Your heart will be heavy for a while before the burden lifts, but you WILL feed better with time. I know you will miss her and hope you find consolation in the fact that you and your veterinarian did everything you could to make her passing gentle.
      Take care,
      Dr. Lynn

  44. I have a four year old yellow lab, who had a couple of seizures at about a year and a half old. He has been on phenobarbital since, I was wondering if he will have to be on the medication for his whole life or if he can be taken off the meds. The meds seem to make his hips week and he doesn’t act the same. Or maybe if he needs to be on meds forever is there a different medication he could be on. Thank you for your time

    • Dear Donald,
      Many dogs on anti-seizure medications have to take them for life. The dosage and duration of the drug can be determined by doing a blood test to make sure the level of phenobarbital is enough to control seizures. Excess levels can cause personality changes or physical weakness like you describe. Ask your veterinarian about performing this lab test. Your dog may simply need to have his dosage adjusted. If this doesn’t work, you can certainly ask about another medication.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  45. Dear Dr Lynn
    I have a blue heeler just turn 5 years and he had cluster seizure vet has gave him medication and he has stop but he has not been himself after it he doesn’t answer to his name and doesn’t want to walk with his back legs when ever he does walk he walks as if he was drunk and when he is laying down he cry’s as if he was in pain vet mention to us that it was because he was been poison and needed to clean blood and needed to urine more we really didnt now how to act to behiver or whats wrong

    • Dear Alicia,
      Your poor pup needs some “in person” medical attention. Call your veterinarian for another appointment so he can make sure the blood level of the anti-seizure medication is accurate. If his dose is too high, he may appear “drunk” as you describe. Your pet’s doctor can also evaluate the source of the pain and prescribe anti-inflammatory medicine to help him feel better. If poisoning is suspected, that’s a different story. Blood and urine tests can give you a good idea of your dog’s current status and verify his organ function.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  46. Hello Lynn,

    I have a 9 year old bassett hound, Sadie. Starting last Thursday evening she started throwing up. She threw up twice on Thursday evening, once Friday evening. I called the vet and they suggested I use my discretion on whether or not to bring her in. I decided to keep an eye on her as she was acting completely normal otherwise, and scheduled an appt for Monday. I started her on a boiled hamburger/rice diet on Saturday. She did not throw up on Saturday at all but ended up eating some carpet in the middle of the night and threw that up on Sunday morning. Again, she was otherwise fine except a gagging reflex sporadically throughout the day. Monday morning, we woke up and her stomach was making a really loud gurgling/growling noise. She was downstairs and I was upstairs and I could hear it. I decided to move her appt up to 10AM. We walked in to the vet’s office and went to the reception desk when she just started seizing. At first it looked as if she ate something undesirable with the face she was making. She was drooling/foaming and shaking her head which led to a full blown seizure – dropping to her side and convulsing. It lasted about 1 minute and she was given an anticonvulsant medication. They ran CBC and gave her an ultrasound on her abdomen and everything came back perfectly normal. She has never had a seizure before (that i’m aware of) in the 9 years I have had her. I don’t know what was causing the nausea and vomiting nor do I know what caused the seizure. We were given an anti nausea medication, told to keep her on the bland diet throughout the week , adn the name of a neurologist. It is Tuesday and she seems back to normal. My concern is that they couldn’t find anything wrong. Any suggestions? Is it necessary for us to go to the neurologist or should we give it some time to see how she is? Any advice is appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Randilynn

    • Dear Randilynn,
      Sorry to hear that your dog was feeling bad, but happy that she is better now! Sometimes the cause of a seizure remains unknown and one short episode in a dog that has a full recovery doesn’t alarm me too much. It may have been somehow related to her gastro-intestinal upset. I usually tell my clients that we observe the “3 strikes and you’re out rule”. If the dog has 3 seizures, we do more advanced diagnostics. So, if she is doing well and acting normally, you will probably be safe in delaying the trip to the neurologist. BUT, get his contact information and be prepared to go if necessary. Also, keep an accurate seizure journal (date, time, length, character of seizure). And remember, this plan is only good while she is good. If she changes in demeanor, see your veterinarian right away.
      Dr. Lynn

      • Dr. Lynn,
        Thank you so much for your quick response!! This puts my mind at ease as, probably like most other dog owners/lovers, I initially went to the worst case senario!

        Thanks again!
        Randilynn

  47. I found your site while trying to find answers to a few questions. If you can give me any insight, I would greatly appreciate it.
    My daughter’s 3 year old blue heeler became very ill Monday night. She was throwing up and could barely walk. No appetite but thirsty. They took her to the vet Tuesday. He ran tests and said her white blood count was high but the kidneys were normal so he ruled out poisoning. She would go into seizure like states and squeal.

    They picked her up Tuesday afternoon. The vet only suggested three options–antibiotics, a trip to CSU to see a neuro specialist or to put her down.She spent the next several hours on my daughter’s lap or near my daughter. My daughter would even hold her little head when she threw up so she wouldn’t be in it. Her eyes were non responsive to being touched. She couldn’t move her back legs. However, my daughter said when she would come out of this state, she would look at my daughter and her tail would wag a bit and she would slip back into the seizure. My daughter, being an operating room nurse, has seen a lot. She told me it was all she could take seeing her most beloved friend in this state. They put her down Tuesday night. (She thought if she made it through the night she would go for a second opinion to my vet office.)

    My question….does this sound like epilepsy? I am dumbfounded at the response of the vet. Outraged actually. It is maddening to wonder what could have taken her so fast and not have a vet give better directions or ideas for what it could be. He thought perhaps a brain tumor…….

    If you have any insight or where I might research further, please let me know. She is gone and nothing will bring her back…but the huge mystery of why is baffling…

    Thank you,

    • Dear Ronnie,
      How very sad for your daughter. Sometimes it’s even more difficult to have a sick pet when the owner has medical knowledge and deeper insights into the situation.
      While it is impossible for me to play “armchair quarterback”, the lack of full blown seizures and the episodes of vomiting may point to a non-neurological cause. To gain more information on the possibilities, I suggest you start with the blood/urine results; however, whatever you learn will not bring her back.
      Wish I had more helpful words for you and your daughter.
      Please give her my best wishes.
      Dr. Lynn

  48. I found your site after looking for the recovery time of cluster seizures. My 7 yr old Boston Terrier Popeye was place on the low end of Pheno last September. It seemed to help with his seizures. He would have one a month.The last batch was 9 in a 36 hour period. The Vet upped his Pheno and he seems to not be having them so the cluster marathon has stopped …. My question is How long will it take for Popeye to recover. Its been over 24 hours since his last seizure. He still seems dazed and he he unresponsive to me. He seem to have forgotten how to go outside, I actually have to direct him to the back door. Its like his personality is completely gone. He still have his appetite and is drinking water. Treats dont seem to give him the joy they once did ( He loved his treats) now he takes them like just mechanical. I am hoping this is not permanent. I am hoping that it is the increase in Pheno and maybe still a longer recovery time.
    Thank you
    Thank

    • Although recovery times vary, your dod is taking too long to return to normal mentation. Have your veterinarian evaluate him for lingering neurological signs or elevated level of phenobarbital in his system.
      Wishing you well,
      Dr. Lynn

  49. I have a schnauzer – Jenna who was diagnosed almost 2 years ago with diabetes. She takes 2 insulin injections daily and have had no problems other than a UTI last summer. I guess it was back in the fall that she had her first seizure. It was at night when we were letting the dogs out for one last bathroom break before bedtime. She acted funny – she didn’t want to go off the deck, but after some coaxing she went…then when she came back in the house she had the seizure. It scared me and my husband to death. She convulsed all over almost from her head to her back legs. She would loose control to stand and fall over but then jump back up as if when she fell it scared her. My husband picked her up and sat and held her. She convulsed 4-6 more times, very breifly, each convulsion only lasting a few seconds. Then she was fine, she sleeps with us and she gave us both a kiss and laid down and went to sleep. Here in the past couple of weeks she has had more seizures just like before. A couple of them were mid afternoon and then last night she had one about 3am and was fine within a minute or so. The seizures don’t seem to be too severe or long and she seems to come out of them fine and quickly, especially when we hold her. I can’t seem to pinpoint a specific time or rhyme or reason to when the seizures occur – trying to tie it to the diabetes…trying to make sense or predictability of the seizures…Could it be the diabetes? Could we be giving her too much insulin? I have also noticed shaking in her back legs. The shaking isn’t all the time, just every now and then – is she having sugar spikes or drops – is the shaking in her legs related to the diabetes or seizures or both?

    • Dear Heather,
      Jenna’s seizures may be related to her diabetes. Extremes in blood glucose may cause trembling and affect mentation. Talk to your veterinarian about performing a glucose curve. This series of blood tests can be done in one day at the hospital and will provide information on her overall blood glucose/insulin status. If diabetes is not the cause, your veterinarian can investigate other potential causes of the seizures.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  50. I have a 18 month old miniature poodle, Annie, who I think had a seizure this morning – I let her outside on her run and walked away from the door for a few minutes and when I looked back she was laying in the grass. I rushed out to her and she got up and staggered around and was very lethargic for about an hour. I was able to get her to my vet and on the way I was holding her and felt some muscle twitching but never saw the seizure activity that I associate with seizures. Shortly after we arrived at the vet’s office, she started wagging her tail and acting more like herself. She was put on phenobarbital and the plan is to treat her with the medication for 2 to 3 months and then see if she can come off of it if she has no more seizures.

    The part I did not share was that about an hour before the event happened I was using my hypnosis tapes and glasses that have flashing lights. My husband commented that Annie was looking at me intently during the 20-minute session. There are strong warnings with the glasses for people prone to seizures not to use the glasses as they could trigger seizure activity. Have you ever heard of flashing lights causing seizures in dogs? Could this event be an isolated incident caused by the flashing lights or do you think she has underlying disease that may or may not have been triggered with the lights? Have you ever heard of something like this? Of course we will protect her from the lights in the future but don’t want to medicate her unnecessarily. What are your thoughts on the lights and does the treatment plan make sense to you?

    Thank you in advance for your input.

    • Dear Kay,
      Seizures may certainly be precipitated by excess stimuli like flashing lights, but there has to be a predisposition for them first. Monitor the episodes and report to your veterinarian. Was her lab work within normal limits?
      Dr. Lynn

  51. Dear Dr Lynn,

    Thanks for this article.

    My Aussie is 1 year and 5 months tomorrow and she started having seizures on January 11 this year.
    She’s followed by a neurologist and needs to go in for phenobarbital levels testing next week.

    She’s currently taking 1 and a half 50 mg pill twice a day of Gardenale (phenobarbital) but she keeps having seizures, she’s had 12 seizures since January 11, which results in a 1 a week average more or less.

    The longest she’s gone without one is 22 days after she started taking the drug (at first she was taking 50mg twice a day), but then they reappeared and we had to increase the dosage to the current one.

    I’m worried she’s “refractary.” What can I do? What are other options? And also, can I give milk thistle to the dog to help her liver?

    Thanks a mill!
    Marta from Milan, Italy

    • Dear Marta,
      It’s important for phenobarbital levels to be monitored in order to control seizures. If his blood level is too low, seizures will continue. It’s too soon to assume that your Aussie is refractory to the medication. Keep a good diary of her episodes and talk to your veterinarian about submitting a phenobarbital blood level to the lab.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  52. Dear Dr Lynn,

    I have a 2 year old rescue terrier mix (Rosie) and she had her first seizure at 6:30 am while sleeping. It was quick and she was twitching and foaming at the mouth. She had her second one at 1:30pm. We rushed her to the vet who did blood work and said Rosie was fine and send us home with a needle to put in her butt if she has more. She has since had 2 more – at 12:30am and 4:30am. They both lasted 1-2 minutes and both times she did urinate a lot. We did not give her the medicine because it all happened so fast.
    Rosie did have surgery one week ago to remove a pampeloma virus which came back benign but she tested positive for the virus.
    Could the sedation have caused any of this? My husbands wants to go to meds ASAP but I haven’t heard anything good about them. Thoughts?

    • Dear April,
      Often, seizures occur in rapid succession so Rosie may experience a few in a row and then have a long dry spell with no seizures. Sedation will lower the seizure threshold and,while not causing a seizure, may provide a good opportunity for them to occur. See what happens over the next 24 hours and call your veterinarian if she continues to have the seizures.
      Take care,
      Dr. Lynn

  53. I have 2 chocolate labs that have seizures within 2 weeks of each other. This has happened 3 times the first was a year ago and the last was this week, my 2 year old male had one a week ago and my 8 year old female had one today. They both had blood work that came back normal. Cannot figure out the cause. My older female never had one until we got the male. Any ideas what could be causing this?

    • Dear Lesley,
      Unrelated dogs of different ages that have seizures in common may also have an environmental influence in common. Check your house and yard for potential toxins such as poisonous plants or moldy water sources. Your veterinarian can give you an idea of toxic plants in your area. If they both had normal blood and urine tests, and have only had 3 seizures in a year’s time, you may want to simply monitor the situation. If the seizures become more frequent or more violent, then anti-seizure medication may be needed. Keep your veterinarian up to date on the episodes so that he/she can decide the best course of treatment.

      Dr. Lynn

  54. My 10 yr old boxer had a rough few days last week, 11 seizures in total( a couple grand mal type, several smaller type) within about 36 hours, every 2-6 hours, each one lasting a minute or less . I took him into vet after the first 3 throughout the night. Blood work was drawn and started him on phenobarb. He had 3 doses (@ 12 hr intervals) of the phenobarb but still continued with the seizure activity so I couldn’t handle it any longer and took him into ER vet hospital, he was admitted for the night and given several loading doses IV phenobarb to try and get him up to therapeutic levels. There have been no more seizures since .
    When we took him to ER vet, he was experiencing some back end wobbliness , vet said it was probably from the 3 doses of phenobarb. When I picked him up after they had given him 4 shots and another tablet of phenobarb his wobbliness was much more prevalent. I understand it can take days/weeks for the side effects to diminish but it’s disheartening to see. He was a little bit better the second day home , wobbling around yard, eating and drinking ok, yesterday he seemed a little bit worse, walking about the same, fhungry and eating well but not drinking water on his own ( I syringed some into him and then soaked a few pieces of chicken breast in water which he lapped up easily) . Today he is about the same, no real change .
    His seizures started about a year or more ago, only in middle of the night and once every few months. He did, however always do this weird thing for years where in the middle of the night, he would suddenly pop up off his bed and make gagging, coughing noises, run out of the room and do pacing laps around the house , it was always the exact same pattern, happened every month or every couple. Vet thought they might have been some sort of seizure activity, especially since when he began having the obvious seizures they would always kind of start out with the same type of gaggy thing.
    I’m just at a loss wether I’m doing the right thing, he seems so very drunk and sleepy, it’s agonizing to see. I know at 10 yrs old and being a boxer, a brain lesion of some sort is a very real possibility, but if he has had minor seizure activity for several years , perhaps it is a seizure disorder . Perhaps there is a chance he can be controlled by the meds and spend a little more sweet goofy boxer time with us.
    I guess my question ( after this long-winded post!) is since he seems slightly more sedate than a couple days ago, I wonder could I be missing that he is still having seizure activity? Being so medicated I wonder if a seizure would look the same? He has had some subtle wobbly head moments but he appears to be dizzy so I attribute it to the medication.
    Vet said some dogs seem more sensitive to the side effects than others, boxers can experience this .
    I just wonder how long I should wait if I don’t see any improvement. I know we are all miserable , I don’t want to make the decision to euthanize too soon if there’s a chance he can have a good quality of life with medication but don’t want to wait to long . This absolutely stinks…..
    Thanks for ” listening”

  55. Dear Dr Lynn,
    I ahve an 8 yr old english mastiff, she has been acting real strange, weight loss, panting, tongue always out, laps very weird,had to feed her by hand as it seemsed she had lost her tongue control,she is managing to eat now but on occasions i have watched her it seems she swallows her meet whole. Having trouble pooing and when she does it is the size of a cats poo,sometimes uneasy on her feet,loss of bark but will growl, I took her to the vet she was placed on anti imflam tabs and ABs The amount that i feed her is great but no weight gain.wonders around wants to lay but she will go around in circles for about 5 or 6 times then lay has a little trouble when getting up. Her gums are pink, at first she was making a lot of saliva and her eyes were really really droopy, but that seems to be improving, very reclusive please if you could comment it would be great
    thankyou
    Julie

  56. We have a black Pug called poppy who started having seizures when she was 16 weeks old, only during sleep ( she always jumped in her sleep from 8 weeks old) Balancing her medication took forever and she spent a long time in a terrible state, didn’t seem to be there at all, bumping in to things, not eating properly and listless. Last November we thought we’d got her medication under control, she was on pexion and Keppra and stopped fitting completely. The vet suggested cutting down the Pexion gradually because it appeared that introducing the Keppra had an immediate affect and she was back to being a happy, normal dog, so we slowly reduced the tablets down to half a tablet twice a day. About 6 weeks ago she started to jump again in her sleep and the vet recommended increasing the dose back up, which we have done, she is now on the maximum does again. Only it doesn’t seem to have made a difference. 2 weeks ago she started having proper seizures in her sleep again ( 3 since last night) it’s so disappointing because we seemed to have it under control. She is on the same dose as when she was not seizing at all. Our vet thinks it is coincidence and suggest we may need to add more tablets. Any advice?

    • Dear Catherine,
      Sorry to hear that your dog is having problems again after doing well for so long. It’s very common to have to adjust medications during a dog’s lifetime. Your veterinarian may suggest doing a blood test to determine the active level of anti-seizure drug in her system. This will help monitor the correct dosage and give a clear indication that an increase is needed if her bloodstream does not maintain therapeutic levels of the medication. As dogs age, their metabolism changes as well as their organ function (kidneys, liver), so regular monitoring is warranted. Sometimes, a combination of medications will also help.
      Working with your veterinarian is the best way to find the most effective treatment for your dog.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  57. I have a Min Pin that I got this past summer, he will be one year old in July.The dog falls over on its side or back and shakes or paddles its legs for awhile. This goes on for a few minutes. Another time I went to let him inside after he barked to come in, but he just stood there with all four legs shaking and whining. He also gets scared very easy. Any ideas what could be causing this? Any advice? Is this usual for Min Pin dogs?
    Jo Ann

    • Dear Jo Ann,
      From your description, it sounds like your Min Pin is having seizures. Please make an appointment with your veterinarian and have him evaluated soon. In addition to a physical exam, your pet’s doctor will likely perform lab work (blood and urine tests) to rule out metabolic problems or organ malfunction. Keep a diary of his episodes so that your veterinarian can determine if anti-seizure medication is warranted.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  58. My 7yr old standard poodle, Angel has been having seizures since she was 8 months old. I honestly believe it stemmed from an ear infection when she was a puppy. My regular vet was not in the office and a vet partner insisted on having four people hold my dog down to clean out her ears. That evening was her first episode, but it was very mild. The next day, I took her to the groomer and she had another episode, also mild. That night she had several episodes. I took her to the vet and she was prescribed Phenobarbital (Pb). That same night she had multiple seizures. Her dosage was increased and seems to control it somewhat. However, she still seizes at the groomer, the vet, if she sees other dogs, and sometimes in her sleep. It breaks my heart to watch it. Now she also seizes when she goes for a ride in the car. She has become so lethargic, especially in the morning when she wakes up. She even seems like she is almost unconscious whcn she sleeps, because urine leaks out of her.

    I would love to take her for a walk, but I’m afraid she will seize if another dog is approaching or her nerves are rattled. We are fortunate that our Vet will come to our home and we use to have a groomer that would pick her up, but they sold the business. It got to the point that when Angel saw him, she would seize, but we didn’t have to witness it. My daughter really breaks down when it happens. I wish there was something we could do to stop the seizures.

    I am aware of the whereabouts of all of her siblings. One of her sisters also seizes, but only at the groomer and vet. Because she seizes, she is 18 months overdue for grooming. I try to cut her “dreadlocked” hair, but she hates it.

    • Dear Rhonda,
      It appears that your dog’s seizures are not being adequately controlled. See your veterinarian for an updated evaulation and lab work. A simple blood test will tell your veterinarin if her dosage of phenobarbital needs to be adjusted. There are also other medications available if phenobarbital is not working well enough for your dog. Seizures may be instigated by outside stimuli (going to the groomer, approaching other dogs, etc), but with proper medication, these should be controlled.

      As for the urine leakage, your dog may have an incontinence issue that may also be remedied by an oral medication. Ask your veterinarian about this as well.

      In short, Angel has good options that you can explore that will make her life (and yours) happier.

      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  59. Hello,

    I have a 4.5 y/o Australian Shepherd who has started having seizures. She’s had two so far, exactly one month apart.

    All bloodwork and tick panels came back negative. Can a seizure be caused from heat exhaustion?

    • Dear Dawn,
      It is common for lab tests to be normal following a seizure. Often, the exact cause remains unknown. Heat exhaustion can precipitate a seizure; however, it would be unusual for your Australian Shepherd to have two heat strokes a month apart. Did your dog actually have a heat stroke?
      Continue to document the episodes and if he has a third one, you may need to consider further lab work and anti-seizure medication. It seems that we see several Aussies with seizures in our clinic and they do quite well on medication.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  60. My 8 yr old boxer has had episodes of twitching and spasms when sleeping. He had surgery 2 yrs ago for mast cell tumor and episodes got a little more noticeable but it only happens when he’s sleeping. If you wake him it stops. We just biopsied a new tumor and vet is concerned putting him under. Said last time he had spasms and twitching during surgery. She recommends having neuro evail at specialist before surgery. Any advice?

    • Dear Diane,
      Sleeping dogs often have seizures while the brain in “relaxed”. Similarly, anesthesia seems to increase the risk of seizure. It’s important to follow up on the new tumor, but careful pre-anesthetic screening is in order. Follow your veterinarian’s advice and seek an evaluation by a neurologist or internal medicine specialist.
      Wish you well,
      Dr. Lynn

  61. My 5 1/2 year old chihuahua, Bella, is having increasingly frequent seizures. She had her first seizure on June 6 2013, her second ‘episode’(We call them ‘episodes’ because she always has two generalized seizures back to back. .So, seizure = seizure, episode = day she had a seizure. Just makes it easier to keep track of to have a distinction between the two.)in December (the 15th), her third in March (19th), and her fourth this morning (May 4th, but this morning she had 3 seizures instead of two.) which makes for a total of 8 seizures in 10/11 months. In comparison to a lot of pets with seizures, that isn’t that bad. Especially considering that she’s not on medication. My big concern, though, is that they’re always getting closer together. From June to Dec (6 months), Dec to March (3 months), March to May (6 weeks). What could be causing her seizures to get closer together? Is it possible that a brain tumor would do that? I don’t know, maybe that’s completely irrational, I just thought that maybe if there was a tumor and it was growing it would cause an increase in the frequency of the seizures. Or, is this just something that happens in pets with seizures? She hasn’t had a CT or an MRI. She’s had all the other tests to rule out things (x-rays, more blood work then I’ve had done in my life, bloodwork within minutes of a seizure, and bloodwork when she’s been seizure free for months, liver function tests, kidney function tests, so on and so forth, yadayada.)so the only possibilities we have right now (to my knowledge) are a tumor, or epilepsy. So my questions: Is it possible that it’s a tumor? What can cause an increase in seizure frequency? When is it recommended to start seizure medication?

    • Dear Allison,
      You are quite educated on the topic of seizures in dogs and have kept a good, detailed journal of your dog’s seizure activity so you will be a good patient advocate! Commonly,when blood and urine tests rule out metabolic causes of a seizure, the next step is diagnostic imaging. If you want to complete the diagnostic spectrum, you may ask for an MRI or CT. These tests are expensive, but they are the only way to rule out a tumor as the cause of the seizures. As you monitor her progress, do an objective assessment of her quality of life. When these episodes become bothersome and decrease her enjoyment of life, it’s time to consider anti-seizure medication.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  62. I am very concerned about my 4 year old mini schnauzer. He had a seizure 4 or 5 months ago. We had him evaluated by our vet. At that time only thing abnormal was a slightly elevated ALT. Dr said previous labs were slightly elevated as well and wanted to recheck in one month. Rechecked and was slightly even more elevated. Started him on denamarin and after one month on the med ALT went from 217 to 432. He had another seizure again. Dr still isnt concerned but im very concerned that something could be wrong with his liver. My Marley (dog) is my life and I donno what I will do if something happens to him. His seizures are not as severe as my cocker spaniels seizures who has grand mal seizures. With marley he stares off and has a terrified look on his face and his front paws contract downward. Please, anyone with advice… it wld be appreciated. Thank u.

    • Dear Samantha,
      Liver disease can be associated with seizure activity, so you will need to pursue this diagnosis. Ask your veterinarian about performing an abdominal ultrasound to assess the liver and continue to monitor the elevated enzymes. If and when the seizures become frequent, you may want to consider administering anti-seizure medication. I also hope that your Cocker Spaniel can find relief for his grand mal seizures. There are several medications that may help him as well.
      Dr. Lynn

  63. Dr.,

    I have a 9 year pit bull mix, (possible labrador) female who just started having seizures last week. One time last week and then 2 this weekend. She never had a seizure ever. Her health problems started about 2 months ago when she developed this rash on her side that made her bald in that area. The vet i took her to prescribed 2 antibiotics but they didn’t help. He said it is not fungal but seems to not know what it is. She has developed a lump on her neck that the vet believes is lymphoma. Without taking a biopsy he tells me she probably has only 6 months to live. He did blood work on her and calls me to tell me he is feeling very optimistic now because it appears all her organs are functioning well and her levels were great. I still have no idea what could be triggering these seizures though. Does any of what i explained trigger something in your mind? Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Dear Roland,
      There may not be a single cause for seizures, skin disease, and enlarged lymph nodes especially in an older dog so more diagnostics may be needed. If the skin problem and lymph node do not normalize, they may both need to be biopsied. And you may want to repeat your dog’s lab work even if the first round of tests were normal. Cancer in older dogs is always a consideration, but don’t jump to conclusions yet.
      Wishing you well,
      Dr. Lynn

      • Thanks for your quick response. I’m starting to feel I should seek a different vet. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer all of our questions and concerns. It is people like you who make such a huge difference today!

  64. Im worried about my puppy I just got hes about 8 weeks old an he just started limping out of no whete and cant walk on his front legs but I give him milk with syrup in it and get him to lay down hes fine but they still come back a little bit latet is this a seizure im worried please comment back

    • Dear Elizabeth,
      From your description of your puppy’s symptoms, it does not sound like a seizure; however, he needs hands-on medical attention to determine the cause of his weakness. Please bring him to a veterinarian quickly so that he can feel better soon.
      Dr. Lynn

  65. Dr. Lynn,

    Thanks so much for responding to all of our questions. This is such a nerve-racking experience and having someone to answer questions is really nice.

    My 6-year-old mutt Daisy started having seizures about three weeks ago. They had a lot of trouble getting them under control and she spent about a week at the vet. She’s home now and on Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide. So far so good — no seizures in 2 full weeks.

    I have two questions. The first and most important is that I’m worried about whether Daisy has brain damage. When she started seizing, it was overnight and she was silent and paralyzed so I didn’t even know until the morning. There was nearly 8 hours of on-and-off grand mals, followed by 3 days of mostly small/partial seizures. How likely is it that Daisy suffered brain damage or will never be the same dog again? (She now has trouble drinking water, sometimes licking next to the bowl as if drinking even though her tongue only touches air. She also walks in circles until she is dizzy, sometimes even falling over. She regularly walks through the house sniffing every nook and cranny as if it’s brand new to her. Are these indicative of long-term brain damage? Or just effects of the medication?)

    Second, when Daisy is not busy doing strange and new behaviors, she is sleeping nearly all the time. It’s very difficult to motivate her to stand up. She frequently urinates and defecates in the house because she doesn’t bother (or perhaps can’t) get up to get to the door. She’s been home and on these meds for 2 weeks. I feel like she should be better than this by now. How long does it really take most dogs to adjust to these medications? I know it varies, but my vet told me about 2 weeks. It’s been two weeks, and she’s still not even remotely close to her old self. The sight of her leash is not even exciting to her; she just sleeps all the time. When I can expect this to wear off? Do some dogs remain lethargic for life?

    Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to read and answer my question. I am very thankful.

    Michele

    • Dear Michelle,
      Since Daisy had a severe cluster of seizures, her recovery may take a little longer than usual; however, you should contact your veterinarian to report her current condition. He may want to change her medication dosages to see if her mental state improves.
      Don’t give up hope yet!
      Dr. Lynn

  66. My dog is 2 and a half, she is a golden retriever cross with a chesapeake. She started having seizures last year around august, but in the past month it has happened 3 times. One thing that stands out is that she has a seizure immediately after she poops every time. she has had blood tests done but everything came back normal. Could you please let me know what it could be?

    • Dear Melinda,
      Seizures can be triggered by different things. Since the cause seems to be consistent and the seizures are frequent for your dog, medication may be in order. Call you’re veterinarian for a consult and exam.
      Dr. Lynn

  67. My lab was DX with epilepsy at 13 weeks, he will be 3 in September. He is on 97.3 mg (?) two pills twice daily and weighs 100-105 lbs. We have been doing great with one seizure every 30-45 days til this month, which he has had three.

    Tonight was the worst. He had 3 back to back, urinated and had a bowel movement….first time for multiple seizes and bowel. They are short, grand mull and he pops back within 30 mins. Tonight he is weak, confused for an hour and just lost. Wore him out physically.

    I plan to call vet in morning and possibly have liver panel done as well as pheno level checked. I am terrified that it will happen again.

    He also had seasonal allergies which he takes prednisone every other day starting march/April til our first good snow (about 6-7 months).

    Is the Sodium Bromanide (sp?) safe in addition to Pheno? Do you have any suggestions?

    He developed his seizures 10 days after his first round of vaccines. Colorado State University teaching vet hospital said it is very rare but in his case, it did cause his epilepsy.

    • Dear Skye,
      I am sorry to hear that your dog’s seizures are getting worse, but it sounds like you have a good plan in mind. Checking phenobarbital level and organ functions will give your veterinarian a base to build on. It may be that dose adjusMents are in order. Adding mess will depend on the blood tests and response to any dose adjustments. Any stressful situation may provoke a seizure so a trip to the vet’s for immunizations followed by an episode is not unusual.
      You are an informed pet owner who will make good choices on behalf of your dog. He is a lucky pup!
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  68. Hello,
    I have a 14 yr old pit mix dog. She has always been healthy but in the last few months has begun to loose a lot of weight and had decrease in appetite. Tonight she had a sz lasting about 2 mins. Took her to the ER vet but by the time we arrived, she was postictal but awake and alert. She ate some when we arrived home and has had a few drinks of water, gone potty and is just laying on her bed now. Our family loves her dearly but from reading the above posts, I realize I need to think hard about what to do related to pursuing any meds, tests and the next step. Can you just give me some thoughts on this? She is old and we are financially strapped currently. What does it look like if we just let her be? Thanks, Julie

    • Dear Julie,
      “Letting your dog be” is an option if you monitor her closely;however, it would be good for her to have blood and urine tests performed to evaluate organ function if you can manage it financially. If the seizures become more frequent or severe you will have some choices to make. Either way I’m sure your dog knows that you love her.
      Dr. Lynn

  69. Dear Dr. Lynn, I have a nine year chocolate lab mix. She had her first severe seizure at 5 and we decided not to put her on medication but to monitor her. Since then hasn’t had an episode until today (4 years later, she is now 9). Last October she weight 59lbs and her vet wanted her to lose 10 lbs. Eight months later she weights 52lbs and had a seizure while out for a walk tonight. I am wondering if there is any corralation with her weight loss and her having a seizure. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Dear Suzanne,
      It is unlikely that the recent seizure is directly related to your dog’s weight loss; however, metabolic changes can impact seizures and weight loss can, in turn, impact metabolism. Now would be a good time to have a senior wellness profile performed on your dog to evaluate organ function and to provide your veterinarian a baseline from which to prescribe seizure medication if needed.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  70. Dear Doctor Lynn,

    I am from the philippines,and I am saddened really because my dog half spitz half terrier whose only 4months old have severe seizure, she can have almost 5 episodes lasting from less than a minute to minute. We have her on prednisone but its nor working.

    • Dear April Lei,
      I am sorry to hear about your young pup’s illness. Seizures in very young pups may be caused by infectious diseases caused by viruses or bacteria and can be very serious. Prednisone probably will not control these symptoms, so please consult your veterinarian again.
      Dr. Lynn

  71. MyChihuahua just had puppies for the second time and now she is sick again she stiffened up can’t walk looks like she’s having a seizure or something I don’t know what to do

    • Your dog may have eclampsia, commonly called “milk fever”. A shortage of calcium in the body related to birth and nursing may cause the symptoms you described. This is an emergency situation, so please take your Chihuahua to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  72. I have a 5 Year Old Boston Terrier. He has no history of seizures before today. We had a thunderstorm last night in NY and it woke him up. He is not usually frightened by a storm. After about 10 minutes of my mother comforting him, she ran to my room shouting that he was having a seizure and that I needed to take my 10 Month Old Bull Mastive Puppy and keep him away. I was then called back out to get the cage ready because the Boston was trying to attack my Mom. We got him in the cage with a few minor scratches. He then proceeded to have around 13 Seizures. Each seizure consisted of him foaming from the mouth and having wild full body movement such as flipping over and leaning against the walls of the cage while sitting on his hind legs. In between a few of the Episodes we took him outside and he “Marked his territory”(Peed) on everything as if he had never been there before. During the last few Episodes he Pooped on and ran in circles in the cage. Around 3 hours ago he fell down onto one side and just started panting and kicking one leg. He responded to our voices and we pet him gently. He seemed to have a fever so we put a damp cloth on him for a few seconds at a time. We also put a fan on in his direction. After about 2 hours he cooled down and stopped kicking. We waited an hour for him to get up and he still hasn’t. We tried standing him up but he just fell back on the same side. He is going to the vet tomorrow but I want a second opinion. We went to the vet this morning but they told us to put him in the cage and allow him to calm down from the storm. I assume that the storm would not affect him all day. The storm ended around 11:00am. The vets in my area are not reliable. I dont want to spend $200 for an Emergency Visit because money is tight, and the Doctor does not come in unless we have a scheduled appointment. I would just like an opinion on what you think may have happened. Oh I almost forgot. We had a party in my Grandma’s Barn and he chewed a white container. We dont know what used to be in it but it was empty when he got it.

    • Dear Sebastion,
      Sorry to hear that your dog had such a rough night. Storm phobia can be a distressing condition for both dogs and dog owners. Seizures are pretty distressing as well. The first step is to determine which of these possibilities is affecting your dog. Phobias and seizures can both be treated, but the underlying cause needs a bit of investigation, such as lab work and a physical exam for starters. Unless the white container he chewed contained a harmful substance or he actually swallowed bits of the container, this is likely not the answer. Find a veterinarian you can trust and give him a complete rundown of what happened and work with him to help prevent another episode.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  73. Dr.

    I have a 13 year old black lab. She is obviously an older dog and just last week started to have small seizures only at times when she would eat, in the morning and evening. It was like the excitement triggered it. She would fall over and stay there for a few minutes, sometimes urinating on herself. After a couple episodes we took her to see the vet and he put her on Pheno. We gave her Pheno for 1 day and the next morning and realized our dog could not stand up. We are now on to the second day and she still has trouble getting up and only stands up and moves a couple times a day. She will usually go to the bathroom in the house because she can’t make it outside without a lot of help. We called the vet and told us to stop using the Pheno and let it get out of her system. We are now on to the second day without using Pheno. Could the Pheno still be in her system causing this? What are your suggestions?

    • Dear Phil,
      While there can be side effects from Phenobarbital, it is unusual for just a couple of doses to have such lingering effects. Your dog should be re-examined by your veterinarian and have lab work performed if she hasn’t already. At her age, there may be more in play here than just the seizures, so it’s good to rule out other organ system problems. Incontinence and difficulty rising are common ailments of older dogs related to arthritis and loss of urinary control. There are medications that may improve both of these symptoms.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  74. Hi I have a 3 pound teacup Chihuahua and she is about 5 years old. She has never had a sezuire before that I know of. Out of the blue one day she wouldn’t leave my side all day. When I got up she ran to the nearest person so she wouldn’t be alone. She had what I think to be a sezuire. She started shaking and lifting her back leg up. It lasted for about 3 minutes. When she came back to, she looked dazed and scared and very very tired. About 3 hours later she has another one and she didn’t the same thing except she drooled a lot. We don’t have emergency vets in my small town and it happened on a sunday. Its Wednesday now and she hasn’t had another episode since. Do you think this is seizures shes experiencing?

    • Dear Ashley,
      It does sound like your Chihuahua may have experienced a seizure episode. This breed is prone to seizures because of the conformation of their domed skull. Since she has been seizure-free for several days, you don’t have to find an emergency veterinarian, but you should see your pet’s regular doctor at your earliest convenience for a thorough exam and lab work to rule out metabolic problems that can trigger seizures.
      Hope everything goes well,
      Dr. Lynn

  75. Today I think my dog may have had a seizure. She was laying in the grass and she rolled on her back and starting kicking her legs. a moment later she just started shaking when that stopped she bent back to the grass and went to the bathroom (#2) and started shaking again, she couldn’t control her bladder then. When the shaking stopped the second time she seemed fine. I have never known her to do anything like this before. She is only about 4 years old, she’s half Chihuahua and half schnauzer. When it happened the vet was closed. I am going to call tomorrow but I’m really scarred this is something serious. Do you think it was a seizure?

    • Dear Chrissy,
      From your description, it certainly sounds like your dog had a seizure. Seizures are fairly common in Chihuahua breeds, even in young dogs. Your veterinarian will be able to rule out possible causes and propose therapy when necessary. Keep us posted on her condition.
      Best of luck to you both,
      Dr. Lynn

  76. My 8 yr old Maltese has occasional freezing episodes. He is fully aware that its happening because he never takes his eyes off of me and wags his tail when I speak to him, he just can’t move. His muscles stiffen and he becomes shaky but they only last for a minute or two and everything is back to normal. Like some entity stops him in his tracks but release the hold and off he goes. Are these seizures? My childhood lab had seizures and they were full blown ones that was just awful to witness. These are not like that at all. Please, any info can help. He also does not seem to be in any pain while its happening.

    • Dear Robin,
      This doesn’t sound like a typical seizure since your dog is fully aware during the episode. There may be another neuro-muscular explanation for the “freezing up”. Take a video next time you see your dog get stiff and bring it and your dog to your veterinarian. There may be a remedy waiting for you.
      Dr. Lynn

  77. Hi,

    I am having an issue with my French Bulldog that came out of the blue. I believe he is having seizures. It started July 18 when we were out camping. I put him to bed in his kennel and at 11:30pm he woke making the worst yelping/howling noise you could imagine, something I didn’t think could come out of him! I quickly let him out and the yelping had stopped already (lasted about 30 seconds) but he appeared almost drunk with limited motor control to the back legs. After a couple minutes of him falling around he seemed to relax and become normal other than he just wanted to lay in one spot and not move. The next day he was fine running and playing. Since then he has had 8 more episodes, basically every night when sleeping only. Last night was the worst. He had one at 1:00am then another one at 5:00am. The noise he makes gives chills up my spine and gets my heart racing. I feel terrible for him and I am super stressed not getting any sleep. I did bring him in to the vet 2 days ago and they did every panel in the book including bloodwork, thyroid and bile tests. All came back normal. I have witnessed quite a few of the episodes now in person from start to finish. The initial screaming stage lasts about 30 seconds and he is hunched up but frantically moving around slowly like he is in pain. He is somewhat coherent at this stage but very panicky and won’t sit still. After the screaming I start to notice his body temperature rose quickly then he acts drunk and falls all over the place with limited control of his back legs for 60-120 seconds. After that he seems to relax and usually likes to go out for a pee. By the time he gets back inside he is back to normal. This came on so sudden I don’t know what to do. If it was 1 seizure every week I could handle it but this is reoccurring every single night when he sleeps and I am starting to come unglued. My vet has him on Phenobarbital but so far hasn’t helped (only 3 pills in). At this point my vet says there is nothing else they can do other than refer me to a specialist in another town 5 hours away. I am seriously considering the fact that if this can not be stopped I may have to put him down. It absolutely breaks my heart as he is perfectly healthy outside of this and loves to play. I just can’t stand to see him have these episodes every night and not be able to do anything about it. I have no idea if he is in pain or not and from what I have read about seizures it is extremely rare seizure behavior. It seems the episodes mostly occur 1am but has had one at 5am 7am and even when he was having a nap once at about 6pm. It only occurs when “nodding off” or sleeping, never when he is actively awake. One weird symptom I noticed about 6 weeks ago and payed no attention to at the time is that his head is very hot when he is at a relaxing stage. When he becomes active the head cools down. I have noticed this same thing ever since and even this morning his head was hot when he came out of the kennel. Not sure if this is related. I’m not even sold that this is a seizure but seems like the most viable thing. Is there anything you could recommend? Thanks so much

    • Curtis,
      Your dog really is having strange episodes that don’t sound like the garden variety seizure. Although seizures can vary in intensity and duration, your dog may be experiencing true pain. His demeanor and vocalization fit more with pain, but the timing of the episodes (while sleeping/relaxed) fit more with seizures. If the phenobarbital doesn’t work within a week or so, you need to consider alternatives. Video the episodes so your regular doctor or a referral veterinarian can actually see how your dog behaves during the events. Get copies of the lab work that was performed so the referral doctor doesn’t have to repeat the same tests.
      Hope this can be diagnosed and resolved for the benefit of your pup.
      Dr. Lynn

  78. My 5 1/2 year old german shepherd had what I would call ‘absent’ seizures 1 month ago. She would just zone out for 3 to 6 seconds. These lasted 3 days and she experienced loss of balance and would often ‘face plant’ as she seemed to lose control of her legs. This past weekend we witnessed 2 ‘grand mal’ seizures that both just lasted 2 minutes max. and were 12 hours apart. The vet gave us some diazaprem to help sedate her as she became very agitated. She then had another seizure, but I could tell it was coming by observing her and gave her a diazaprem about 45 min before she had the seizure. This seizure was not so violent and not so traumatic to her. We also started her on Phenobarbitol. (After witnessing the 2 seizures I realized that about 2 weeks ago she had one, just didn’t know what I was seeing.) It has been 3 days since we last gave her diazaprem and 4 days since last seizure. She seems to be dragging her back legs slightly and seems off balance still although her energy is returning. Is this common to not have ‘control’ over the rear legs?

    • Dear Kelley,
      Loss of neuro-muscular control 4 days after a seizure is unusual. You may have to consider that there is another cause for this difficulty such as joint problems, inter-vertebral disc disease, or even a brain lesion. Please have your dog re-evaluated.
      Dr. Lynn

  79. I have a 6 year old cocker spaniel, and 6 year old lab. Both are male and suffer from seizures at least once a month. Their seizures often occur close together, usually within a few days of each other. Our lab takes thyroid medication and phenobarbital every 12 hours, as prescribed by our vet. We have changed the types of monthly medicines (heartworm and flea medicine) and type of dog food- more than once and they do not seem to help with the occurrence of seizures. What do you suggest or recommend that we do? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    Thank you

    • Casey,
      It’s tough to have two dogs that have seizure disorders, so hats off to you as a good pet owner.
      To be sure the seizure medication is reaching proper blood levels, I suggest that you ask your veterinarian to do a phenobarbital blood level according to the reference laboratory protocol. That way you will know if an increase dosage is warranted. The thyroid level needs to be rechecked as well.
      Hope this helps you and your dogs,
      Dr. Lynn

  80. I have a 5 year old Pomeranian and she began sneezing excessively about a week ago. Since its allergy season, we didn’t think very much of it, but when it went on for 2 days, I called the vet. They were out of town until Mon. (this was a thurs) and advised we try benedryl. By the time I had gotten back from the store, she had spiraled down severely. She wouldn’t move, couldn’t use her back legs and was extremely weak. (I now figure that she probably had a seizure while I was gone.) After watching her very closely (we had no experience with seizures or even sick dogs) we didn’t see any improvement and took her to the hospital and were again sent home telling us benedryl. That night, we sat with her all night as she went thru seizure after seizure and took her back to the hospital the following morning. Her blood work was all fine, CT scan negative, we checked her in so that she could have an IV drip and closer monitoring. We kept in close touch with the hospital and with each check in, found that she seemed to get a little better. We brought her home on Sunday and she is still extremely weak. Our reg. vet won’t let me make an appt. because they say they didn’t treat her but that I can ‘check in’ She is unable to control her bladder, constantly goes, but we realize that it could be partly because of the meds she is on. She is 16lbs and is on doxycycline .65, Baytril .5 tab, Phenobarbital 16.2 x2 a day, Famotidine, and Prednisone. She is able to walk a bit, but walks in circles until she flops down. She has not wagged her tail since this began. I feel she may be in pain as she hides her head sometimes but I don’t know enough and we are becoming frustrated and afraid that she might be too far gone. We don’t want to put her down but we don’t want her to suffer if there is no help and she has suffered too many seizures. Over 12 in a 24 hour period. Please advise me.

    • Dear Charlotte,
      It’s always difficult to assess a dog’s condition without being able to examine him or review the lab results; however, from the medications you listed, I am inclined to believe that your Pomeranian has more than the typical seizure problem. With a complicated case like this, you need to keep in constant contact with the referring veterinary clinic updating them on her behavior and letting them update you on any changes in therapy. Give them a call and find out just what they think may be wrong with her and ask about a prognosis for her future health.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  81. Hi, My dog had a seizure a year ago and she had one couple days ago. After a seizure this time she started growling at me, which really scared me and I have to get out of the house. My questions is Is it normal for the dog to act like that after seizure or there might be something else wrong with her. I was never scared of my 100 lb dog, but now I am and I have two little kids. Thank you.

    • Dear Tatsiana,
      It is fairly common for dogs to have a change in behavior shortly before and after a seizure, but if your dog is becoming a danger, you must take action. Please do not leave her alone with your children because you cannot predict when the next seizure will occur. To control the episodes, she will need a complete exam with lab work and will likely require anti-seizure medication on a regular basis.
      See your veterinarian for a behavioral consult and physical work up.
      Dr. Lynn

  82. My 11 year old collie mix had 7 seizures in less than an 18 hour period. She has never had one prior, and has never had a health issue. We took her to the vet to get a blood test and everything came back perfect. That being said, I’m very worried it’s a brain tumor. Is there a way to know besides an MRI (we can’t afford). Are there any other signs? She’s been acting so confused, she hasn’t had a seizure since we put her on meds but she defiantly is acting strange and sometimes when she walks her knees lock…that never ha
    Penned before either.

    • Dear Lindsey,
      It sounds like the medication is controlling the seizures but may be affecting her mental state. If the drugs are making her droopy, your veterinarian can adjust the dosage after running a blood test to assess the level of seizure medication in her blood. The goal is to use the least amount of medicine to attain the maximum amount of seizure control. The problem with her rear legs may not be associated with the neurological issue. It may be related to age-related arthritis. Your pet’s doctor can check this out, too. Arthritis medications usually work safely with seizure medications.
      Don’t feel badly about not being able to afford an MRI. You can help your elderly dog deal with seizures without a definitive diagnosis, although the prognosis will be unknown.
      Hope this helps,
      Dr. Lynn

  83. Hi

    Needing some advice – our 5 and a half year old rottie started having fits 72 hours ago – the first 24 hours only 1 but the second 24 hours had 17 in total – we have a fab vet who stabilized her fitting and got her admitted down to a specialist unit where she had a MRI and CT (amber is thankfully well insured). We have just been told this afternoon that the CT was clear but the MRI showed a large inoperable brain tumour ? menigioma. She thinks there maybe a option for radiotherpy but this would not cure her, this is only offered 100 miles away and we would need to take her 3 times a week which is just impossible with kids/work and would breach the insurance claim limit. So our only options is pallative. She has not fitted since starting on the anti epileptic medication and we can bring her home tomorrow. I know she wont have many months left but just wanting to know what we should do now – I dont want her to suffer – I love her too much – should we spoil her rotten and let her go within a few weeks or should we see how her symptoms go, could she stablise and be ok for a while? – It is so difficult as she does not appear to be suffering but she is not herself, she has not wagged her tail in the last 4 days and no longer responds to play commands and I wonder if this is a sign of her unhappiness. I dont want to lose her but I want the best for her. So confused and upset so any advice would be great. Thanks

    • Dear Leanne,
      I am so very sorry to hear the sad news of your dog’s diagnosis. While the outcome will not be positive, that doesn’t mean that she won’t have joyful days until then. You have given her the benefit of a firm diagnosis and she is under the care of resourceful veterinarians. Love her every day and when the day comes that she is more sad than happy, you’ll know what to do.
      Take care,
      Dr. Lynn

  84. Sir, i have a four mnths old female dalmatian pup. She is suffering from cluster seizures 4 days before she had tha first one immedialely i took her to a vet. He did her blood test and found that she is suffering from dengue which affected her liver, her heamoglbin and platelets level was low …vet. Told us to give her healthy food which we are doing and gave phenobarbetal once a day second day she had very few seizures bt today she is having one after other lasting less than 1 or half a minute …i talked my vet. And he said increase phenobrbtl to twice a day…sir plz suggest what to do …i m worried about my dog..i really love her and can spend any amount for her…

    • You may want to have your veterinarian monitor the level of phenobarbital in her bloodstream. He can do this with a small blood sample sent to a laboratory. Cluster seizures are sometimes difficult to control so an additional anti-seizure medication may need to be considered. I hope your pup will respond to treatment with your local veterinarian, but if not you should seek help at a veterinary referral center.
      Dr. Lynn

  85. Hi,

    my 9 yr old dachshund was diagnosed with having some pretty serious bladder stones last month, and has been prescribed a special food/diet and antibiotic to help in her passing these stones. Yesterday evening, i noticed her beginning to shake uncontrollably, she had a pee accident, and was unable to move or had lost functioning of her legs. After comforting her for several minutes unaware of what was happening, she seemed to “snap out of it” and was able regain the function of her back legs. This has been the only time that I have been aware of this ever happening to her. Could the combination of the bladder stones and medication have caused such a thing? Is this something that I should immediately get her to the vet about? Thanks.

    • The special diets and medications used to treat bladder stones usually are not associated with seizures; however, if your dog is experiencing secondary kidney problems, this could be related. With that in mind, record the incident in detail on your calendar and monitor your dog’s appetite and water consumption and elimination habits. Then inform your doctor of your dog’s condition and see if he wants to repeat blood/urine tests for renal function assessment.
      Dr. Lynn

  86. My 8 yr old chihuahua mix had her first seizure the other day. When we took her to the vet we also found out she has a heart murmur of some kind, which we have started doing testing for. During this time tho her breathing has not returned back to regular. She breathes heavy and more rapidly. Is there a reason for this? Should we be seriously concerned?

    Thank you

    • Dear Mel,
      Yes. You need to be concerned about your dog. Rapid, labored breathing could be related to the heart condition and so can the seizures. Follow your veterinarian’s advice and opt for further diagnostics. You need to get to the root of this problem and find out if it can be treated.
      Good luck,
      Dr. Lynn

  87. Hi, my dog was diagnosed with epilepsy about a year ago when he was not quite one year old. He has been controlled with medicine for the past 8 months (0 seizures). He is on potassium bromide and zonisamide. All of a sudden he started having seizures again. My vet upped his zonisamide and he still continues to have them. He has had three seizures, that we are aware of, of in 5 days. Is this a normal occurrence? He is a 75 lb dog believed to be a plott hound mix (rescue from Tennessee). I have a wonderful caring vet, but wanted to reach out to others for additional opinions. Thank you.

    • Ear Katie,
      It sounds like your veterinarian is on top of your dog’s problem; however, you may want to ask him to check blood levels of the anti-seizure medication to make sure they have adequate levels in the system. Also, you may want to investigate the potential causes of seizures in such a young dog, i.e. infectious disease, hydrocephalus. The bottom line is that 3 seizures in 5 days is not normal and your dog needs to be re-evaluated.
      Dr. Lynn

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