Finding Relief for Dog Seizures
One of the scariest things for dog owners to experience is dog seizures. Typically occurring out of the blue, a dog that suddenly stiffens up, falls over and begins displaying involuntary twitching and convulsing is heartbreaking to watch, especially since there is little that can be done at the moment to stop it. Thankfully, most seizures in dogs end very quickly, but any type of seizure is a big red flag that something, somewhere, is wrong.
Causes of Seizures in Dogs
While a one-time, mild seizure that never repeats again is always possible, seizures that repeat – whether a week, a month or even a year later – can become a problem. Dogs can develop epilepsy, a neurologic disorder of the brain that causes seizures. However, not all seizures are caused by epilepsy, which makes diagnosis and treatment tricky. Idiopathic seizures are non-epileptic seizures that happen for no known cause. There is still not enough known about idiopathic dog seizures to know what causes them in some cases, and how best to treat them.
Besides epilepsy and idiopathic seizures, the one other cause of seizures in dogs is a brain tumor. Brain tumors present real problems when it comes to treating seizures in dogs, as any owner can imagine, since they frequently come on hard and fast, and can be hard to control. They can usually be controlled for a little while, but seizures diagnosed to brain tumors are never a good thing.
The Three Phases of a Canine Seizure
Typically, seizures occur in three phases. It is good for dog owners to learn to recognize these phases so they will know when a seizure is about to happen and can ensure their dog is somewhere safe, where he cannot hurt himself:
Pre-Ictal Phase – Behavior will usually change to that of non-responsiveness to commands and attention, dazed behavior, tremors or twitching and even biting in the air, all while fully conscious. It will be obvious that the dog feels something ‘coming on’, and does not feel well. The pre-ictal phase can last minutes, or even hours.
Ictal Phase – The actual seizure itself, when the dog enters a state of involuntary spasming and convulsion. There can be rapid snapping and biting, flopping and falling over, vocalizing, involuntary release of bladder, bowel and anal glands and many other disturbing actions. Dogs will go unconscious during the seizure, unaware that any of it is happening. Ictal seizuring can last seconds, minutes, or longer. Seizures that do not seem to end before another one starts are very serious; dogs experiencing this need to be seen immediately by a vet to have the seizures medically stopped before brain damage can occur. Most seizures stop on their own however, after a few seconds to a minute, even though it probably seems like forever to the poor dog owners.
Post-Ictal Phase – This is the recovery phase, which usually lasts a few hours at the least, though it can last days in some cases, depending on the cause and severity of the seizures. Post-ictal behavior can be very alarming to owners as dogs will be very confused, have loss of habits, refuse food and be very disoriented until they recover completely. Some will even be temporarily blinded, getting themselves stuck in corners trying to climb over furniture that ends up in their way. They will eventually return to normal, but it does take time for the brain to repair the short-term damage that has been done by the seizure.
Treatments for Dog Seizures
Before knowing how to treat dog seizures, a diagnosis should be made by a veterinarian. Only then can a focus of treatment be decided. Dogs who show patterns more indicative of epilepsy will be started on Phenobarbital and sometimes Potassium Bromide as well, to keep the brain functioning better and try to prevent more neurologic “shorts”. Idiopathic epilepsy is usually treated the same way unless some other, underlying cause can be found to be attributing to the seizures such as toxicity, underlying disease, etc. Brain tumors are usually suspected when seizures either do not respond to the above treatments, or they continue to worsen in a short amount of time. They can also be diagnosed through MRI, and in a very few cases operated on. In most cases though, brain tumors are usually treated with massive doses of corticosteroids to shrink the tumor as quickly as possible in order to prevent death.
One of the main things that conventional medicine still tends to hesitate on however, is where holistic medicine fits in with conventional treatment of seizures, though there is much evidence – in people and in pets – where herbal remedies definitely can help simply with regard to the different causes of seizures. Pet owners might consider starting a holistic treatment plan immediately, even in conjunction with conventional medications. Whether the cause is neurologic (epilepsy) or secondary (idiopathic), providing food for the body that acts as an antioxidant, as well as supports neurologic function, will provide better health for fighting seizures. Using a product such as EaseSure by PetAlive, along with antioxidants to rid the body of poisons adding to sickness and even cancers, can only help.
Calming neurologic activity and providing for clear brain function is essential when maintaining seizures. Though it is impossible to say whether or not a dog can be maintained without conventional medications, homeopathic care can increase the effectiveness of those medications so that less is required. When coupled with an organic cancer diet and other antioxidants, owners have the best defense possible to control dog seizures and hopefully prolong a happy, healthy life. Always discuss these treatments with a veterinarian however, since change for the worse can happen very quickly if a dog is not being appropriately treated.
Filed under: Conditions
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