Seizures in Dogs

Signs, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment of Seizures in Dogs

Seizures are one of the most common neurological problems seen in dogs. A seizure happens when the cerebral cortex, part of the brain, functions abnormally. There are many different diseases that can cause seizures in dogs. Sometimes, as in the case of idiopathic epilepsy, the cause of seizure activity is unknown.

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Related: S...MOREeizures in Cats

  • 01 of 10
    Veterinarian listening to dog's heartbeat
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    Learn about types of seizures and what to do if your pet has a seizure in this Q & A.

  • 02 of 10

    Understanding Seizures and Epilepsy

    Vet examines a dog
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    There may be a lesion inside of the brain that causes the seizure. There are numerous diseases that can cause damage to the brain itself. There are also other diseases that do not directly cause lesions to form in the brain, but instead change the metabolism of the brain or change the way that electricity flows through the cells of the brain.


  • 03 of 10

    Watching a dog having a seizure can be a frightening experience. It is particularly frightening if your dog has never experienced a seizure before. Learn about the symptoms your dog would experience if he does have a seizure.

  • 04 of 10
    Veterinarians examine a Doberman.
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    If your dog has had a seizure, he should be examined by your veterinarian. In some cases, diagnostic tests will indicate a clear cause for the seizure or seizures. Where no cause can be located, the disease is diagnosed as idiopathic epilepsy.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Veterinarian with bulldog
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    Seizures in dogs can be caused by many different illnesses. As a result, if your dog has a seizure, your veterinarian will need to perform some diagnostic tests before a proper course of treatment can be determined.

  • 06 of 10
    Happy dog
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    Watching your dog have a seizure can be a frightening experience. However, with a little bit of knowledge, you can make the situation safer for your pet and less frightening for you.

  • 07 of 10
    Epilepsy On Dogs
    A dog is treated for epilepsy at the Center of Neurology of small animals at the Clinic for Internal Medicine of LMU Munich. Agency-Animal-Picture / Getty Images

    Seizures in dogs, in most instances, only last a short period of time. However, less commonly, the seizure does not stop. This is a condition called Status Epilepticus.

  • 08 of 10

    Seizures are the most common neurological abnormality seen in dogs and they can occur with some frequency in cats also. However, there are a few other conditions that can look very much like a seizure. It can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between these conditions and a true seizure.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Treating Dogs with Epilepsy and/or Seizures

    Vet And Bulldog Puppy Looking At Each Other
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    If your dog is having seizures, treating the underlying cause of the seizures is the best option, when possible. Unfortunately, many dogs suffer from idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is diagnosed when recurrent seizures are occurring and no cause can be located.

  • 10 of 10
    Phenobarbital drug molecule
    Phenobarbital, molecular model. Barbiturate used to treat all types of seizures except absence seizures. Atoms are represented as spheres and are colour-coded: carbon (grey), hydrogen (white), nitrogen (blue) and oxygen (red). Laguna Design / Getty Images

    Phenobarbital is the medication that is most commonly used to treat seizures and epilepsy in dogs and cats. There are other medications for canine and feline seizures too. Learn more about traditional and newer seizure control medications.