Epilepsy in dogs can stop dog owners dead in their tracks and is absolutely frightening to experience, especially for the first couple of seizures.
An electrical storm is going on in your dog’s head and the results can be terrifying to both you and your pet.
These horrifying seizures can be caused by several underlying conditions that can only be controlled by medications.
Or are they?
Could the actual cause be something that your pet is lacking in their diets?
Epilepsy is a disorder of seizures that continually reoccur within your dog and can best be described as uncoordinated electrical and chemical signals in the brain of your pet.
This usually happens in the portion of the brain called the cerebrum. Although it is not fully understood, it appears to be very similar to what happens in humans with the same condition.
Under normal conditions brain cells which are called neurons use both electrical and chemical signals in the communication process.
This communication that is misfiring can be excitatory, which means something excites your pet and it sets off a neuron out of sequence in the normal operational flow.
However it can be inhibitory in that it does just the opposite and shuts down the neuron that is next in sequence.
This is an extremely delicate balance and if the neurotransmitters are not in the correct chemical balance they do not operate properly.
This chemical balance is an extremely important part of what is happening to your dog. To them, it is a literal lightning storm happening within their brain.
What is very important to understand is that the terms excitatory and inhibitory are referencing the shifting of these neurons within the brain.
It will have absolutely nothing to do with your pet getting excited or even panicked.
Although it can and does occur by something emotional, Epilepsy in dogs usually occurs when your dog is resting or when they are sleeping.
There can be a multitude of causes for Epilepsy in dogs and your veterinarian will have to run several types of tests to find the actual cause before it can be treated.
It could be caused by congenital defects that have happened in the brain, blood glucose levels that are too high or too low, or kidney and liver disorders.
Epilepsy in dogs can also be caused by a tumor, infections that have attacked your dog’s such as canine distemper which is a virus that closely resembles measles in humans.
However it might also be some type of a toxin that has poisoned your dog as well as certain type of medications.
There will be different types of seizures that will attack your dog with epilepsy and they will include partial, generalized, or the most severe form of seizures, grand mal episodes.
Partial seizures will affect only a small part or one side of the body as the electrical storm that your dog is experiencing is only affecting a small part of the brain.
Generalized seizures affect the entire body and will be present two types of seizures; grand mal and petit mal with the grand form being much more common.
If your dog experiences a grand mal seizure they will fall immediately on their side and will have no control over their body functions.
The classic symptoms of this form will be your dog’s legs kicking wildly as if they are swimming or running.
There will also be a very strong and sudden release of salvation that is usually followed by both urination and defecation as your dog can not control themselves.
The electrical storm in your dog’s head is so bad that they have absolutely no idea of where they or what is happening.
Petit mal seizures, which are less common, does not cause these same type of convulsive symptoms but your dog will lose consciousness and it will appear like your dog has just collapsed.
The worst of scenarios is where your dog’s experience a grand mal seizure repeatedly without fully recovering from the original attack.
There are three very distinctive stages of seizures in epilepsy in dogs. What is unexplainable is some of the following:
Dogs have an acute ability to detect when their owner is about to have an epileptic seizure and this is well documented.
However, it is also widely reported that owners for whatever reason once their pet has been diagnosed, have the same ability.
You can feel it coming.
The pre-seizure phase is called the aura and your pet will start to become restless, look suddenly to you for affection, or in some cases they will look for some place to hide.
The reason for this is simple; they can sense what is about to happen.
It is this sense that alerts most owners in this stage.
The Ictus stage is the actual seizure and in most cases only lasts for five minutes or less, however, for both you and your pet it can seem like hours.
The Post-Ictal phase is the recovering stage.
This stage will vary tremendously depending on the severity of these horrible lighting storms and can last for ten to twenty minutes or in some cases it can be several days.
In this stage your pet will seem disoriented and may be temporally blind.
Most dogs will never become violent during a seizure and in most all cases it will be just the opposite where they will come to you for help.
But during a seizure in Epilepsy in dogs it does little good to try to comfort them as they have no sense of anything; you are much better served to save to comport for after the seizure.
But then hold them and comfort them, they have just been through a tremendous ordeal.
Diagnosing the cause of the epilepsy in dogs will determine the treatment.
No one knows for sure what actually triggers the attack and only you can accurately tell your veterinarian what the symptoms where before the attacks or leading up to the attacks.
Most of the experts believe that epilepsy in dogs can never be cured.
Classic treatments will include oral drugs such as Phenobarbital and Primidone which must be given daily.
If severe, you dog may also be given intravenous drugs to help slow the imbalance in the brain.
However, there may be other treatments.
There is mounting evidence that Vitamin E is extremely effective in animals in reducing seizures that are induced by pressurized oxygen and chemical imbalances in the brain.
Recent studies at the University of Toledo Department of Pediatrics and Medicine showed that Vitamin E when used in children prior to an epileptic attack had a sixty percent reduction in attacks.
Those that did have attacks the symptoms where much milder.
In animals, especially dogs, seizures are induced by chemicals that produce free radicals which are unstable molecules that that are generated by chemical reactions involving oxygen.
They are especially harmful as they attack electrons from healthy molecules embedded in the brain cells membranes.
Vitamin E is often referred to as the miracle drug for dogs, and the protection that it may provide for your dog with the brains electrons may be yet another miracle function.
The reason is simple; they help to protect these electrons and may possibly stop these lightning storms in your dogs’ head with Epilepsy in dogs.