Over the years, I've met many "Epi-Dogs" as they are commonly called. At first, I helped care for them as a Vet Tech. Now, as a Pet Blogger I've been fortunate enough to have virtually "met" some of these amazing Epi-Dogs.
What is Canine Epilepsy?
Canine Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes sudden and uncontrollable seizures. There are two kinds of epilepsy - genetic and idiopathic.
Genetic Epilepsy is passed down from one generation of dog to the next in their genes. Certain breeds of dog are more prone to Genetic Epilepsy than others.
Idiopathic Epilepsy is caused by unknown factors. It's a highly unpredictable condition and is often hard to predict when or why a seizure might occur. There are some factors that are thought to possibly cause seizures in dogs like stress, weather, or a change in schedule.
Many dogs live long happy lives with Epilepsy. It's not a curable condition, but it can be medically managed by your Veterinarian.
What to Do if Your Dog Has a Seizure
If your dog has a seizure or multiple seizures, you'll want to let your Veterinarian know about it. It's recommended that you keep a journal and write down any and all information that you can about the seizure. Here are some important things to include:
- What time did the seizure occur?
- How long did the seizure last?
- What was your dog doing when the seizure took place?
- A description of the seizure - how severe was it?
- Did anything in your dog's schedule change that day?
- Did your dog eat anything different that day?
You can include any other information you think could be relevant to your dog's seizure. A log like this can be very helpful in diagnosing and treating your dog's Epilepsy. Another helpful tool for your Veterinarian could be a video of a seizure taking place.
If you catch your dog during a seizure, there are some things you can do to make sure they stay safe and as comfortable as possible.
- Make sure they can't fall off of a high place, like a bed or stairs.
- Talk to your dog calmly during a seizure. Try to remain calm when the seizure ends. Dogs can tell when you are nervous or upset and this can help them stay calm too.
- Try to prevent them from hitting their head on hard flooring or surfaces.
- Don't try to stop your dog's movements during a seizure.
- Your dog may urinate and/or defecate during a seizure. This is normal.
- Don't place your hand near your dog's mouth during a seizure. Dogs sometimes clench their jaws while having a seizure and could accidentally bite you.
After a seizure, your dog might feel disoriented and thirsty. They may pace back and forth. Some dogs could take as long as 24 hours or more to recover from a seizure and some dogs recover very quickly. Each dog is unique and no case of Canine Epilepsy is exactly the same.
Mostly what I want everyone to know for Canine Epilepsy Awareness Day is that it's OK if your dog has Epilepsy. It's not the end of the world. Together, the two of you can get through this. Canine Epilepsy can be medically managed. There may be bumps in the road along your journey together, but you can get through it.
Here are a few social media pages of Epi-Dogs for anyone who may be interested in following them:
- FiveSibes Facebook Page
- Fearghas, A Mastiffs Life With Epilepsy
- Riona, A Mastiffs Life With Epilepsy
- Confessions of a Rescue Mom
Have you ever cared for an Epileptic Dog? Share your thoughts or advice with us!