Treating a Dog with Seizures


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“Listening to you on the radio in Wilmington, NC is a ritual for me, my wife, and our Peke-A-Poo/Yorkie. She’s a 9-lb. and 5-year old dog in very good health. In fact, she’s very active.

“Recently, at 4 a.m., Sachi began screaming, and yelping, as if someone had accidentally stepped on her paw!  We thought no more about it.  Two nights later, at around 2a.m., Sachi did the same thing, screaming and yelping.  Each time, the duration of the screaming and yelping was about five seconds.  After at around 7:30 a.m., Sachi experienced another episode.

“My wife called our veterinarian and he recommended that we keep a log detailing these episodes, and there were two more, one during the middle of the night, and one during the day.  Our veterinarian said that Sachi was experiencing fits of epilepsy after conducting a blood test. He also prescribed Potassium Bromide. Although she has experienced three seizure episodes subsequent to taking the initial dosage, it appears now that the medicine has somewhat taken hold and Sachi has had no further seizures.

“Following each episode, whether during sleep time, or during the daytime, once the seizure ended, Sachi was totally and completely fine.  After screaming and yelping for four-to-five seconds, she would be back to wagging her tail, licking us, and being her loving self. The episodes seemed to have more of an adverse effect on us more than they hurt Sachi.

“What do you think of all of this?  What would you recommend for us to do in addition to what we have already done?

“We have the utmost respect, and admiration, for you and your devotion to all pets.  Your response would be greatly appreciated.”  G. D. H., Wilmington, NC

Thank you for your kind words, and detailed description. I can only go so far in my answer, as I am certified animal behavior consultant, and not a veterinarian or veterinary neurologist. However, I can say this. For starters, it’s clear that you and your love Sachi very much.

We don’t know why most epilepsy in dogs occurs, though in some cases there may (or may not) be some genetic predisposition. A low dose of the classic seizure med you are using may handle the issue for the remainder of Sachi’s life. If there are no further seizures for around three months, which is possible, ask your veterinarian if you can lower the dosage. Some dogs may worsen, over time, and the dosage must be adjusted or another drug used instead. Continue to keep that log of when Sachi is having seizures. Again, with luck, they may continue to diminish.

If you happen to have a smart phone, you can help your veterinarian out by shooting a video of her seizures.

Indeed, typically, we’re more upset watching a seizure event than dogs or cats are having them. For the vast majority of seizures, the only real serious danger is a dog falling down stairs or walking off leash and dropping in the middle of the street.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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