A Guide to Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

A Guide to Seizures and Convulsions in Dogs

Your normally happy and carefree dog looks confused, becomes unsteady, and then drops to the floor and starts kicking its legs as if treading water. This is what a canine seizure (also called a convulsion) looks like, and it can be a frightening event for a pet owner – especially if you don’t know what to do.

What Is a Seizure?

A seizure is a temporary disruption of normal brain function that is usually outwardly expressed with uncontrolled muscle movement. Seizures are the most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in dogs.

Signs and Symptoms of Seizures in Dogs

Seizures occur in three phases, and each has its own signs and symptoms.


1. Pre-Ictal Phase (Aura)

This phase occurs immediately before the main convulsive event. A dog might appear agitated or restless and seek you out. This phase might be accompanied by nervousness, whining, excessive drooling, or trembling.

2. Ictal Phase

The ictal phase is the main part of the seizure event. It can range from mild seizures to more severe events.

Mild events are usually marked by mental confusion with dogs looking dazed or confused with a blank stare and mild shaking.

More severe seizure events are marked by the following signs and symptoms:

  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Paddling motions
  • Jerking or rigid body movements
  • Muscle twitching
  • Stiffening
  • Drooling
  • Tongue chewing
  • Chomping
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Involuntary urination or defecation

3. Post-Ictal Phase

Immediately after the main seizure event, dogs will likely appear confused and disoriented. Dogs might pace restlessly, salivate excessively, and even experience temporary blindness.

What to Do If Your Dog Has a Seizure

  • Stay calm.
  • Move your dog away from furniture and stairs.
  • Don’t put anything in your dog’s mouth. (They won’t swallow their tongue.)
  • Try to time and date the seizure

Canine Seizure Diagnosis and Treatment in Goldsboro

If your dog has a seizure, schedule a veterinary appointment right away. Seizures can indicate several underlying medical conditions in dogs including poisoning, a variety of systemic diseases, and traumatic injuries.

Our veterinarian will thoroughly examine your dog and perform any necessary diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your pet’s seizures. He will then recommend a treatment plan designed to address the underlying cause of illness and manage your dog’s seizures.

To learn more or schedule an appointment for your dog, we welcome you to contact Eastwaye Veterinary Clinic today.

Eastwaye Veterinary Clinic