Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for a small dog to experience a seizure at some point within its lifetime. Even if your dog has already had a seizure during his or her life, it doesn't make an additional event any less scary or stressful for you as the owner. More specifically, with the knowledge that seizures can actually be a life-threatening event, it can be very hard to know when it may be time to rush your pet to the veterinary emergency room and when to help them ride it out. After talking with your veterinarian to determine the source of the seizures (to be sure your dog doesn't have tumors or another malignant cause), make yourself knowledgeable about what to look for and how to best spot an emergency situation:
Record the Time
One of the best possible ways to determine if a dog's seizures might need urgent care is to take careful note of the length and time between the occurrences. As a rule, you should seek immediate emergency attention if you notice that the seizure lasts longer than normal (maximum five to ten minutes) or if multiple seizures occur within the same day. If your schedule is busy or you find it hard to remember exactly how long each seizure lasts, consider writing down the events in a notebook that you can later present to your veterinarian. Having a legitimate schedule of the seizures showing the duration and re-occurrence will help your dog's doctor to get a better idea of what exactly is happening.
Epilepsy or Bigger Problem?
Just as humans can experience epilepsy leading to seizures, so can dogs experience the same unfortunate neurological disorder. For canines who experience epilepsy, having recurring seizures is unfortunately not uncommon. If the cause is epilepsy, your veterinarian may be able to help with a solution-- but if a seizure occurs out of the blue to a dog who is not normally prone to having them, there could be a more serious cause:
- Brain tumors or trauma
- Internal organ failure, including liver and kidney
- Consumption of a poisonous substance
If you notice anything out of the ordinary involving your dog, don't make the mistake of hesitating to rush them to the animal hospital. Although some causes may be less serious than others when it comes to a seizure, the reality is that the more serious causes can lead to irreparable damage or even death for your pet. Make a rule of getting an expert opinion if you feel unsure or wary about the situation for your dog's lasting health. Talk to experts like South Hills Animal Hospital for more information.