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Dog Seizures: When to Worry, When to Wait

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by

Help! My dog is on medication but continues to have seizures. What should I do?

The goal of anti-convulsants in seizure control isn’t to make pets never have a seizure again. Although this would be nice, it’s not realistic. However, the number, duration and severity of seizures should lessen with medication. If your pet continues to have breakthrough seizures in an amount that concerns you, request a simple blood test to ensure the level of medication is therapeutic in your pet.

If the level is therapeutic and your pet continues to seize, ask your veterinarian about adding another medication like bromide or phenobarbitol, depending on which one your pet currently takes – or possibly consulting with a specialist. – Dr. Fiona Caldwell, DVM

I can’t tell if my dog is having a seizure or trembling for another reason.

Shaking and trembling may be caused by reasons unrelated to epilepsy in dogs. Learn how to tell the difference in 6 Reasons Your Dog May Shiver by Dr. Marc.

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Video Transcript: Hi, I’m Dr. Fiona Caldwell and I’m a veterinarian at Idaho Veterinary Hospital. I’m answering questions from Pets Best Facebook page today.

This question comes from Janet, who writes, “My dog had a seizure. I took her to my veterinarian and the veterinarian wants to wait to put her on seizure medication. Is this okay?”

I’m sorry your dog had a seizure. This can be a really frightening and scary thing to watch. Seizures that are caused by epilepsy happen in less than 1% of dogs. Typically, what you’ll see is the pet losing consciousness and paddling their legs or jerking or convulsing. It can last for a number of minutes.

Definitely make an appointment with your veterinarian if you ever suspect that your dog has had a seizure. You were right to go to your veterinarian. Typically, the vet is going to want to run some type of lab work or some other diagnostic testing to make sure there isn’t a different underlying problem causing the seizure.

As a rule of thumb, dogs less than a year of age that have a seizure are typically suffering from some kind of infectious problem, either viral or bacterial. In dogs from about one to six or seven years of age, typically the most common cause is epilepsy. Dogs older than seven that come up with seizures, unfortunately this is often related to something outside of epilepsy, scary things like a brain tumor, liver disease or some other problem.

Depending on how old your dog is and what the seizure was like, it actually might be okay for you to wait to put this dog on seizure medication. There is a decent percentage of the canine population that will have one seizure and then never have another one. Your veterinarian probably doesn’t want to put your dog on seizure medication if he or she is one of those dogs who never has another seizure.

A reason that I would put a dog on medication would be if they have seizures that last more than three to five minutes. Try to take a look at your watch or at the time on your phone so that you can know exactly how long it was. This is going to help your veterinarian to better treat your dog. If a seizure lasts more than three to five minutes, this is an emergency and you should bring your dog to a veterinarian. Their body temperature can rise quickly and can be a problem. Especially as pets age, seizures that last that long can cause problems with their brain and cause brain damage.

If it’s a quick seizure, 20 or 30 seconds to a minute, and your dog pops out of it, it isn’t necessarily an emergency but you should probably schedule an appointment with a veterinarian if they’ve never had a seizure before. If your dog continues to have seizures and they’re getting to the point where they’re once a month or two to three times a month, at some point the frequency is going to warrant medication. Talk with your veterinarian. There are seizure medications that typically work pretty well for dogs and can help control their seizures.

If you guys have questions for me, feel free to post them at Pets Best Facebook page.

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  1. Linda says:

    I have read the inserts the vet has given me when I have gotten meds for fleas and heartworms for my 11 yr old toy poodle. She has had a seizure 3 different times. At first I thought they may have been a TIA, but now I am convinced it may have been the meds given to her as she has not had anymore. I do not give the med together as the literature says “not to give them together at the same time,” now I give it 1 week apart or more. So far there hasn’t been anymore seizures. People please read the inserts given to you by your vet. I have discussed this with my vet and it may be the cause.

    Thank You

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hi Linda,
      This is a great reminder to read labels on all medication. It is important to remember that pets can respond and react differently to any medication, even over the counter products that have been tested ‘safe.’ Most OTC flea products are basically insecticides; your veterinarian can prescribe a prescription flea product that works in a totally different way to kill fleas if the ‘spot-on’ causes a reaction.

      By TIA, I assume you mean a Transient Ischemic Attack or mini stroke. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell a seizure from either fainting, strokes, or other episodes. Always consult with your veterinarian in order to best determine the underlying cause.

    • Cathy says:

      Oral Flea and tick medicines have caused 2 of my dogs horrible problems within days of administration, one had a stroke the other had seizures and later developed Masticatory Muscle Myositis (MMM). I have been in contact with a dozen other people who’s dog developed MMM while taking the oral flea and tick meds or the oral flea & tick and heart worm combo pill.

  2. Julia says:

    I have border collie mix that is now 5 years old and he started having seizures about two years ago. He has them about every 6 months that I know of, and my vet told me to keep track of the ones that I witness and if they become more frequent or start to last longer than a few minutes then we would put him on medication. Always talk to your vet. In addition to normal appointments I have called a few times to ask questions, and my vet is great about getting back to me. Never be afraid to ask questions!

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hi Julia,
      Thanks for sharing your story! I think keeping a log or diary of your pet’s seizures is such a great idea. Not only is it an non-objective way to track frequency and duration of the seizures, but occasionally you can also note patterns or seizure triggers. If triggers can be avoided, you might be able to reduce the seizures your pet experiences.

      I agree, never be afraid to ask your veterinarian questions! We are here to help.

      • gavin thornhill says:

        hi my 5 month old yorkie puppy get seizures 5 times a day she on drugs stop them but she lost weight will drugs help her

  3. Mona says:

    We have a lab/bisenji mix and he had 4 seizures in one day when he was 6 months old. We immediately took him to a vet, who referred him to the Animal Hospital ($$$$$) who placed him on medication (phenobarbitol). They recommended an MRI and further testing. We decided to see if the meds worked before spending the money on further testing. The worked. He was on the meds for 2 years without another seizure. Considering that the medication could cause liver problems later in life, we went to our vet and he suggested he be weaned off the medication. It has been 3-4 months with no signs of a seizure. Our vet now feels that this initially could have been a virus-but I wonder if it has anything to do with the anesthesia he received the month before when he was neutered. I guess we will never know.

    It is very frightening to watch your dog go through something like this. Even a few seconds can feel a lot longer.

    We were unable to purchase Pet Insurance because of the seizures and the medication. I don’t know if I would be able to purchase it now.

  4. Lisa says:

    My dog had several seizures several days apart. I took him to a specialist who wanted to put him on medication. I purchased the medication but then did some research on sites dedicated to people with dogs who had seizures. They mentioned “triggers” and I thought back to each of the days where Louis had a seizure. Each of those days were days that I had been using an interior paint in my home. I have several dogs and remember an older unrelated dog who also had a seizure the night after I painted a hallway. Once I stopped painting, Louis never had another seizure. It’s always a good idea to remember what possible chemical triggers you may have been using the day your dog had a seizure. If I need to paint again, Louis will definitely need to stay with a friend for the day.

    • shelly says:

      Thank u for sharing ur experience it puts me more at ease because I think I may have triggered my dogs seizure. He has only had one and is almost 2 yrs old. He had it the night after I cleaned and disinfected my house really good because my children were very sick. Maybe the combination of all those chemicals all day was a trigger even with the windows open.

  5. KRISTEN says:

    How long after you gave your dog the flea and heartworm meds did the dog have a seizure? My 3 year old Aussie is now on seizure meds, but I was thinking it maybe was the combination of those meds that also may be the cause.


    • jill says:

      WE just had a bout of seizures with our ausie. The vet said to watch out against certian hertworm meds because they are toxic to dogs that are in the sheep dog family like ausies and collies.

  6. Vicki Lewis says:

    My dog had a seizure Sept 1 2010. It lasted minutes, I took her to the emergency room. She was about 12. She had an MRI & had a brain tumor the size of a golf ball in her left frontal lobe. She was given 8 weeks to live…unless it was removed and the cancer treated. We were lucky to find Dr Pluhar at the U of MN. We were 1 of 6 dogs accepted for a clinical trial for removing brain tumors and receiving an anti cancer vaccine. I am happy to say, it worked. Dr Pluhar is a life saver. We have been on phenobarbital for over the past 18 months, and are now switching meds due to liver elevations. Anyone dealing with this, please check out Dr Pluhar, this is her specialty.

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hi Vicki,
      It is true that older dogs with onset of seizures later in life typically have something other than epilepsy as a cause for their seizures. I’m so glad that your story has a happy ending! Finding a veterinary specialist that can perform advanced medicine can literally be a lifesaver for pets. Did you know that specialists are covered under Pets Best insurance policies? Having a health insurance plan for your pet can mean that he or she has access to cutting edge technology and new and emerging veterinary medicine.

    • tina mccanless says:

      Hi, Do you have any contact info for Dr Pluhar?

  7. John G says:

    I have an italian greyhound, and he is about 8 years old. He started having seizures about 6 years ago. After testing, they said that it was something like epilepsy, but not completely sure. They put him on Phenobarbital, and has only had one seizure since, because he was overheated. We have his levels monitored every 6 months and he is great! I recommend you talk to your vet about this. My vet happens to be Dr.Caldwell, since I live in Idaho also. How cool! Best to you and your pet.

  8. Rose says:

    My good friend and I both have pitbull mixes with epilepsy. This is not my first dog with the condition, but for her, it is a first. She says her dog sometimes has excessive bleeding from the mouth and nose when she seizes. This was alarming to me because I’ve never seen that before. I’ll be house/dog sitting for her and her husband next month and I’m afraid June will seize and bleed. As her “doggy god mother” I am allowed to take her to her vet. But I was wondering if I’m paranoid or if dogs often bleed like this during a seizure but I’ve always been fortunate enough to not see it.

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hi Rose,
      This isn’t a common presentation with seizures, unless she is biting her tongue or somehow injuring herself when she seizes. I would have a veterinarian examine her to rule out a different underlying disease, such as a clotting disorder, or heart disease causing hypertension, to name a couple. If she has a scary episode while you are pet sitting, don’t hesitate to have her examined!

      • Lisa says:

        Do you think a specific dog food or a new dog bowl could cause seizures, she starting having them after we bought her a new bowl and changed her dog food to gravy train?

  9. kathy says:

    My dog had a couple of seizures in a year and suddenly had several in a week. He is about six years old and I think this may be partly genetic and partly stress and maybe he had a UTI according to the vet, who wanted to put him on barbituates but I was concerned that he would be unhappy with this (as he does not take well to sedatives unless the dose is heavy and then his little ‘personality’ would suffer) any withdrawal might exacerbate seizures (I am speculating). I have been keeping an eye on him and giving him cranberry food and he has not had a seizure in a while so I am thinking maybe the UTI plus stress was exacerbating a genetic predisposition. But I am also concerned about the Trifexis as he ran out of them when this began. Could there possibly be any withdrawal problems from this medication as well? I am no expert on any of what I am saying here and I know that frequent seizures can be very dangerous so I am not making any suggestions. Just interested if anyone else has any similar experiences.

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hi Kathy,
      I’m sorry you have had this experience with your dog. Seizures can have a genetic component, as proven by the fact that certain breeds are more predisposed than others. We do know that seizures can also be triggered by outside influences, such as medications and other underlying disorders. Trifexis is a flea product that shouldn’t cause seizures when withdrawn, so this is an unlikely cause.
      Be sure that the UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) is being treated appropriately with antibiotics. Cranberry supplements alone won’t clear an infection. If a course of antibiotics were prescribed, have a follow-up urinalysis performed to ensure the infection is gone. Antibiotic resistancies are not uncommon.

      Try not to be afraid of seizure medication; it is true that the barbiturate types (Phenobarbital usually) can have a sedating effect at first, but many pets will return to normal within a few weeks. There is also an alternative to barbiturates called potassium bromide, which is essentially a salt. It can be as effective in some patients as a sole agent for controlling seizures. It is true that suddenly withdrawing a barbiturate (phenobarbital) can trigger seizures; never discontinue anticonvulsants without talking to your veterinarian first.

      Talk to your vet about your concerns to work towards the best treatment plan for your pet.

    • Jill says:

      Consider not using Trifexis again – especially in a dog that has seized. Consider isolating your dog from any toxins, in fact. Flea, tick and heartworm meds – as well as vaccines – are toxic. Talk to your vet and consider getting an opinion from a naturopathic vet (or get a book written by one as a start.)

  10. Ann says:

    I went through seizures with my elderly dachshund and I thought I would share two things I wish I had been given more information on earlier:

    1. when can you wait a seizure out and when should you take your dog to emergency?

    2. the fact that there is rectal valium that you can give at home during a seizure to minimize the impact.

    My dog started having seizures later in age and they said it was probably a brain tumor, but it was too risky at that point to put my dog under anesthesia to do an MRI to determine what it was.

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hello Ann,
      I’m sorry you had this experience with your pet. Seizures can be scary, and having an older pet with onset of seizures can indicate problems other than epilepsy, such as brain tumors. I’m glad you asked these questions. Here is what I tell my clients when they have a seizing pet:

      1. A pet that has never seized before and is having a seizure should be seen. If the seizure is brief and passes, the pet can probably be seen that same day, but not necessarily on emergency basis. At that first initial visit I always recommend blood work to rule out causes other than abnormal brain activity for the seizure.

      If the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes, or the pet comes out of the seizure only to go into another (cluster seizures), this is an emergency and the pet should be seen right away on an emergency basis.

      If your pet has a previously diagnosed seizure disorder, or is already on seizure medication and has a short seizure, he or she probably doesn’t need to be seen. Unless, of course, the seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes or there are cluster seizures.

      2. There is rectal valium that can be given to help stop seizing and prevent cluster seizures. It is not a good ‘sole’ agent for seizure therapy, but can be a useful adjunct to anti-consultants to help with break-through seizures.

    • Alex says:

      Thank you for the information about rectal valium! Our vet gave us oral valium and said to try to give it to our dog before he starts seizing or during a less-intense break in the seizures (he has clusters), but that is typically not possible. She’s never mentioned rectal valium, despite this being an issue for a couple of years now. Thank you!!

  11. Terri says:

    I have a German Shephard. Our dog is 7 and last year had a series of seizures over the summer and never had them before. She is not on any medication but after a process of elimination she was having a response to the flea spray used on her and the flea spray we applied to our carpet. We eliminated the flea spray on her completely but found out later that the spray on the carpet was the problem. We had the carpets cleaned and now, no more seizures. The chemical in the spray was the problem. Since last summer no seizure what so ever. Watch the over the counter products. We contact the company to let them know as well. It was a common brand.

  12. Lisa says:

    One thing a lot of people who have dogs that seize have mentioned is that placing a bag of ice (or frozen vegetables) on the dog’s back at the beginning of the seizure seems to stop the seizure or greatly reduce its severity.

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Thanks for this comment. There is a study in a Holistic Medicine Journal that supports this:
      A Simple, Effective Technique for Arresting Canine Epileptic Seizures. J Am Holistic Vet Med Assoc. January 2004;22(4):19-20. H. C. Gurney, , DVM; Janice Gurney B.S., M.A. Aspen Park Veterinary Hospital, Conifer, Colorado

      I don’t have any personal experience with this technique, but certainly it wouldn’t hurt to try. Just be cautious with approaching a seizing pet, as they can occasionally bite without knowing or being able to control what they are doing.

  13. A says:

    Our family dog, a border collie mix, started having seizures right after Revolution drops were used on her. Turns out that these drops can cause seizures. The manufacturer told me that the seizures would be temporary, not permanent. It is 5 months now on medication from the vet. She started on phenobarbital, now on that and potassium bromide because the phenobarbital only worked for about 3 weeks and she would again have many seizures. We will be reducing the phenobarbital in steps, with the goal being to remove her from it and use only the bromide. I don’t know what the manufacturer of Revolution thinks is temporary, but this has been 5 months now. She had had one dose of Revolution at the vet’s office, and the seizures began after we returned home. And, of course, we read the flyer, wherein they state reactions are rare, etc. Not that rare, because we have known other people since then whose dogs became seriously ill right after a dose of Revolution.

    • Kathy says:

      My border collie mix also had seizures following her first dose of Revolution (she was 12 years old). She may have also had a stroke. Unfortunately, she did not survive this. Revolution for dogs should be withdrawn from the market!

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hello A.,
      I’m so sorry your pet had such an adverse reaction to Revolution. It is another important reminder that animals can have different reactions to medications that are perfectly safe in other pets. It sounds like you have a good veterinarian working on her case and I hope she improves!

    • Duane says:

      We had a 7 year old pug who was healthy and loved to play. A few days after a topical dose of Revolution, he had a seizure while sitting on my lap. His entire body suddenly tensed up, he fell off the couch, started crying in pain and started peeing. A few weeks later I took him to the vet because he seemed very lethargic and cautious. It turns out he is now blind from SARDS, or sudden retina disconnect. I asked the vet at that time if any of these sudden problems could possibly be side effects from any drugs and the response was absolutely not. The pug was given anti seizure medication and has been healthy for a year. I never specifically mentioned Revolution medication to the Vet or thought this was Revolution induced until after a year later. I recently gave him another dose of Revolution on his fur and the same results occurred. He is completely disoriented again, does not know where he is, doesn’t respond to sound and is bumping into everything. Yes he is blind now but adapted to that after a few weeks, remembering where all furniture was and walking around the house and yard fine. I would be willing to say he had another seizure while we were at work and is now displaying signs of encephalitis.

      • bailey says:

        I applied Revolution on my whippet/chihuahua mix 5 days ago and he had a seizure yesterday. Sounds like this isn’t as uncommon as they’d like everyone to believe.

  14. Sadie says:

    My 7 year old pointer started having seizures a few days ago, having 10+ in 3 days time. I was convinced she was days away from dying. A few hundred dollars of blood work later, the vet says it could be a brain tumor. After 4 doses of phenobarbital, she has been seizure free for the last 48 hours. I read that it is uncommon for dogs to develop epilepsy at this “advanced age”. I don’t have the financial ability to pay for MRI, CT scan, or treatments if it’s a tumor/cancer. I’m hoping the meds will help her for a long time. Has anyone had a similar experience? If she does in fact have a brain tumor, i assume her days are numbered. what should I be looking for?

    • Meg says:

      Sadie, my 7 year old weimaraner just went through almost the exact same thing. We are starting him no phenobarbital today. I know you posted a while ago, could you tell me what the result with your dog was? The vet has nothing conclusive to tell us and we are very worried. Hoping your dog is doing well and thanks for any info.

  15. lori says:

    One of my shelties started having seizures about 2 years ago – He is a rescue dog and we have a strong bond with quite a bit of separation anxiety issues (both of us do!). Robbie seems to know when he is about to have a seizure as he will come find me. Is this possible?

    But my major concern is if I am starting or contributing to the seizure by cuddling him when he comes to me? Is it possible I’m scaring him into a seizure? I try to be matter of fact about them but my heart just stops everytime.

    • crich says:

      Hi Lori, your veterinarian is the best person to ask about this. Many factors can play into a dog having seizures, including the pet’s health history, so it’s best to check with someone who is familiar with your dog specifically.

    • Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

      Hi Lori,
      Separation anxiety can be frustrating! I’m glad you were able to open your heart and home to this rescue. To answer your question, yes, some animals can sense when they are going to have a seizure. Some owners can even become in tune enough with their pets that they can recognize subtle changes in their pet or their pet’s behavior that can indicate an impending seizure. This is called the pre-ictal phase. Not every pet has a definable pre-ictal phase though, obviously Robbie does.

      It is unlikely that you are contributing to his seizures by comforting him during these periods. If he is seeking you out, he is likely anxious that he can sense a seizure coming on and gets re-assurance from you. If his seizures are frequent, consider starting anti-convulsant medication to lessen the severity and frequency.

  16. brynn says:

    My 9 yr old min pin on November 30 began to have seizures. I counted at least 13 in an hour. We ran him to emergency vet. Once we got there they gave him valuim to help with seizing. Unfortunately the vet said he wasn’t going to make it. With a broken heart we put him down. We are unsure what happened to him, got the standard answer of brain tumor or liver failure. I guess I’m wondering, if we made the right choice in letting him go.

  17. Amanda says:

    My lab/golden retriever mix, Luka, is almost 6 years old. Almost 2 years ago he had his first seizure. After that he did not have another one for a while. Then he had another one, and about a month or so later had another one. The thing about his seizures is they are far apart, but she. He does have one it will last for 30 minutes, an hour, or even longer. When it seems as if it is about to stop another one comes along. But then he may not have another one for two months. I have talked to my vet and she said unless te seizures are frequent enough there is nothing we can do. Can anyone help me?

  18. Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

    Hi Lisa,
    This is a great reminder that our pets can be sensitive to environmental toxins, maybe even more so than us! I’m glad you were able to determine the underlying cause and correct it.

  19. Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

    Hi Terri,
    Thank you for your comment. This is a great reminder about over-the-counter medications. Just because they are not a prescription doesn’t mean they are safer. Any animal can react differently to medications and products. Always read the labels and follow directions.

    Prescription flea medications may be safer for your pet following an adverse reaction.

  20. Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

    Hello Terry,
    I’m glad you asked this question! I get this all the time from my clients. It can be really frustrating to not be able to have medication filled that you know works, because an exam or blood-work or some other follow-up is needed. The biggest reason is out of concern for your pet. In a year a lot can change; pets age much faster than we do. I’m not sure what medication the other vet gave you, but what if your pet had an asymptomatic underlying problem that made giving that medication dangerous? Your new vet would be liable if something happened.

    The second reason is because it’s the law that a veterinarian needs to establish a patient relationship in order to prescribe medications, much the same as human medicine. Even if you know what drug you need for yourself, your own doctor will likely require you to be seen, examined, and possibly have tests run before they can re-prescribe your medication. I know its frustrating, but diagnostics are important in order to provide the best health care for your pet. Veterinary medicine can be expensive, always consider pet insurance as a way to help cover expenses!

  21. Dr. Fiona Caldwell says:

    Hi Meg and Sadie,
    Unfortunately the chances of something other than epilepsy as a cause for seizures in a dog whose episodes start later in life is much greater. Some of these causes are more treatable than others. Blood work and advanced imaging are required to best diagnose the underlying cause. If these tests are not financially feasible for you, occasionally anti-convulsants can stop the seizures, albeit usually temporarily if the condition or disease progresses. Seven years old is right on the cusp for me in terms being less likely epilepsy; most epileptics start having seizures between 1 and 6 years of age, but there are always exceptions. I hope both of your pets do okay on their seizure medication!

  22. Sabina says:

    Hi, Dr. Caldwell, I have a little Lhasa Apso that I just got a little over a week ago. He is absolutely adorable but he has been suffering from “seizures,” I put them in quotations because I’m unsure if it’s completely a seizure, his body tenses up, he curves to his right & becomes completely stiff, during some of these episodes he’s aware of his surroundings & some other episodes he isn’t & completely disoriented. After the seizures he can barely walk, he walks like a drunken man, falling, takes him about 5 minutes to come too. The seizures last anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 & half minutes (2 & half minutes only happened once) He’s almost 14 weeks old. He also cries during these episodes, a lot, tears completely streaming down his face. He’s had 7 seizures in the week I’ve had him (4 of which happened today.) He’s also got a cough & breathes heavy which was diagnosted by our vet as a kennel cough but she’s completely unsure of why he might be having seizures. We’re all so worried & don’t want to have to give him back to the store we got him at. Do you have any idea of what it could be? She took his blood & a poop sample, we’re waiting on the results but she doesn’t seem certain she’ll find anything. I really hope he’s okay & I hope you can tell me your thoughts on our little one.

  23. Tracy says:

    My dog is only 3years old and she has had a couple of seizures that would start by her jerking and stiffly twitching with no control over her body. This period would last about 5 minutes and then she would drool a lot as she was coming out of her spell which would last about 5 minutes. But tonight, she had 4 episodes back to back that in total lasted for an hour and a half. It’s New Years so my vet isn’t open, and I plan to call tomorrow to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, anything I can do for her? The seizures have stopped and she doesn’t have any strength to move. She vomited all of her dinner, but I did get her to drink a lot of water after her last spell. Advice for a scared owner?

  24. Mike says:

    Hi Dr Caldwell

    We have an 11 yo mini Dachshund which I witnessed her first episode today (lasting 2+ min) similar to Tracy’s with massive drooling. She had some pain involved and locked in a stretched posture. I had a beagle in the 80’s that was diagnosed with epileptic seizures. This was very similar but shorter time. If they become frequent we’ll get the tests done.

  25. Tiffany says:

    My 2 month old Yorkie woke up this morning unable to move at all. I put him on the puppy pad to potty and he just laid there and web I picked him up, I realized he had peed himself while lying down an he’s always been a very active and independent puppy. I held him in my hands on his back and the look in his eyes was pure fear and helplessness. I tried massaging his back, neck and legs in hopes that it would relax him and he would walk just in case he just slept wrong. But it didn’t help. About an hour after he woke up, I had him laying on a towel on his side and he went into a full blown convulsion where he was choking on his tongue, his eyes were rolled all the way back where you could see no color and he was violently jerking front and back legs and his back and head. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen and it lasted about 30 seconds. It’s Sunday right now and my vet is not in today and my husband is refusing to pay as much as an ER would cost for him. He started walking for the first time a couple minutes after the convulsion but was acting strange, whining and biting my like he was nervous which I’m sure he was. But what in the world could be wrong with him? What could have cause him to act paralyzed air about an hour then go into a full blown convulsion? If he’s walking now, does that mean he’s ok? I don’t know what to do. I have his 2 sisters and his mom with me also but they’re not showing any signs of any illnesses.

    • Chryssa @ Pets Best says:

      Hi Tiffany, what a scary experience! We recommend you take the puppy to a vet immediately. Especially in a puppy that young, there’s no way to tell online what the cause might be.

      Pets Best Insurance plans are available for pets 7 weeks and older, and emergency visits are covered (as long as the condition isn’t pre-existing). Also,most states allow us to give you a multi-pet discount, so you may want to consider plans for all your dogs in case you find yourself needing weekend care again.

      We hope the puppy is okay – please keep us posted!

  26. Monique howard says:

    My dog will be 10 yrs old later this year. she has been on meds for seizures now for about 3 years.
    is there anything that triggers these seizures as they seem to be increasing lately!!!

  27. Ivana says:

    Our almost 3 year old husky had his first grandmal seizure on Dec 9th and then another one on the 20th, both around the same time. They both lasted a little less then 2 minutes and he had a short postictal phase after but then was fine. I started using a new benzoyl peroxide acne treatment on my face that I got the same day as his first seizure and then didn’t use it till the 20th which was the day he had his second one. After his first one we took him to the emergency vet and had blood work done which came back normal. I wanted to wait to start phenobarbol in case he didn’t have one again. But then again on Friday (Jan 11th) he had another one at 1030pm and then another one 14 hours later (about 2pm) and another one 12 hours later (about 2am) this last one he paced around alot longer ( a couple hours) and was super thirsty and hungry and I’m mean he’s ok now but still isn’t quite himself. I spoke to the vet and he doesnt think the benzoyl peroxide could be a factor, but the big coincidence is that Friday I had a friend over and Saturday I had another friend over.. and after getting in touch with them after the seizures BOTH happened to be using a benzoyl peroxide acne spot treatment. I mean it could be a coincidence but its a very odd one. I don’t want to do meds in case this is the reason.. but then again we don’t have money to take him to the emergency vet or even our regular vet for bloodwork again..or even if he starts having a really bad seizure. Im so scared hes going to die.. I’ve tried to do research but can’t seem to find anything linking the BP to seizures as sometimes its used in dog shampoos for dogs with allergies.. could you PLEASE give me some insight? Could it be due to that..and if so could benzoyl peroxide have become a trigger? Thanks so much in advance

  28. ginny says:

    My 7 year old Boston Terrier was vomiting and not eating. Took her to the vet and he exrayed to make sure she didn’t have a blockage and thought she may have an infection. He injected antibiotic as well as sent pills home with me. She was peeing and drinking at that time. Two days later she started having seizures, one after the other. Her eyes would roll back and to the side, her jaws were clamping down, her legs rigid and sticking out. She didn’t seem to know me. She could not get her mouth open at all. Within an hour she could not stand, sit or hold her head up. We rushed her to the emergency pet hospital and they recommended (and i agreed with them) that it was best to let her go. This was just two days ago.

    I know everyone gets attached to their pets and I was no different. I just would like to know what could have been wrong.

    She went from being fine Tuesday to sick Wednesday and to being put to sleep on Friday.

    I looked on the web, and it seemed maybe a poison. She is walked outside, no poison is in our house. Also seemed it could have been a brain tumor? I had a jack russel terrier who went blind rapidly 8 years ago. Took her to the vet, and xrays and MRI showed brain tumor, lung and liver tumors.

    I just don’t know why i would have two dogs who this could happen to. They were dogs, but they were my babies.

    If anyone has any ideas please let me know. I am devastated.

    • Michelle says:

      Hello my 8 yr old boston terrier past last week 2/5/13. She never had seizures before but that day she had 7 cluster seizures in 1 hr. she was my life and I am devastated. I know what your going through. I am thinking she had a brain tumor. All of her blood work always came back ok. I am so afraid to ever get another dog in the future. The pain is so hard when you lose your best friend, this breed captured my heart. I have been reading so much on them and their health conditions are not great. It breaks my heart. Well we can only take one day at a time.

    • Jenny says:

      My 7yr old Boston terrior just started having seizures out of the blue on Dec 17th 2013. He was put on Phenbar 2 times a day. He had 2 good weeks but started having seizures again and I was told to put him on 3 times a day. He would have a sezure here and their. Well on 2/19/14 he had thress seizures pretty close togerther where they were usually hours a part. Then he started having one every 30 minutes for about 2 hours. I brought him to the er vet becasue I noticed his breathing was getting very bad. I made the sad decision to have him put to sleep. I still don’t know if I made the right decision. Also the phenbar he was taking made him a complete different dog. RIP Deuce!! I’m still hurting and miss him every moment of the day!! -

  29. Ashley says:

    I have a 1 year old yellow lab. I just experienced her first seizure last night. It didn’t last long. I have been told that once your dog has a seizure, they will always have them. Is that true? What are somethings that can trigger them? I talked to the lady that I got her from and her dog has never had a seizure, cause I read that it could be genetic. Is there a way you can try and prevent them from happening?

  30. Jamie says:

    My parson Russell terrier who will be 12 on the 28th has been completely healthy other than a small heart murmur discovered in October and slight dental disease. He has no arthritis, no cataracts, can hear just fine, and could sill run a a mile at top speed. That was until he started having focal seizures. It started with just a head jerk every few minutes. Then went to head jerk traveling to his front legs. Then it went to head jerk then a tremor thought his body. Now it’s accompanied with slight uncoordination at the time of the seizure and occasional fly biting. He has never gone unconscious and has been fully aware every time. These small focal seizures have occurred every 3-5 minutes around the clock since last Friday. He has seen the neurologist. He shows a moderate delay in his left front leg and both hind legs when she did the ol flip the foot over and see if he corrects it test. He has moments where he is obviously anxious and walks around in patterns like I wants to go somewhere but doesn’t know where which is unusual. He also has been more sleepy lately which is understandable considering the amount of seizures he has been having. He was put on zonisamide to try and stop his seizures, but the neurologist says she is pretty confident that he has a brain tumor. We started the zonisamide on Tuesday. He got two 25mg pulls of zonisamide in the am and on to try to get the med levels high in his blood stream then yesterday he received 1 pill ever 12 hours. This morning at 4 am I woke up to him throwing up in my bed(he has never thrown up before, during, or after a seizure before). Then 5-10 seconds later he had the biggest seizure to date. Never going unconscious I don’t think, but he did fall completely over and it lasted about 30-45 seconds which is the longest he has had. He also pooped a littke whike seizing which he has never son during a seizure either. However for a little while before the seizures started he had fecal incontinence in his sleep every now and then. 45 seconds Doesn’t seem long or like that big of a deal to some people because he is not having long grand mal seizures, however, this is coming from a dog who had never been sick a day in his life. Always healthy, always fed the beat of the best food because I know what I put in him has a profound impact on his health, always had regular check ups, and was never over weight. My vet remarked just a few moths ago about how healthy he is and that he would never have guessed buddy was older than 7. Anyway, should we switch to another seizure med because of this seizure he just had makes it seem like he is worsening? Or should we give the med more time to work since it has only been a few days? Also, could it be that no seizure med will actually work since its caused by a brain tumor rather than just simple epilepsy?

    • Jamie says:

      I should have also mentioned that I did the most comprehensive blood work with idexx labs and it showed everything was normal other than him being slightly dehydrated, showed he is a little stressed (I guess you can tell that through something in the blood??), and very very minor pancreatitis. everything else is normal and fantastic. His urinalysis showed some crystals but most likely due to his mild dehydration.

  31. Brenda says:

    My boxer mix has had seizures since she was about 6 months old. When she had her first one we didn’t realize what was going on. We thought she had hit her head when she got off the floor. She was walking around like she was dizzy. The next time it happened I witnessed it. The first vet wanted to wait until she was a year, but she was having them about every 2 weeks. We took her to another vet who has put her on medication to control them. She started with 1/2 a pill once a day and now takes 2 a day. She is 9 years old now and goes every so often for blood work. I have found that when she gets anxious or nervous she is more likely to seizure.

  32. Christy says:

    We have a 7 yr old lab who had a seizure on Christmas night. He displayed all the symptoms that are described when a dog seizes. We hadn’t seen anymore but 4 nights ago he had another one and then again 2 nights ago. We are taking him to the vet today for blood work. We have not used any cleaning agents or any other new chemicals in our house that we haven’t used before. We are hoping it isn’t a brain tumor and that is something that is easily treated with a medication. Is there a medication that you recommend more than another?

  33. Basel says:

    My male Dog is a Siberian husky who turned 2 three months ago had his first seizure in 25th of december and almost every week he had a seizure till 21th of Jan when he had 3 to 4 seizures starting from 4 am till 10 pm, all seizures lasted between 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and he regained consciousnesses between one another, we made him a blood test, the results where great,is it ok to have more than one seizure a day? and can i know now for sure that it’s elliptic ? and should i start medication? I have another female dog, should i keep them separated at night(when it usually happens) and after a seizure ?

  34. Kathy says:

    Our 12 y/o Austrailian Cattle Dog had what we thought was her first seizure yesterday. After talking to the dr. we realized thatt when she wet in my chair a few days before (uncharacteristic of her), that yesterday’s episode may have been her 2nd. They diagnosed a brain tumor, and our vet agreed today. She has ALWAYS been a heavy drinker (lol), but we seem to think she has been drinking even more these past couple days. Is that normal? I thought I heard the dr say she may drink a lot before and after seizing. Or is it just after? Once I heard “cancer” my mind was reeling and I’m not really sure of anything… She did start phenobarbital today – only one dose so far.

  35. gabrielle says:

    My pitbull pup is about 11 months old and he just had a 4 minute seizure. After he was looking at us really weird like he didn’t know who we were and 2 hrs later he is still acting a little strange. I have a 2 yr old and im afraid my dog might hurt him cuz it seems as if the dog don’t remember us. Could I just be freaking out. Is this normal, I’ve never seen a dog have a seizure before

  36. Vickie says:

    I have a red nose pitt and 2moro weeks ago he had 4 seizures in one day, I had phenobaritral prescribed for another dog, ive never seen a seizure and panicked gave join two pills took him to the vet and the vet said wait to give him a pheno stop I did and 2 weeks later they happened again the very said give him one a day when will the med kick in? My vet is frustrating me32mg , I called back twice becausemore seizures and he said give him one adhesion in 12 hours, I was horrified, I had to watch my p

  37. Chris says:

    Our 4 y/o dog (pug/chi) was having seizures every 7 to 8 weeks for the past few years and started getting longer (10-12 minutes) and a little closer together. We started to give diazepam pr when he had them to help shorten them and it seemed to help. But then he had two seizures one day a couple of hours apart and then had one about a week later. So the vet put him on phenobarb 32mg once a day but then he started having peti mal seizures every 7-10 days so then he upped it to twice a day. This did not work so he added phenobarb 64mg (+ the 32mg) twice a day. Still this did not work so he added potassium bromide 250mg twice a day. Still this has not helped and his seizures are getting worse so the vet recommended we put him to sleep. So my question is, Can we take him off the meds to just go back to the way he was having the seizures before? I know it was hard when he was having the seizures before the meds but now he is certainly suffering and I am wishing we would have never started the meds in the first place. The meds were started 2 and half monthes ago and have been a nightmare! Please help! Thank you

    • Chris says:

      I should clarify that since the meds there has been only one grand mal (as he was having before) and that was a couple of days after starting the meds. But now it is a type of peti mal seizure so I guess. I not sure exactly what it is he just stretches his neck up (and stretches his body with his bottom in the air) for hours with the longest being about 36 hours. The vet said he never has seen this type. This goes on every other day for the most part and he didn’t do this before. Do you think it may be a reaction from the meds since he didn’t do this before? I am confused as what to do because he could of lived with the way he was before the meds; but with them I am not so sure!

  38. jill says:

    My 13 year old chihuahua has been on phenobarbytol for approximately 4 years. tonight, while sleeping, he had a seizure, followed by another and another. it has been an hour, and he is still trying to pull out of it. Any suggestions?

  39. Julie says:

    My 11 yr old dashound/coonhound mix has had 2 seizures. 36 hours apart. She also has Lupus and hypothyroid. She is on Prednisone and Soloxone. The vet wants to put her on phenobarbital. I am torn whether to put her on more medication or is it time to put her to sleep? I’m very upset and don’t know what is best for her. Please help.

  40. Hannah says:

    My dog Jumpy is 13 yrs old… SHE is my life…. We had an incident the other night and two of my older brothers were jokingly fighting in the kitchen. Jumpy walked by and was kicked in the head… I instantly saw it happen, ran to her, kissed her, and was hoping she was ok…. The next morning, I was woken up by Jumpy(She sleeps in my room) to her barking in circles and I couldn’t get her to stop….This lasted about 45 seconds… She seemed fine after that as I cuddled her and held her, thinking that last night just really hurt her head and she was swollen from last night…. Later in the week she had another seizure… My mom said, “She’s getting old,” but Jumpy still acted like a puppy… I just walked in the door from school and my mom told me she had another seizure today. The vet is already closed, but I plan on taking her tomorrow morning as soon as they open. She seems to go through “Panting” phases so I filled up a fresh bowl of water for her. I’m stuck on what to do, again this dog is my world and it hurts me to think she’s in pain. PLEASE get back to me!!

  41. ClarkKing says:

    My 2.5 yr old Keeshond had had over 35 episodes of cluster seizures since Sept. 2011. We are adnministrering phenabarbitol and zenismide(sp) trying to find a balance.for the correct medicine. He continues to suffer every 7 to 10 days from clusters of seizures. The ER doctors admisnister a IM shot that knocks him out for 2 or 3 hours to stop the clusters. We are lost.

  42. Jenn says:

    I’m really starting to worry about our dog. He was a rescue we took in in Oct 2006, he was 6 mnths old. We know roughly his bday is around April, so he is approaching 7 yrs approx. I would say roughly 6 mnths ago, he was sleeping in his crate sleeping next to me (I work from home) and he just jumped up, shot out of his crate, ran into a wall, busted his lip, then he stepped back was all shaky, unsteady, the launched off into the living room and ran into the couch. I totally freaked, clld our vet, and even made my husband rush home. After he hit the couch, he sat down but was wobbling side to side and wasn’t himself. The vet said it sounded like he had a nightmare, but watch him. Fast forward about 2-3 mnths later, we came home and let him out of his crate, and he launched out again and ran into the wall. He was sleeping so we thought it was another nightmare. But I decided to start a journal. Fast forward to xmas day 2012. We came home from a dinner with the fam, and sorry, if tmi, but he got so sick in his cage, which is very unusual for him, we just threw out his bedding. He has been on the same Purina dog food since we had him. Well, 5 days later, he had what I think was his first seizure. He was running around playing and then just ran over to my husband who was sitting on the couch and my husband reached down to pet him, and asked what Oscar was doing. One look I didn’t think something was right. His limbs went stiff, eyes bulging,he couldn’t focus, was foaming at the mouth. It lasted an eternity for us, but in reality maybe 4-5 minutes. I even tried to coax him with his treats and he didn’t/couldn’t respond. But when he snapped out of it, he went right over to where his treats were, jumping around for one. It was the weekend, so I decided to call our vet the following business day. The assistant said we could bring him in, but since I was honestly worried about the costs of the tests, she told me to cont. keeping the journal. Well, on 1/30/13, my husband came home from work and I let him out to greet my husband in the driveway as usual, and he reached the top of the stairs leading up to our house and my husband dropped everything he had and came in holding Oscar. He said when he reached the top of the stairs Oscar just collapsed to his side and started saizing again, this time it lasted about 5-7 minutes and he lost control of his bladder. Well today, hubs came home, I let Oscar out, husband said he came happily down the stairs, the did a kind of squat running and he dropped to his side JUST before smacking into our house head on. Obviously I am calling his vet on Monday, but what I have read on here, etc, is scaring me so much that although I know you can’t tell me whats wrong, I was wondering what to expect at the vets, and how much $$ I will have to put out. If this was back when we first got him, our finances could care less how much an emergency vet cost, but these days, its quite different. Any thoughts, experience, etc… Thanks for taking he time to read this!!

    • Chryssa Rich says:

      Hi Jenn, we’re glad to hear Oscar will get to see a vet soon. Let your vet know that finances are tight so he or she can take the most judicious approach to diagnosing your dog. The journal you’ve been keeping should be helpful. Please keep up posted!

      • Jenn says:

        Thanks for the tip Chryssa. My husband and I are so worried about our special boy. I and my husband have had pets all our lives and have never witnessed anything like this, so it is really scary. The only thing we can do until a firm diagnosis is to just sit and hold him until its done. He doesn’t try to bite or anything, just seems as confused as we are.

  43. Scott says:


    I have read a lot of good/useful information on here. I live in a rural area. I have a 8 year old pug named Molly. Molly started having seizures at age 4. Molly started out on low dose phenobarbital. She was up to 16.2mg for the last year. Blood work is always run during episodes when Molly has numerous seizures. Today she had 6 seizures before the vet finally said to bring her in. Molly was given 10mg IM Valium. Molly has since had 4 seizures in her drugged state. What would be the next step in the process now as medication has no effect other than leaving Molly in a contorted state where she can even stand? The see saw breathing and muscle tone is almost to much to bare with no other small town treatments. Any advice would be helpful. This is the second episode of this nature in the last month in which putting Molly down was the only option given for further treatment. Thanks.

  44. Greg says:

    I have a hound/boxer mix bout year and half. We got her in November from the humane society I think she was having a seizure just her head was vibrating and she acted fine beside her head shaking it lasted bout 1 min. Should I be concerned

  45. nicole says:

    hey, my staffordshire bull terrier has been having seizures since christmas time, well 2 days ago he had 4 seizures in one day and now he keeps getting tremors all over his body and he kinda looks like he is is looking into space if you understand what i mean, well i rung the emergancy vets as it was quite late a night and they said they couldnt do nothing for me as i didnt have any money and it would cost me 250 for them just to look at him, so basicaly all the vets turned me down i did finally manage to get him booked in to see a vets on wednesday as they couldnt see him sooner as apparently seizures isnt a high prority :S is there any advise on how i could keep the tremors abay just untill the vets finally see him ? thanks

  46. Rebecca says:

    My 4 year old mini-long haired dachshund appears to be experiencing seizures :>( We go to the vet this Sat. I am aware of 3. 1st time , only noticed drooling to foaming at mouth, 2nd and 3 time less than two minutes long. All about 1 month or more apart. Is blood work a good test for epilepsy? Is it a good determination on need for medication? I am logging dates/time frame and anything I can think of that may be a trigger.
    Lots of good comments posted here. Thanks for sharing.

  47. Cynthia says:

    My puppy is having a seizure and I believe he’s trying to fight off and infection but the vet is closed on the weekends..what are some home remedys I can do to help him?

  48. Bella says:

    my 15 week old puppy was playing today and got pushed off the couch a little harder than normal and most likely hit his head. he was normal at first, followed me into the kitchen and watched as i made something to drink and then when we got back into the living room he suddenly wouldn’t use his front right leg, after checking that he didn’t really hurt it he started using his right leg and stopped using his front left, i checked that leg and he started stumbling sideways a little and basically stumbled right into my lap. he was shaking like he was cold and had his head kinda to the side and resting in my arm where he landed. he was like that for about a minute and then after got up and started playing again. after half an hour he was sitting in the kitchen while my husband was doing dishes and he suddenly urinated on himself and the floor. we are going to the vet on Monday. should i worry to much or just stay calm and relaxed?

    • Chryssa @ Pets Best Insurance says:

      We would definitely recommend a veterinarian visit, so we’re glad to hear you’re going. Please keep us posted.

  49. Keith says:

    My 8 year old female cross labrador retriever has recently been experiencing a tremor in the front left leg. She is fully vaccinated, alert and agile, albeit she is not into long walks because of being very nervous and frightened of traffic (she was an abandoned puppy I picked up from the SPCA).

    She eats well, can walk normally, appears to be well, but the left front leg tremors are a concern.
    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

  50. Dalene Kolb says:

    My Schipperke Nike will be 4 in July and has had seizures since the time we got him at a year. He has been on phenobarbitol since the beginning and it doesn’t seem to be helping. Without the medication he had a seizure every week, or more. Now it is about every 6 weeks. But like today he had one in the morning and one now, 8 hours apart. They last 3 minutes and he recovers quickly. The vet said we should think about taking him somewhere for an MRI, but is there anything else I could do? I hate seeing him like this but I also have already put in thousands of dollars into helping him. HELP! =(

    • Chryssa @ Pets Best says:

      Hi Dalene, thanks for your question. Here’s what Dr. Caldwell says with regard to medicated pets still seizing: “If your pet continues to have breakthrough seizures in an amount that concerns you, request a simple blood test to ensure the level of medication is therapeutic in your pet. If the level is therapeutic and your pet continues to seize, ask your veterinarian about adding another medication like bromide or phenobarbitol, depending on which one your pet currently takes – or possibly consulting with a specialist.”

      Please keep us posted on how Nike is doing!

  51. Anna says:

    I have a maltese at the age of 7. He has always had seizures once a month or once every other month. But lately he has been having about 2-4 a day for the past three days. We don’t know what to do. Should he take him to a vet? Also, can it be because of his food? He eats beneful. He also takes medication, he takes Phenobarbital. Please help.

    • Chryssa Rich says:

      Hi Anna, thanks for your question. Here’s what Dr. Caldwell says with regard to medicated pets still seizing: “If your pet continues to have breakthrough seizures in an amount that concerns you, request a simple blood test to ensure the level of medication is therapeutic in your pet. If the level is therapeutic and your pet continues to seize, ask your veterinarian about adding another medication like bromide or phenobarbitol, depending on which one your pet currently takes – or possibly consulting with a specialist.”

      It sounds like your dog has already been to a veterinarian for this issue, since he takes phenobarbitol. We definitely recommend you schedule a follow-up visit to ensure you’re still treating his seizures the best way possible.

  52. Toshca says:

    Hi Dr Caldwell

    My three year old Maltese had an episode of what seems to have been a “fit”. The episode lasted for 3-5minutes. He was shaking and leaning towards his left. His eyes where huge and his mouth had some foam. I took him to a vet and he confirmed that it appears to be a fit. However, he felt that it is not necessary to perform a blood test at this stage. My dog is perfectly fine at the moment, with no other ailments. Is this episode common, or should I have the blood test done asap?



    • Chryssa Rich says:

      Hi Toshca, thanks for your question. Here’s what Dr. Caldwell says with regard to situations like this: “Depending on how old your dog is and what the seizure was like, it actually might be okay for you to wait to put this dog on seizure medication. There is a decent percentage of the canine population that will have one seizure and then never have another one. Your veterinarian probably doesn’t want to put your dog on seizure medication if he or she is one of those dogs who never has another seizure.”

      It sounds like your veterinarian and Dr. Caldwell are in agreement that you can wait and see if your dog has another seizure before considering medication. Good luck – we hope it doesn’t happen again!

  53. Donna Nelson says:

    I agree to keep a log because my dog had a seizure cluster 6 months ago for the first time when he entered the dog grooming salon and saw a huge black dog that looked like a bear. Never had anymore after that until he entered the vets office a few days ago so I have determined he gets them when he’s scared really bad.

  54. teri says:

    I have a 12 y.o Australian shepherd who has started to jerk for no reason and sometimes it seems like a noise will set him off. The jerk is just one big flinch like movement of his whole body, kind of like something startled him. He doesn’t seem to be having seizures. Any thoughts?

  55. inisha jaramillo says:

    Our family dog is well over 10 years old.. he has always been a goof healthy dog since a pup but since today early in the morning he has had 3 seizures. he is well over weight .. but we are not sure what is causing it.. we took him to the vet after the second one (which was only 1-2 hours between the first one and second one) and we didn’t have the money to pay up front but they said he had a fever and they taught maybe he ate something that had chemicals in it which caused him to dehydrate and from that came the seizures..we are trying to get the $$ they want but any information would help..oh and foam is coming from his mouth when the seizure happens

  56. Susan says:

    Hello, I was directed here after watching a video about seizures. My 13yr old miniature poodle was acting strange for an entire day beginning in the early morning. Walking in circles, walking backwards. He also licked his paws and the floor a lot. He didn’t want to eat but he drank water normal. He didn’t respond to me when I called his name or made hand gestures and he didn’t want to be held. I read a lot about brain tumors and canine cognitive dysfunction so I figured that’s what it is but then he was 95% normal today. I was tired from being up with him all night so I didn’t make it to the vet today. Im scared to take him to the vet because I’m afraid that I will be given bad news. This is my baby boo and I love him so much, I won’t put him through evasive treatments to prolong his life. I was going to take him to the vet anyway so that he could start medicine for seizures. He has only had a few major seizures but he has several episodes that begin with him being aggressive, he comes to me and sits in my lap and rests his head on me. He seems to be confused and doesn’t even respond to his ball which he’s addicted to. At the end he coughs a little as though having trouble breathing and then he squirms to be let go and he’s normal again. A couple times the episode went on for an hour so I decided it was time to put him on meds. Will you please help me with your input and suggestions because I love this dog so much, he’s my little angel. Thank you

    • Susan says:

      My miniature poodle does not have any brain problems, I’m grateful to say. His blood work results prompted a urinalysis that showed a kidney was failing and also that he had a urinary tract infection. The vet saw my video and said my dog’s behavior was typical for a dog experiencing a discomfort. As for his seizures, my vet doesn’t think the benefits of the drugs would outweigh the detriment caused by the drugs.

  57. Donna says:

    My dog, who is 1.5 yrs old (lab mix) started having seizures about 6 months ago. They come about every 30 days and are very severe. He is on Pheno (97 mg) twice day and Keppra (500 mg 3x day). He recently had about 30 seizures over a 3 day period. We increased his meds and they have stopped however, now he shakes (shivers) and is walking around very slowly. I understand this is the “post” phase but I’m worried he may have permanent brain damage. Of course we’ve been in touch with 2 vets. How do you know if they have permanent neurological damage?

  58. Donna says:

    When my dog has cluster seizures, my husband takes him in backyard and wets him down with the hose for about 15 minutes. That stopped the seizures for an entire day. I really believe cooling down an animal does help. I will try the frozen veggies trick!

  59. Robin U says:

    We have a 3 year old Flat Coated Retriever that we took home from a shelter in April of this year. In May, we saw the first seizure and took him to the vet. He ran blood test and said that he might have Epilepsy. He had another in June ,we think., he didn’t seize but was excessively panting, very aggitated, running around the house, this happened again later in June and in July, no actual seizure but extremely aggitatted. The episode in July added barking at walls and all over the house. Jake rarely barks, we have heard him barking maybe 4 times since we’ve had him. It was very odd to hear him barking and it was a bark that was very strange almost chocking like sound. These episode last a few minutes. He seems to be having about one a month,

    Today he had a full blown seizure. Fell over, convulsed, legs running, panting, shaking. this lasted about 4 minutes followed by disorientation, wandering the house and drinking alot of water.

    We would like to know will happen to him if we don’t put him on drugs? Do the seizures affect him after they are finished? Will not putting him on drugs affect him negatively in the long run?

    Thanks so much for the help

  60. Gideon's mommy says:

    I have a 6 year old Saint Bernard who is ordinarily very healthy. In April of last year, my house was broken into and my dog was home at the time. About a month later (He wasn’t quite 5 years old), he had his first seizure! He had never had seizures prior, but has always been terrified of storms. Not only was my house broken into, but it rained/stormed either right before or after the break-in (trash can lid was wet). Double whammy for my dog. I feel that the break-in, in conjunction with the storm, was a major stressor for my dog. I also feel that the thieves hit, kicked, or hurt him (trauma). He had never had a seizure prior to that incident.

    After his seizure and a visit to the vet, we discussed some “calming” things (Adaptil plug-ins) to hopefully prevent future seizures (with the instructions to call her if they got worse). I used one of those security wraps, for anxiety. Although not a cure-all, it definitely helps. A friend also suggested putting a dab of lavender oil on his nose. He had a few more seizures (about one every 6 weeks thereafter). Then, a few months later, we had a week where it rained and stormed almost all week. Although he had never had more than one seizure episode a month (which is considered “seizure maintenance” per other sites), he had FIVE seizures during one night of stormy weather.

    Needless to say, he started seizure meds the next day. He has been on seizure meds for almost a year now, and is doing well. He still has an occasional seizure, but longer durations in between and shortened episodes. I make it a point to give him healthy dog food, try to exercise him daily (and have a fenced in back-yard), and whenever possible, I use his security wrap (T******shirt) when storms are predicted. He also takes medicine daily and wears a magnetic collar. I got a new puppy 2 months ago, so now he also has a playmate (again). This seems to have helped him A LOT.

    If it is any support to others, a seizure isn’t always caused by a severe/deadly medical condition. A lot of the articles state that seizures can be caused by a number of triggers. In his case, it is most likely the combination of a traumatic event and a fear (thunderstorms) that he has had since being a puppy (almost all seizures happen during a time of oncoming/previous bad weather, none prior to the break-in).

    I also had a friend who was fighting with his significant other, a lot. His dog began having seizures because of the stress.

  61. Buddy's Family says:

    Just yesterday we lost our beloved pet Buddy, a 8yr old lab due to incessant seizure. We are devastated and heart broken. I am writing this to make sure our (sad) experience has a chance to help some other dog and his/her owner in avoiding the grief we are going through. I will not comment about causes, but what an owner should know and do for a dog that has likelihood of having seizures.

    First, our experience – Our Buddy had several seizure episodes since Jan’2013. We worked with our Vet (who is very good) to identify the causes and noticed it coincided with changing the medications levels he was taking (Atopica/Ketoconozole for atopic allergy). Our Vet could not find any linkage in the current body of research. After we restored the medication levels to previous year, he was seizure free for 3.5 months and was very healthy. But yesterday, at 2am he suddenly had a seizure that lasted 40-50secs (similar as before) but this time after about 15min and before he could get up, he had another seizure. Then he started having seizures every 3-4 min that lasted for 20-30secs. We panicked and located a 24hr emergency clinic and rushed him there. But it was about 1.5hrs since the seizures started. They gave him diazepam (valium) injection to stop seizures. Later in the morning, our Vet did the blood work and determined that he has multiple organ failures (liver, kidney) and recommended that he be put down. But even before we could make a decision, he had another severe seizure forcing the hands of the doctor. We are devastated by this sudden and unexpected loss.

    Now, the lessons from this (sad) experience that could help others. First, it is most important to prevent seizures or reduce their recurrence to avoid damage to brain. With that in mind, all owners who have pets that have had seizure episodes –
    1. Know and learn to identify a very serious/life threatening condition called “STATUS EPILEPTICUS” that HAS to be treated immediately and aggressively- if seizure lasts more than 5min or there are more than 1 seizure episode (irrespective of length of each seizure) without recovering to normalcy (like walking/pacing, etc).
    2. Identify and keep handy the nearest 24-hr emergency Vet clinic, and HAVE a clear PLAN on how to transport the dog to the clinic with NO loss of time.
    3. Seek from your Vet, an intra-rectal diazepam (Valium) syringe that can be used once the dog is identified to have Status Epilepticus (seizure lasting > 5min or goes into 2nd seizure without recovering). This will help to control seizure before you can get to the Vet.

    I believe if we had these lessons, we would not be grieving today. If these lessons can save at least one other dog/owner from the grief we are going through, we would be honoring our Buddy.

  62. Toni says:

    My dog gage, is an American bulldog. He’s almost 7 yrs old. He was given to us two years ago, and he’s had many seizures since we’ve had him. I for one have never seen a dog have a seizures, so when it first happened, I wasn’t sure if that was what it was. This past week, he’s had about 5 maybe 6 of them. This morning, he is unresponsive to me, he’s shaking, he wont come to me at all. Every little noise he hears, scares him. He wants to be alone, will not let anyone touch him, and he’s panting like he’s over heating basically. I need to know if this is something I can help, or it’s to late?

    • Chryssa @ Pets Best says:

      Hi Toni, please make sure Gage is seen by a veterinarian right away! Seizures can cause brain damage and even lead to death if not treated quickly. Good luck, and please keep us posted!

  63. Ms67GTO says:

    I truly empathize with all of you. I feel your devastation and pain while watching your pet go through these horrible seizures, shakes, twitches, etc. I have an excellent vet. I never researched vaccines or maintenance pet meds, i.e., heart worms, fleas & ticks, etc. prior to subjecting my dog to them. Two terrifying events one from a vaccine; the other flea & tick med which I had used prior with no adverse reactions. Both times he had to be hospitalized, first episode, he started screaming, biting, moaning, running into things, lost complete muscle function of lower extremities, had to drag them. Nightmare #2 another monthly maintenance dose for fleas & ticks, hospitalized with high fever, seizures, listlessness, muscle weakness. Bills were staggering. Enough was enough; something had to change. I’m not a holistic person, but I knew it couldn’t hurt. Once I started my baby on holistic, all natural preventatives for heart worms, fleas, ticks, etc. & added holistic supplements for maintaining a healthy digestive system, everything changed. My dog is the healthiest he’s ever been. I still bring him to the vet for yearly check-ups and a full physical. Vet says he’s in “PERFECT” health, muscle tone is great, skin unbelievably healthy. However, I still refuse any conventional meds my vet feels necessary. I also switched his diet to a totally organic, holistic food line which I attribute to his excellent health. No more seizures, twitches, allergic reactions, muscle weakness – NOTHING!I Please don’t take my word for it – research yourselves and see how many pet owners have lost pets due to poisons/contaminants contained in meds & vaccines that are totally unnatural and dangerous to our beloved pets! Also, please check all ingredients in your pet’s food, treats, stay away from human table food. My sister had to put her dog down two days ago because of severe pancreatitis – cause – dairy products, cheese, milk, etc. I tried to explain to her the dangers of dairy, but she never believed me. It’s our responsibility to understand that what we blindly give our pets could eventually kill them! Vets will totally disagree, but I’m very happy to share what holistics have done for my beautiful baby despite my supposed NEED for commercial medicine. May God Bless all of You!

  64. carol says:

    Please need help ): my 9 month old puppy was having a nightmare as it appear, I thought she couldn’t breathe because she was breathing hard and fast and started to cry and when my little sister woke her up my puppy growled ? Is this normal ? Please someone reply ,thank you

  65. td says:

    My 2 yr old Chihuachua (sp?) is have 5-6 seizures daily, they last 30-40 secs long. She is on med and has seen the vet. She is on a theraputetic level of both meds. Is there anything else we can do. She is not the same dog. Her little personality is not the same. It just pains out entire family.

    • Chryssa @ Pets Best says:

      Hi td, here’s Dr. Caldwell’s advice for dogs that are medicated but still having seizures: “The goal of anti-convulsants in seizure control isn’t to make pets never have a seizure again. Although this would be nice, it’s not realistic. However, the number, duration and severity of seizures should lessen with medication. If your pet continues to have breakthrough seizures in an amount that concerns you, request a simple blood test to ensure the level of medication is therapeutic in your pet.

      If the level is therapeutic and your pet continues to seize, ask your veterinarian about adding another medication like bromide or phenobarbitol, depending on which one your pet currently takes – or possibly consulting with a specialist.” – Dr. Fiona Caldwell, DVM

  66. Barbie says:

    My husband and I came home last night to find my 13 year old chihuahua laying on the floor, like he was swimming, his tongue hanging out and his eyes rolling in the back of his head, also his head was twitching to the side. He stopped after a few seconds, but kept doing this all night, either when he moved his head a certain way or if we lifted him up. He couldn’t walk at all but ate with my help feeding him. Today he did it only once so far when I lifted him up, but still cannot walk, ate fine, does this sound familiar to anyone? The sad part is we cannot afford to take him to the vet, it is really awful to watch and not know. Thanks in advance.

    • Chryssa @ Pets Best says:

      Hi Barbie, there is no replacement for veterinary care in a case like this. Please do what you can to get help for your dog. Can you contact your local humane society or regular veterinarian to inquire about affordable exams, payment plans or financing options? We hope your dog is okay – please keep us posted!

  67. Cynthia says:

    I have a 3 week old puppy who just today started with seizures.When she opened her eyes one of them aren’t there, its just pink and I think she is probably blind in the other could this be what is causing the seizures? The other 2 puppies are fine and show no signs of seizures.They are husky, collie mix

  68. Melissa says:

    Our 2 yr old Pyrador (Black Lab/Pyrenees mix) dog started having seizures on 10/17/2013. It came all of a sudden. His first seizure was at one in the morning, to which I awoke to his legs in a violent paddling motion. I thought he was asleep until I saw that his tongue was flopped and his saliva was foaming. I had touched his back to see if he was okay, but he didn’t respond. He started growling when I was about to touch his head. He continued to bark and growl until my husband walked into the living room. He calmed down and we noticed he was disoriented. My husband took him into the room with him and at four in the morning, Koa was seizing on our bed. So, we waited for him to come out and we helped him get down from the bed. After this we all went to the living room, and when he was back to normal, he was playing with our kitten and his jaw started twitching and he began walking around shaking his head and he didn’t have a seizure. Due to his behavior we had originally thought that the cat had injured him. This was 5 in the morning. He was fine until 11 am. I came back and he just came out if his seizure. We were trying to pinpoint anything and everything that could’ve caused his seizures, but the only theory we came up with was our sons macadamia nut pie. We decided that we were going to have him seen because we were all afraid of the seizures continuing. The vet did an examination and ran blood work. He mentioned that our dog wasn’t suffering from food poisoning, but thought it may have been his kidney or liver. The results came back perfect. All of his levels were perfect. He diagnosed Koa with canine epilepsy since there were no other known causes if his seizures. He came home from the vet with a prescription for phenobarbital twice daily. At 4 that afternoon, he had a grand mal seizure on the outdoor deck. This time he was active and normal before the seizure happened. So far, he hasn’t had any seizures since the medication started. All of his seizures lasted about a minute. Is it possible that since this was detected early, that he may not have anymore seizures after slowly being weaned off phenobarbital?

  69. jonda says:

    My dog had her 1st seizure last week and I considered it to be pretty bad. She peed, and couldn’t keep her balance. Her eyes kept darting back and forth and she drooled a lot. We took her to the vet and they did blood work and 3very5hing came back fine. He gave her some meds for vertigo and said contact him if it got worse. That was 1 wk ago today and she just had another one but it wasn’t anywhere near as strong and didn’t last anywhere near as long. H3 said if she got worse he could put her on meds..should I consider this as getting worse since it wasnt as bad as the 1st?

  70. Chrissy C. says:

    Our Chihuahua Is about 5Yrs Old And Has A Seizure About Once A Month Now. We Were In A Bad Car Accident B/c Of A Deer. Our Dog Was Sitting On My Pregnant BellywWhen The Air Bag Deployed And Hit Him Directly in The Head. Now 4 Years Later He Has Been Suffering Seizures. At First It Was Just Three Times A Year Now Once A Month. Nothing Triggers Them. But Tonight Was His Worse One Yet. He Soiled Himself, Vomited Too And Release An Awful Foul Odor From His Bottom, Along With Some Foam Coming From His Mouth. This Was The First Time For This. Also This One Lasted 5 Minutes Or A Pinch Longer. Unfortunately I Grew Up With Knowing What To Do In Case This Did Happen Because Of My Family Pet As A Kid. What Do We Need To Do For Our Favorite Doggie? We Have Children Who Don’t Quite Understand And We’d Hate To Keep Seeing Our Buddy Go Through This… How Do We Know If It’s Epilepsy Or A Tumor? He’s A Long Haired Chihuahua And Almost 5 Years Old. Please Help!? We All Said Lots Of Prayers For Our Best Buddy… Thanks & God Bless :-)

  71. Mary says:

    I’m very happy to hear I’m not alone in this. I have a German Biewer Yorkie who is 4 and has seizures maybe every 4 to 6 months. She doesn’t lose consciousness and sometimes it seems like if she can calm herself down she can pull herself out of it quicker. She doesn’t drool or fall over but her whole body tenses up like as if she had a Charlie Horse throughout her whole body. Her eyes get very big but that’s about it. They last about 30 to 3,4 minutes. All her blood work is normal just overweight. I’m scared to put her on an anti-seizure medication because of the side effects. Should I pursue more testing like MRI, X-ray to be safe?

  72. Mary says:

    I guess I should mention she had puppies at a very young age by mistake, 18 months old. I wonder if this could of triggered something? I traveled around with her for a few months and she didn’t show any signs of seizures until after we moved and got settled in. She has great separation anxiety and I give her Xanax if she is having a seizure. When she first started having them it almost seemed like it started from her gimpy leg and that was it. Then progressed to her whole body. Is there something neurological or from her leg that could be causing her whole body to tremble? Her vet thinks she is having seizures, but I’m still wondering since she can almost control them at times.

  73. Sharron says:

    Millie had an ear infection year and a half ago and seemed to have a couple of seizures.We took her to the vet…her head would bob up and down uncontrolably and she would pant.Her eyes would bulge a little but she was `with it` and knew we were there coming towards us for reassurance.She is 9+ now and started having them again (3 this week) Took her to vet again and shes ran some bloods but she said it could be a brain tumour in older dogs.She is a rescue dog and we`ve had her for 8+ years.Vet said her ear was a little red and gave us antibiotic ear drops and the seizures seemed to have subsided for now.Could it be her ears causing this and how serious can the head bobbing episodes be? She twitches a little before the head bobbing starts Shes eating/drinking fine

  74. Mary Flores says:

    I took my dog to get her first shots . She started getting seizures with saliva foaming at the mouth

  75. Kendra D says:

    I’m worried about my dog. She is about 5 yrs old and has had seizures for about 2 years now. She is currently on pheno. This medication originally removed her seizures but lately she has had different seizures than her normal. She is still unconscious, paddling, spasming everywhere, and foaming at the mouth. But she has started to cry as well during it until she loses control of her tongue/mouth and instead of her normal rebound time of about 10-15 minutes she’s been bouncing back IMMEDIATELY. Now I don’t know if this is good or bad. It’s like its a grand mal seizure but there is not aftermath. She isnt dizzy or tired or anything that normally happens. Is this something we should be worried about?

    • Ali Farber says:

      Hi Kendra. We are sorry to hear about your dog, and hope things are going better. Our best advice is to talk to your vet. We have vets on staff, but none that can make a recommendation without examining your dog and knowing its full medical history.

  76. Inger Gjata says:

    How are you my name is Inger and I was reading about dog seizers on the pets best website. I have a four month doberman pinscher and she started having minor focal seizers about a month ago so I took her to the vet and they gave her flush and phenobarbital and she ended up having a few other seizers so we took her to the emergency and she stayed there over night. She ended up having a total of 8 seizers within 24 hours. So they told us to take her home and they gave us keppra, prednisone, clindamycin, and zonisamide. She ended up getting better and acting like a normal puppy. She finished keppra and she was still acting normal and then she ended up finishing prednisone and a few days after she started having them we got her back on prednisone and her seizers went from focal seizer less then a minute to having aggressive full body seizers last about a minute or two. I took her back and they told me that it might be a good idea to put her to sleep. Now I don’t wanna do that but I also don’t want her to suffer even though she shakes it off right after and starts playing with me. I don’t know what to do so I would really appreciate your opinion. Thank you for you time.

  77. Traci says:

    Can I dog that is having seizures run?? A couple of months ago my 12 year old chihuahua started barking frantically and running around the house, dropping poop as she was running. I thought she was just upset because she needed to go outside. When I opened the door, she took off running. Nothing could stop her. She ran out into the desert and I had to chase her for 10 minutes. I finally got her back to the house and she stuck to me like glue the rest of the day. She did it again today, except this time I didn’t let her outside. I just stroked her and talked to her. She was foaming at the mouth and barking constantly. Her eyes were glazed over and I don’t know if she could really even see me. Could this be some type of seizure? Again, she is clinging to me and won’t let me out of her sight.

  78. Penny says:

    I have a male jack russell and he is 8 years old. He has seizures that sometimes last for hours and has them in clusters. They are getting more and more frequent. He is starting to have times when a day or two after his seizures he is sick. He pukes but it is only bile looking water so to speak. He is on Pheno 1 1/2 twice a day, bromide 1 1/2 twice day, zomisamide 3 3 times a day and liver care 1 a day., He goes to a vet and a specialist vet but it is worrying us with the puking. Can you give me any suggestions? Thanks!

  79. Ashlee says:


    My mini dachshund will be 12 next month. She started having seizures last Jan (about 9mo ago). The vet put her on phenobarbital, being that she had a seizure about once a month and it worried me. I believe I filled the prescription once, but noticed that it hadn’t reduced her seizures much as she still had one about once a month or so. About 4-5mo after she started the medicine, I came home to find her looking very droopy. One eye was half closed, and she wasn’t really responding much when I tried to perk her up. I was scared she was dying. We took her to the vet immediately. The vet tested her levels and said that while she was at the right dosage it appeared the medicine had built up in her body, causing her sedated state, but didn’t do much for her seizures. She suggested weening her off of it to see what happens—since she had no more than one seizure/mo prior to meds. Up until the past few weeks (3-3.5mo later) she’s appeared fine.

    However, lately they appeared to begin again. I only witnessed one personally tonight. The other days she was just acting really droopy and weak, which is how she acts after a seizure. I thought it was because my mom was out of town for two weeks and my dog is close to her. However, my mom is back now so the stress of her being away shouldn’t be a cause. Now I’m wondering if the seizures are starting up again. Any advice?

  80. Iyonna says:

    Hello, I own a 4 year old Chihuahua mix dog and he’s normally fine, no problems really but I noticed he had been shaking violently could not stand or walk, he tried finding me and he wouldn’t open his mouth at all then finally he starts drooling really badly to where it’s like bubbles forming and then his nose was running as well until there was so much of it on my couch. He was like that for at least a minute or two, but I was holding him I didn’t pick him up I just had him on the couch talking to him and trying to calm him down.
    Is there any logical explanation for that? Would that be him having a seizure?

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