What is epilepsy?
Nerve cells in the brain control movement and behavior in both humans and our friendly, panting companions. These neurons receive and transmit electrical signals. Malfunctions in electrical signal transmission can lead to unwanted physical reactions. If groups of neurons discharge suddenly and synchronously, so-called seizures occur.
Epilepsy can be genetic. There is therefore no identifiable cause for the seizures. Brain diseases, such as tumors or inflammation of the meninges, can also trigger epilepsy in dogs. Another possible cause of seizures can be metabolic. If the calcium level is disturbed or the blood salt values are not normal, electrical signals may sometimes not be transmitted correctly.
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Symptoms of epilepsy in dogs
In epilepsy, electrical signals in the brain are activated randomly. Huge signal bursts occur. Depending on the areas of the brain where the discharges occur, symptoms can vary in severity. Veterinarians distinguish between focal epilepsy and generalized epilepsy. In the focal variant, only small areas of the brain are affected. Depending on where the false signals are sent, “mini seizures” can take place in very different ways, for example as
- muscle contractions
- stiffening of individual muscles
- sudden barking for no reason
- unprovoked snap
Generalized seizures affect both hemispheres of the brain. Short circuits throughout the brain cause severe seizures and stiff muscles throughout the body. Also typical are:
- stiffly stretched legs
- urination and defecation
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You should pay attention to these stages
- At the start of the seizure (Phase 1): Even before the actual seizure takes place, the animals notice that something is wrong. A seizure is often heralded behavior changes On. Your dog may already be in the pre-seizure stage restless to be. Some dog lovers with affected pets also note the common ones licking lips, Urinating or saliva with their furry companions before an attack erupts. But behavioral changes can also occur such as a strong need for protection, in which animals are unlikely to walk away from their owners. However, some dogs seek them out even before an attack solitude and retire to quiet corners. Watch your dog’s behavior closely if you suspect your furry friend has epilepsy. Such changes in behavior can be valuable pointers to your veterinarian in later diagnosis.
- During the seizure (phase 2): Seizures typically occur suddenly. During the massive energy discharge in the brain the muscles stiffen of the animal. Epileptic dogs fall with stiff, straight legs during an attack. They lose consciousness and no longer respond to commands. Severe seizures can also result in emptying of the bladder and bowel. Lots of dogs winseln unconsciously and salivated profusely. As a rule, seizures don’t last very long. After a few minutes, the seizures are often over.
- After the seizure (phase 3): The seizures are huge exhausting. Massive, long-lasting muscle twitches and cramps require an enormous amount of force from dogs. Most animals are correspondingly tired and exhausted after the attacks. Depending on the severity of the attack, the duration and your dog’s general constitution, the after-effects can quickly wear off or last for hours. Long after-effects are characterized by blurred vision, an urge to move, an unsteady gait or severe hunger and thirst.
Veterinarians must first find out what causes epilepsy. If tumors are the cause of the seizures, surgery or radiation therapy can help. Inflammation of the brain, such as meningitis, can be treated with medication. Once the disease has healed, the seizures usually disappear as well.
If epilepsy is congenital, drugs can be used to decrease the frequency of seizures and reduce the intensity of the seizures. Despite epilepsy and regular tablet administration, many dogs can lead quality lives.