Everything You Need to Know About Seizures in Senior Dogs

Seizures in senior dogs

It’s scary dealing with any health issue, but seizures in senior dogs is a whole other frightening category, at least it was to me. Nothing freaked me out more than hearing Red having a seizure. That’s right I said “hearing” because the first time it happened I only heard it, and that was enough to stop my heart.

Before I talk about my experience, let’s see what seizures in senior dogs is all about.

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Everything you need to know about seizures in senior dogs

What is a seizure?

A seizure, as explained by Dr Karen Becker is an “abnormal unanticipated electrical activity that happens in your pet’s brain.”

What is the difference between seizures and epilepsy

Epilepsy refers to repeated seizure episodes or chronic seizures.

Is it possible for my dog to just have one seizure and never again?

I’m afraid that’s very rare. According to the Fitzpatrick Referrals website (a well known specialist hospital in the UK) “It is possible for most epileptic animals to have an excellent quality of life. However, epilepsy is a chronic and occasionally progressive disease that will need to be managed. Rarely, an animal may have a single seizure and not seizure again. An animal that has more than one seizure is expected to have more frequent or severe seizures in the future. There is evidence to suggest that early treatment in the course of the epilepsy can provide a better long-term outcome.”

My experience with seizures in older dogs

How I cared for Red who had doggy dementia

I may not recall the date of Red’s first seizure, but I’m very clear on the rest of the terrifying details. I was watching TV in the living room around 11:00pm, and Red was on her bed just on the other side of the couch, out of my line of sight. All of a sudden I heard a loud bang, and horrific cry so I jumped up and saw Red lying in her bed shaking. Instinct took over and I picked her up to comfort her. She seemed partially awake, peed all over me and the carpet, and after a few seconds she was fine and went back to sleep like nothing happened. Of course I ran and woke my husband, then called the emergency hospital. They calmed me down and assured me there was no reason at that point to rush her in, unless she had another seizure. They told me to call my vet in the morning which I would have done regardless.

I asked them what to do should it happen again, and it turns out I did everything wrong but with great intentions. I was told not to pick her up while she was having a seizure, and to turn the lights off. Needless to say I watched her like a hawk that night.

I was such a wreck every day for weeks after that first seizure. I constantly wondered if today would be the day it would happen again, and I would hear that blood curdling scream. Over time I finally stopped expected her to have a seizure, but I still worried. She only ever had a few thankfully, and they all followed the same pattern. Each was late at night while she was sleeping, starting with a heart wrenching cry, peeing on her bed, then carrying on sleeping.

Until late Satruday night Dec 17th 2016 I had only ever seen her mid seizure, never from before it actually happened.

That Saturday we were driving from England to Spain, and close to midnight we stopped at a hotel overnight. The dogs were with us in bed (I wasn’t going to let them sleep on a hotel room floor!!), and Red was lying next to me. All of a sudden I noticed her starting to twitch and I immediately said to my husband “Red is going to have a seizure.” Her head went back, all four legs stretched out in front of her and her body started to shake. As usual it lasted just a few seconds and she carried on sleeping like nothing happened. Thank goodness I had the foresight to put blankets under her.

We never knew why she got them and because they were so infrequent and lasted just seconds, the vet didn’t feel medication or further action was needed and I agreed. I did express my worry Red could have a bigger seizure one day, so he gave me a syringe of rectal Diazepam should she ever suffer a more severe episode. I definitely felt so much better knowing there was something I could do to help her quickly.

Everything you need to know about seizures in senior dogs

What cause seizures in older dogs

I probably should say dogs of all ages, but some are more common in old dogs.

  • Parasites
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Trauma
  • Liver disease
  • Poor circulation
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Genetics
  • Brain tumours
  • Rabies
  • Heat stroke
  • Exposure to toxins
  • Blood or organs issues
  • Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
  • Some breeds may be predisposed to them

In senior dogs they are most often associated with:

  • Brain tumours
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Insulin overdose in diabetic dogs
  • Cushing’s Disease (not the disease itself but some of the issues associated with it)

It is not uncommon for older dogs to develop seizures which are idiopathic, meaning there is no known reason for them.

I watched this video by Dr. Karen Becker and I highly recommend you do as well, lots of great information.

 

 

Signs your dog may be having a seizure

  • Uncontrolled twitching
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Trembling
  • Falling over
  • Leaping in the air
  • Pacing
  • Drooling
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Paralysis
  • Temporary loss of sight
  • Inability to understand commands

A seizure doesn’t look one way. It could be nothing more than a slight twitch that lasts a second, to full on uncontrollable shaking that lasts minutes.

What to do and what not to do when your dog is seizing

Don’t panic. Easy to say, hard to do. When Red had her first seizure I was completely clueless, and boy did I panic. When I called the emergency hospital they told me not to pick her up in the middle (too late, I already had!), and turn off the lights, which I can’t imagine would help because Red was blind.

In an article written for the American Kennel Club website called “Seizures in Dogs“, Dr. Jeff Grognet recommends the following if your dog is having a seizure –

  1. Keep yourself safe. Seizing dogs can bite without warning.
  2. Do not pull the tongue. Dogs don’t swallow their tongues.
  3. Using a hind leg, pull the dog away from furniture and stairs.
  4. Cover with a blanket to reduce the light, and turn down sources of sound.
  5. If the seizure continues, put an ice pack on the spine at the back of the ribs.
  6. For transport to the hospital, use a blanket like a hammock to keep the dog, and yourself, safe.

The 3 stages of a seizure

Pre-Ictal

There are many possible signs that indicate a seizure will be coming and can include:

  • Whining
  • Fear
  • Aggression
  • Clinginess
  • Barking
  • Crying
  • Howling
  • Losing their balance
  • Pacing
  • Drooling

In Red’s case each one started with a heart stopping (for me) horrible high pitched cry. My vet said it was because she knew something was happening, but didn’t know what.

Ictal

This is the stage when your dog will experience a seizure, the symptoms of which will vary depending on its’ severity. They can be anything from growling and twitching to violent spasms and convulsions.

Post-Ictal

This is the recovery stage, when your dog will feel the seizure’s effects.

He may be:

  • Disoriented
  • Weak
  • Sleepy
  • Temporary blindness

The amount of time he will be feeling the effects will depend on how severe the seizure was.

Promises I make my old dog every day

Are seizures painful or dangerous?

They are painful for us to witness, but not painful to the dog. Having said that, here is what the VCA Hospitals have to say in an article on their website called “Seizures in Dogs.”

“Despite the dramatic and violent appearance of a seizure, seizures are not painful, although the dog may feel confusion and perhaps panic. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not swallow their tongues during a seizure. If you put your fingers or an object into its mouth, you will not help your pet and you run a high risk of being bitten very badly or of injuring your dog. The important thing is to keep the dog from falling or hurting itself by knocking objects onto itself. As long as it is on the floor or ground, there is little chance of harm occurring.

A single seizure is rarely dangerous to the dog. However, if the dog has multiple seizures within a short period of time (cluster seizures), or if a seizure continues for longer than a few minutes, the body temperature begins to rise. If hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) develops secondary to a seizure, another set of problems need to be addressed.”

Effects of a seizure

Here is what Dennis O’Brien, DVM, PhD, Diplomate, ACVIM, Specialty of Neurology, University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine has to say about the effects of seizures.

Most seizures are brief, and with proper treatment, the pet can lead a normal life. None-the-less, seizures are serious business and even short seizures can cause brain damage. That damage tends to be cumulative over time. If the seizures are short, the main effect is an increased chance of another seizure in the future. Thus, there is a tendency for epilepsy to get worse over time, especially if left untreated.

If a seizure goes on for more than 30 minutes, the pet is liable to suffer serious permanent brain damage. This can be manifest as a change in personality, or loss of memory for things such house breaking. Occasionally the pet may be left in a coma from the seizures. The seizure also creates a tremendous stress on the heart and other organs. The body temperature may get very high from all the muscle activity and the animal may not breath adequately. Sometimes the stress is too much and the pet may have a heart attack and die. Fortunately this is rare.

see your vet right away for seizures in senior dogs

What to expect at your vet appointment

Naturally you’ll be seeing your vet as soon as possible after your dog’s first seizure. I was on the phone the next morning the second they opened and was in my vet’s office not long after.

I am a big believer in making notes ahead of an appointment, no matter the reason for it. We’re stressed and afraid because of what our vet may tell us about our sick dog, combine that with knowing he or she has only a limited amount of time to spend with us, and we find ourselves forgetting crucial facts or questions.

As soon after the seizure as you can (assuming it wasn’t severe enough to rush your dog to the vet), write down as much information as you can.

  • Time
  • Date (so you and your vet can track frequency)
  • what you witnessed
  • What you heard if you didn’t see anything
  • What was your dog doing right before it happened?
  • How long it lasted
  • How did he act after it was over
  • How long did it take him to get back to his usual self
  • Have you noticed any unusual behaviour in the hours or days leading up to this seizure?
  • Have there been any changes in your dog’s environment lately? His schedule? Diet?
  • Any new supplements or medications your vet may not know about?

Once you’ve discussed what happened, your vet will examine your dog. That may include taking his temperature, as well as blood and urine for testing, especially if it’s been awhile. Some tests can produce results in just a few moments, so it’s a good idea to wait.

 

How to diagnose seizures in older dogs

Seizures in senior dogs are often the result of an underlying medical condition so your vet will decide what kind of tests, if any, he feels are required. They can be things like blood and urine, as well as CT or MRI.

Whether he starts investigating immediately or prefers to adopt a “wait and see approach” is something you will discuss with him. In Red’s case it was “wait and see” and no testing was ever done.

Treating seizures in elderly dogs

Whether or not you are prescribed medication is of course up to your vet, a decision based on frequency and severity of the episodes. Red did not take any, yet a friend’s senior dog was given something daily.

According to Dr Ernest Ward in his article “Seizures in Dogs” I referenced earlier, dogs are given anticonvulsants if –

  • A dog has more than one seizure a month
  • Had clusters of seizures where one seizure is immediately followed by another
  • Grand mal seizures that are severe or prolonged in duration

How to treat seizures in older dogs

Treatments

Phenobarbital (PB) – Long term use can damage the liver, so blood tests will be needed to check function. This article “Phenobarbital” will tell you all about this medication.  

Potassium bromide (KBr) – To learn more visit this article “Potassium Bromide: Is It Safe for Dogs?” published on the FDA website.

Diazepam – According to “Benefits and Uses of Diazepam” on the Diamondback drugs website “As an anticonvulsant, diazepam may be used in veterinary medicine for the treatment of seizures, whether due to toxic shock or status epilepticus. However, since dogs develop a tolerance rather quickly, diazepam is not typically selected for the continued management of seizures.”

Gabapentin – A drug I know is used by so many senior dog parents to help manage pain, it can also be helpful in this case when used in combination with other treatments. Here is a resource for learning more about Gabapentin and the abstract of a study called “Improving seizure control in dogs with refractory epilepsy using gabapentin as an adjunctive agent.”

Felbamate (available under the tradename Felbatol®) – An anticonvulsant which isn’t typically given as the first option, only after other drugs have been tried and not been effective. For more information – “Using Felbamate to Treat Epilepsy in Cats and Dogs.”

Keppra – A prescription medication used alone or in conjunction with other anti seizure drugs, it is considered relatively safe and doesn’t seem to affect the liver or kidneys. Learn more about it in this post “Side Effects of Keppra for Dogs.”

NuLeaf CBD Oil – It’s hard to miss all the talk about CBD oil, and some of the incredible success stories from dog parents who have seen amazing results. They report dementia symptoms lessened, mobility increase and pain decrease, but from what I gather it is less well known as a seizure management option.

One of my FB friends posted a video of her dog having a seizure, and after putting a couple of drops on his gums it stopped. I know going near a dog’s mouth while he’s having a seizure is dangerous, but she managed just fine. It obviously wasn’t her first time.

With the sheer volume of companies producing CBD oil how do you know which one to buy? They are definitely not all created equal but I do know many members of my FB group have used the brand NuLeaf and love it. I did a podcast with a rep from the company, and although it’s a bit lengthy (she was very excited about the product!!) there’s some great information. If you would like to purchase NuLeaf CBD Oil.

This article, “CBD Oil For Seizures in Dogs” is a good place to start. 

Here is an interesting study of the efficacy of CBD oil in humans 

 

Belladonna 200C – You may have heard of Belladonna the toxic plant? Did you know it could also help manage seizures in dogs? This abstract called “Clinical Management of Idiopathic Epilepsy in Dogs With Homeopathic Belladonna 200C” is very interesting and encouraging. It’s about a one minute read and time well spent.

Treating dementia in dogs using acupuncture

Acupuncture – I took Red for twice weekly acupuncture sessions over the course of 3 months. It wasn’t for seizures but rather as part of an overall wellness plan created by her holistic vet. During the treatments she seemed like the same dog I’d always known, but when we stopped them I noticed an obvious a loss in vitality.

There is some good evidence that acupuncture can help dogs with seizures, and you’ll find more about it in these articles –

The Problem With Seizure Medications and a New Therapy to Consider

Acupuncture therapy for the treatment of intractable, idiopathic epilepsy in five dogs

Important things to consider 

If you do decide to add natural treatments no matter what condition you’re dealing with, and you will be dealing with more than one vet, communication is key. Everybody involved in your dog’s care must be aware of what’s going on because failure to keep everyone in the loop can harm your dog.

Don’t suddenly stop giving an anticonvulsant to your dog, you need to speak with your vet if you’re having issues and he will advise on what to do.  

What you can do to help your dog

Give him as much love as you’ve always given him

Don’t drive him crazy by smothering him because you’re so worried

Do be aware of any changes that are happening, and with experience (hopefully not too much) you’ll recognise the signs earlier and earlier

If he is about to have a seizure turn the lights off, turn the tv and radio off and remove any sharp objects or anything in the area he could possibly hurt himself on

Keep a seizure diary for you and your vet and include the following information –

  • Date
  • How long it lasted
  • Severity
  • Anything obvious that may have brought it on
  • His behaviour post ictal (after the seizure was over)

My best advice for dealing with seizures in senior dogs

Seizures in senior dogs – conclusion

I know how scary it is, particularly when you know nothing about seizures (like me) and are feeling so helpless you don’t know what to do (like me again). I know this article is long and intense so take your time, read through it and save it as a reference.

If I could give you one bit of advice based on my experience (other than reading this article of course!), it would be to not spend your time waiting for the next seizure to happen. Live your life, enjoy every moment with your fur baby and the next time, which hopefully won’t be for a very long time, you will be better prepared.

 

Additional resources

My fellow pet blogger, Dorothy Wills-Raftery is a wonderful source of information. Her website is called fivesibes.com, and I have linked to all her posts regarding canine epilepsy, therapies and treatments.

If you’d like to learn more about how to help your dog in a more natural way, here is a list of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practitioners.

To find a holistic veterinarian visit the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.

 

Has your vet been able to determine the cause of your dog’s seizures? Is he or she on medication? Sharing helps others so feel free to share in the comments below.

 

**I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. It is a wonderful community where you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.**

 

For lots of great advice from the “experts” please subscribe and tune into my senior dog care podcasts. New episodes are always being added so check back often.

 

 

54 Comments

  1. Carleen

    I had a lab that used to have seizures. Her biggest trigger was dehydration, so I was always urging her to drink.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I think it’s really interesting you knew her trigger. How did you come to that realisation? Red’s seizures only happen at night while she’s sleeping.

      Reply
  2. M. K. Clinton

    I have never seen a dog have a seizure and hope that never changes. I can’t imagine how scary it must be and although I’d try to stay calm, I doubt that I would. Thank you for all of the information so I will be better equipped should it ever happen. ☺

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      It’s definitely scary but you’d probably be calmer than you think, I just hope you never need the information written in this post.

      Reply
  3. Pawesome Cats

    Thanks for an informative post. Thankfully, we’ve never had a cat with seizures but Max does have asthma and after six months of being asthma free, had a bad attack yesterday, they’re enough to scare me.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Sorry to hear about Max’s attack, I know how terrifying they can be, but hopefully he’s recovered and doing well. What makes them so much scarier for me was my lack of transport and emergency hospital where I was living. That’s when you feel so helpless.

      Reply
  4. Golden Daily Scoop

    What a great and informative post. I have never seen a dog have a seizure but I’m sure it can be very scary. Thanks for sharing the symptoms and what causes them. Sharing this post! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I’m glad you found this post so informative, and I appreciate you wanting to share it. It really is so scary to witness, especially when you have no idea what’s going on or what to do about it.

      Reply
  5. Cathy Armato

    Fantastic detailed information Hindy, thanks for sharing this. It can help a lot of people & their dogs. Sharing!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thank you Cathy. Seizures are so scary to witness and the first time Red had one I had no idea what was happening. I do hope this article helps anyone who may face or has faced this.

      Reply
  6. Tonya Wilhelm

    Thanks for this post, Hindy. As you know, Dexter has a neurological condition. The condition can also include seizures or have seizures in the future. A few weeks ago Dexter had a bit of a head shake. We are now doing physical therapy, and so far, we haven’t seen any other head shakes. Hoping it was just a fluke. But it’s nice to have the post to read.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thanks Tonya. I do hope Dexter’s head shake was just a fluke, but it would be interesting to know if the therapy helped as well.

      Reply
  7. Rebecca at MattieDog

    The natural/holistic approach is so very interesting – we had not heard of some of these, thank you for sharing! We must say that Red is just so adorable and I hope that he is doing better and managing – you are so wonderful to care for him. Seniors just have a special place in our hearts – they are such pure love. Blessings to you and yours!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      That’s so nice of you to say Rebecca. Red is doing really well, and she is too cute for words in my opinion. Seniors do have a special place in my heart, they’re the only age group I like to share my life with.

      Reply
  8. Beth Patterson

    Thank you for sharing this! My dogs are technically seniors (8 and 10 years old) and although they are in good health, it is always better to be prepared. I hadn’t even thought about what to do in case of a seizure.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Beth, great to hear your dogs are such good health. You’re right about being prepared which I was not when Red had her first seizure. I had no idea what was going on or what to do – very scary.

      Reply
  9. Talent Hounds

    My darling Isabelle had a few seizures right before she died. Great info to share. Kilo gets odd twitches and shakes sometimes but hope he is OK.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      So sorry to hear about Isabelle, and what a lovely name. Hopefully Kilo (another great name!!) is doing well. What has the vet said?

      Reply
  10. Katie Allan

    I remember when Gracie had her first seizure. I was just a teenager and I was certain that she was dying. It was horrible. Thank you for spreading awareness on this issue and helping owners know what to do if it ever happens to their dog!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I imagine it must have been frightening to see Gracie have a seizure. I don’t think I handled it any better as an adult to be honest. I was totally unprepared when Red had her first seizure, I can only hope my experience will help others.

      Reply
  11. Sweet Purrfections

    I’ve never seen an animal have a seizure. I had 2 gran mal seizures about 40 years ago and the doctors could never find a cause for them. They were quite scary.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I can’t imagine how scary they must have been for you, but it’s good to hear they were a long time ago and you’ve had no problems like that since.

      Reply
  12. Kitty Cat Chronicles

    I can’t even imagine how scary that must have been to witness! My best friend’s dog had seizures, and I remember how upsetting it was for her. I’m sorry that Red has these, but at least they are minor ones. Thanks for sharing this extremely helpful information!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      What I find most scary is the fear they will not only last a few seconds, then what do you do?

      Reply
  13. Spencer the Goldendoodle

    Such a wonderful post! Seizures are scary but knowing what to do is so important!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Glad you liked it! As scary as they are, knowing what to do in the moment makes it a little easier to handle.

      Reply
  14. Robin

    Seizures are terrifying to witness! I have not seen one in my pets (thankfully), but I have worked in special education and seen them in humans. It is like something from a horror movie even when it does no damage. I would be very upset to see one of my cats having a seizure. Thank you for sharing this very important information.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Thanks Robin. I can’t even imagine what it must be like to witness a seizure in a person. I felt so helpless when I saw Red’s seizures. It’s late at night, no car or 24 hour emergency hospital where I lived. Not an ideal scenario that’s for sure.

      Reply
  15. Linda

    Thank you for this article. My 11 year old Chihuahua had a seizure last night: much like Red’s (horrible cry, stiff body, twitching, peed all over, vomited, then it was over in 2 minutes) and I thought she was dying. She was fine this morning – ate, drank, etc. Terrifying…

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Oh Linda I’m so sorry to hear that. I know it’s absolutely terrifying, yet when it’s over they go back to sleep and carry on like nothing happened. I’m glad she was over it quickly and is fine today. Have you mentioned it to your vet yet? In my experience if it’s a one off or very infrequent, there’s nothing the vet will do. It’s if they become more regular that the medication starts, but I don’t know if that’s how most vets handle it. I know someone that uses CBD oil when her dog has a seizure, but his are long and quite serious. I’ll be writing about CBD oil in the near future so stay tuned.

      Reply
  16. Johh

    Thank you, My 12 year old shepherd just had a seizure for the first time. This help me a lot.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I’m very sorry to hear that, I hope your dog is doing better.

      Reply
  17. Shena Forth

    My 7 almost 8 yr old Chihuahua passed away on Feb 14, 2018. He had multiple seizures and I took him to the vet 3 times in 4 days. The vet did blood work and found nothing. After 5 days he was gone and I am so so so heartbroken! I dont understand what happened and i feel so lost without him! He followed me everywhere. I guess, I just want to know if anyone else had this happen or if anyone knows what this was? Any info would be highly appreciated! Thx for listening! I guess I’m just looking for some kind of closure. RIP my Gizmo baby! 😢💔🐶

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I’m so very sorry to hear this Shena, I know how devastating it is. Perhaps you’d like to join my Facebook group, Senior Dog Care Club. Perhaps you can ge some clarity from others who are going through the same thing you did, and it might help you find some peace.

      Reply
      1. Robyn

        My 3 pound maltese is 14 and yesterday had three seizures in a row. Ran to the doctor and they gave her a shot to calm her down. Then we were driving home and I turned around and went back to the vet. By the way she’s also blind since eight years old sards. She also has kidney disease. I don’t want the vet to do too much except medication. I just want her to be with us. She doesn’t seem like she’s in any pain. Today she won’t eat or drink but she did yesterday when we came home from the vet. She threw up before she ate then seemed ok and she wanted to eat. She slept on and off all night. What do you think is her time over? The vet wants to do test after test I will not put her through that. Please give me your opinion I don’t know what to do.

        Reply
        1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

          Robyn I’m so sorry to hear that. I recommend you join my FB group Senior Dog Care Club as you will get a lot of support and advice there. The lack of interest in eating and drinking and the throwing up could be kidney disease, could be mild pancreatitis or something else. Sorry but it’s impossible to determine what’s wrong without blood and urine tests. I don’t know what your vet has done, or what he wants to do, but those 2 tests will give you a lot of answers. If you don’t trust him, or feel like he’s taking advantage find someone else.

          Reply
  18. Leslie

    Curious to know how your dog has been since using the holistic approach. My little 12 year old terrier mix had her 1st grand mal seizure late January. Called the vet, was advised to call her if she had another. That happened a few weeks earlier so they ran a Senior panel blood work that showed only a slightly elevated WBC. Followed up with a urinalysis that was clear. We discussed AEDs at that point but chose to wait at that time. After a few more episodes, all being 3-4 weeks apart, she suddenly had a cluster seizure several days ago. She hasn’t recovered fully from that, even strained her back. We started zonisamide after the cluster and waiting anxiously for it to take effect and curious to know what others have been successful with, whether conventional or alternative… she’s a tough little thing – was a rescue/foster that survived distemper at 6 months old. Aside from the effects of that (bad teeth) and a few minor things, she’s been my healthiest one! Still healthy and playful right up until this cluster. We sure love her <3

    Reply
  19. Jennifer

    My sweet Sadie Belle is 11 years old. She has had seizures for about 7 months. She is currently taking phenobarbatal 2 x/ day and a liver enzyme 1 x/day. She goes long periods of time without them. She had one Monday, after not having any for months. We rushed her to the ER vet b/c it was different than ever before we literally thought she was dying, but they did all the normal test and everything was good. Of course they said we could do an MRI to see if she has a turmor, but of course we said no. We know it is neurological we have accepted that.
    So since her seizure Monday she has just acted so weird and been defecating in her cage daily when we leave her. She continues to pace around but is fine when giving her attention. She sleeps in the bed with us nightly and never has accidents. We have not changed her food since this is the same food she has been on since age 1. Any help, tips, or advice would be GREATLY appreciated!!!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Jennifer I’m so sorry to hear what Sadie Belle is going through. My very best advice would be to join my FB called Senior Dog Care Club. You will find a ton of help there.

      Reply
  20. Courtney

    I have a 12-year-old chihuahua who I believe is having seizures. He has had 4 so far. The first 3 I didn’t witness, only noted that horrible cry with the first one and he was incontinent of urine all the other times. The vet said he thought it was because of his worsening heart murmur and had passed out. He only has them at night with the exception of the one this morning that I finally witnessed. He will be going to the vet tomorrow. What you described with your dog is exactly the same as I have seen with mine. Thank you for posting your experience. It has confirmed what I expected to be wrong in the first place. It is definitely a scary thing to witness and I hope I can get him the right treatment to control them. Otherwise, my little guy doesn’t act like he’s 84 in human years. 🙂 Good luck with your fur baby!

    Reply
  21. Tanya

    My Alaskan Husky 12 y.o just had her first seizure. Scared me to death! Blood test looks good. Vet suggested to see a neurologist and do am MRI for a possible brain tumor. I dont know what to do next 🙁

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I’m sorry to hear that Tanya, I know how frightening that can be. I recommend you listen to this podcast I did recently with an expert in this area. She also has a ton of helpful resources and is there to offer any help she can. After you listen to it let me know what you think! https://castbox.fm/episode/Help!-My-Dog-is-Having-Seizures!-Is-it-Epilepsy%3F-id1501241-id130404870?country=us

      Reply
  22. Deborah Fower

    I want to thank you so much for sharing your story. We have a Chihuahua named Gizmo who just started having seizures. You are the first that I have read that the pet had theirs only when they sleep ans that awful scream. I was afraid there was more to his illness than just the seizures and your information has eased my mind. He is the newest of our additions but in the 2 years we have had him he has been a constant companion to me as I have undergone cancer treatments twice. Again…thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Deborah, I appreciate you reaching out and I’m sorry to hear about Gizmo and what you’ve been going through as well. I’m glad you have each other to lean on, I know how comforting that is. You may be interested in listening to a podcast I did with a friend, fellow pet blogger and an expert in this area. Here is the link and I hope you find the information helpful. https://castbox.fm/episode/Help!-My-Dog-is-Having-Seizures!-Is-it-Epilepsy%3F-id1501241-id130404870?country=us

      Reply
  23. Leah

    Hi, my 12 year old chihuahua/Yorkie has been having very mild focal seizures for about a year now but I feel they are getting worse so have been prescribed phibarbitol. I can’t bring myself to give it to her yet as I don’t want it to change the beautiful little sprightly dog I have. She’s healthy in every other way as I’m no other meds. Has anyone had a bad experience with the drug?

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Leah, I hope you’ll join my FB group, Senior Dog Care Club, for some very helpful advice. I also know many people have had great success with CBD oil for seizures. Here is a link I did to a podcast about seizures with who I consider to be someone very well versed in this subject. I hope this helps!! https://castbox.fm/episode/Help!-My-Dog-is-Having-Seizures!-Is-it-Epilepsy%3F-id1501241-id130404870?country=us

      Reply
  24. Kathleen Maraldo

    My dog is Gypsy. She is a Maltese/Chinese Crested mix thirteen years old. Gypsy developed epilepsy at three years old. Within a year they were under control and was seizure free for nine years. Since December of 2019 she has had five seizures. We have had the same vet all these years. He has increased her phenobarbital twice in the pas few months were hoping this will control them. Our concern is the constant pacing and bumping into the furniture. When she gets up in the morning she is not steady on her feet and is confused. It takes about an hour before she starts to respond. Any ideas would be a great help Good luck to all pet owners.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      Hi Kathleen, I’m sorry to hear Gypsy has been getting more seizures. I actually just completely revamped my post about seizures if you want to have another look. It’s called “Everything you need to know about seizures in senior dogs.” I hope you find the information helpful, especially about the possibility of CBD oil helping. I also recommend you join my FB group, Senior Dog Care Club. It’s a wonderful community with lots of great support and advice.

      Reply
  25. Tanya

    My dog Maya was looking at me and started rapid blinking with one eye before she started shaking and had her 2nd seizure. I would say “eye blinking” is another warning sign before seizures.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I have never seen that mentioned but I will add that, thank you. I hope Maya is okay.

      Reply
  26. Susan Haynes

    Thank you for sharing Red’s experiences with seizures. I have a 13 y/o lab who just had her first seizure about an hour ago. It’s now close to 3:00 am, and I will be calling my vet at 8:00 sharp. Seizures are so horrible to witness, my son started having them when he was 8 months old so at the very least I knew to stay calm and keep my girl safe from hitting her head (not easy!). Your info helped me greatly to know I did the right thing for tonight until I can get to our vet in a few hours! Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I’m sorry to hear that and I hope your dog is okay. It is definitely scary to witness, and as you know I was totally unprepared.

      Reply
  27. Julie

    My 15 yr. young poodle had an episode two weeks ago. She suddenly fell from a sofa, let out a terrifying cry, picked herself up, ran around in circles and couldn’t seem to breathe. I picked her up when I thought it was safe and actually gave her a few rescue breaths. She was disoriented, and very frightened. This is when you need to be strong! Activity had stopped so I wrapped her in a towel and off to the emergency vet we went It was the longest 7 miles of my life. Treated and released, we went home. Beware senior dog owners! If you’re dog is senior like mine, it will recur. Two weeks later she had a grand map seizure in the middle of the 🌙. She again was treated and released with the advice that we see the family vet. I did that, had discussions about what to do? Think of your DOG! She was euthanized the next day. Your dog will remain in your heart, memories, and soul.

    Reply
    1. Hindy Pearson (Post author)

      I’m so sorry to hear that Julie, I know how tough things must be for you at the moment. You’re absolutely right when you say to think of the dog. Sadly, many people can’t bear to say goodbye to the point their dogs linger and suffer. I know it’s an impossible decision for any of us to make, but at the end of the day it’s only about what’s best for our dogs. Your pup was lucky you were able to make that heartbreaking decision, because it was the right thing to do.

      Reply

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