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Epilepsy In Dogs: 9 facts you NEED to know

having a dog with epilepsy can be a really scary upsetting thing especially

when you're watching your dog having a seizure well in this video I'm going to

give you nine facts about epilepsy in dogs that I believe every owner should

know and hopefully they'll just put your mind at ease that your dog will be able

to live with this condition and will live a healthy happy life Hi I'm Dr Alex

from ourpetshealth.com helping you and your dog to live a healthier happier

life so if that's something you're interested in then consider subscribing

and hitting that Bell notification down below so my first fact about epilepsy is

that what we call idiopathic epilepsy or true epilepsy is a condition in dogs

that we don't actually understand why it happens in the first place

so we don't know the underlying cause but what the epilepsy results in is

abnormal electrical activity within the brain and it is this electrical activity

which results in the seizures that we see in our pets so despite not knowing

the underlying cause the second fact is that in some cases it does appear to be

genetic so certain breeds do seem to be more prone to developing epilepsy and

certain lines as well within breeds appear more prone to developing epilepsy

so this is definitely something to consider if you're looking at getting a

dog whose parents have had epilepsy or if you've got a young dog with epilepsy

and you are wondering about whether to breed from them but certainly the

suggestion would be that that might not be the best idea because their offspring

their puppies may be more likely to also have epilepsy in the future right number

three is that epilepsy in dogs develops between about six months of age and

about five years of age so that is when we typically see dogs who are going to

develop epilepsy have their first seizure if we've got a dog who's

very much younger than that or if we've got an older dog who is having seizures

then the chances are it's not truly epilepsy and they're fitting and having

seizures for another reason fact number four is that the treatment

that we give our pets to reduce their seizures is doing just that its aim is

to reduce the frequency and reduce the severity of their seizures it's not

designed to completely eliminate them entirely and there are a number of

reasons for this the main one being that

if we give really high doses that are needed to completely stop seizures then

that will increase the risk of side effects and potentially quite serious

side effects in our dogs that's not to say that the dog on treatment will have

seizures a small proportion will actually be seizure free once they're

taking that medication but just because your dog is on treatment doesn't mean

they won't be having seizures and if they are having the odd seizure then

that doesn't mean the treatment is not working now those seizures should not be

at a really high frequency and they shouldn't be too severe so if your dog

is epileptic and is having really frequent fits or if those fits are

lasting a long time they're taking a long time to recover from then

definitely a change in treatment plan may be appropriate but the actual

presence of seizures in the dog with epilepsy who's being treated isn't

necessarily anything to worry about so step number five is that the drugs that

we give to treat epilepsy in the early stages when we're starting treatment can

take some time to start working so that's something to bear in mind and

obviously your vet will discuss that with you there are different options

that we have for epileptic treatment they work in different ways and they

come at different costs and your vet will discuss with you the most likely

best option for your dog and that will be based on how bad the fits that

they've started to have are and how frequently they're having them and then

at number six is that depending on the drug that's being given very often at

the start of treatment the incidence of mild side effects is quite common so

that can be an increase in thirst drinking more or urinating more it can

also be a real increase in appetite so they just seem hungry all the time they

can become ataxic so kind of quite wobbly on their legs as though they've

had a bit too much to drink and they can also sometimes be a bit sedated in the

vast majority of cases these side effects actually wear off pretty quickly

once your dog's body becomes used to having the drug in the system if high

doses of drugs are needed to control the epilepsy then the risk of side effects

does become a little bit higher so some drugs can

affect liver function and can cause damage to the liver and it's for this reason

that we'll often recommend blood testing to check that everything's going

on as we would expect without any adverse effects as drug dose needs to

increase it may also be that a treatment plan needs to be changed so additional

drugs may need to be given or one drug stopped and another one started okay so

my seventh fact about epilepsy in dogs is that seizures are actually only an

emergency if they're lasting for more than about five minutes or if your dog

is having several seizures in a row and they're not really recovering properly

in between those seizures so those are definitely emergency situations we would

term that status epilepticus which is basically the the electrical activity in

the brain has got to such an extent that it will potentially start to cause some

damage but a short fit the vast majority lost maybe between 30 to 60 seconds

maybe up to a couple of minutes and that seems like an awful long time when

you're there watching your dog it can be very upsetting but if the seizure has

only lost in that short length of time then it's not a true emergency now if

you're wondering how you can help your dog when they're having a seizure I've

actually done a separate video about that that I'll link on here and down in

the description as well so my eight fact is the fact that stopping or missing a

dose of medication or several doses of medication can actually precipitate

seizures in your dog so if you miss a dose if you decide that your dog hasn't

had seizures in a while and you're going to try stopping the medication then that

can actually cause fits so that's definitely not something to be

recommended unless your vets discuss that with you and you're going through a

specific plan to reduce their dose to see if they can be weaned off that drug

but in general once an epileptic dog is deemed to need medication to control

their seizures and that's something that they'll need to be given for their life

and stopping by yourself or missing doses is definitely not a great idea and

then my last fact about epilepsy and dogs is the fact that when surveyed the

vast majority of owners consider that their dog still has an excellent quality

of life and this is really important so very often when epilepsy is diagnosed we

become anxious and worried about what their quality of life and what their

life span is but for owners of living with an

epileptic dog then they generally consider their dog to have an excellent

quality of life now that's not to say the owner themselves is not without

worry and there certainly is worry about how seizures will affect their dog about

medication and about side effects and that kind of thing but when it comes to

actually the well-being and the welfare of their pet then they consider that

their dog has an excellent quality of life and that's fantastic and that's

certainly something that we would expect to see so apart from epilepsy if that's

the only problem that your dog has then in between seizures they should

generally live a completely normal healthy life so those are my 9 facts

about epilepsy and dogs I hope you found them useful I hope you found them

interesting and maybe especially that last one gave you some encouragement

that your dog can still be happy and healthy despite being epileptic now I've

got that video like I mentioned all about how you can help your dog when

they actually have a seizure and that's definitely something that's worth

checking out for any owner of an epileptic dog I've also got a separate

owner about some of the causes of seizures so epilepsy is just one cause

of seizures and in my other video that I'll link up here and down in the

description I talked about the other major causes of seizures and dogs so I

hope that's interesting if you've got any questions if there's anything you're

not sure about then please just leave me a comment down below remember to

subscribe share this with any friends that you know with that pelagic animals

and until next time i'm dr. alex from our pets health because they're family