I'm Dr. Laura Vasquez from Central Texas Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital/ I'm here today to talk to you about dogs with seizures. My assistant Dennis will be fielding your questions, and I'll be trying to provide the best answers I can.

Dr. Vasquez are seizures painful?

We don't know if they're painful. They look very violent, some dogs, when they have grand mal seizures, which is the whole body convulsion, also known as a tonic-clonic seizure. They do look painful. We know in people that people don't remember feeling, experiencing pain during the seizures, so we assume the same for dogs.

Are seizures dangerous?

Seizures can be dangerous. Most of the time, we think of seizures lasting less than two minutes, but seizures that last longer than two minutes or is what is called status epilepticus, now the longer the seizure goes, the more spontaneous activity goes to different parts of your body. One of the places that can be affected by longterm seizures is your heart. You can unfortunately have a fatal, arrhythmia secondary to seizures.

Dr. Vasquez, what causes seizures in dogs?

Seizures in dogs can be caused by a number of things. The most common one would be idiopathic epilepsy where it seizures for no known cause. Seizures are just a reaction by the brain to something. If we're talking about something that's not idiopathic, then we wonder, okay well did they eat something? There can be toxicities. Do they have systemic problems? Maybe they have a liver disease or kidney disease that can affect their brain. Sometimes there can be something wrong within the brain itself, a structural lesion, and this is where we would talk about things like strokes or brain tumors or encephalitis. You can have either inter-cranial causes, which are things arising from your brain, or you can have things from outside your body or you can just have idiopathic epilepsy seizures for no known reason.

Dr. Vasquez can heat cause dog seizures?

Heat can affect the brain. Heat can cause seizures in dogs, this would be from overheating. It's usually secondary to having problems with other organ systems, but the brain is definitely very sensitive to heat.

Dr. Vasquez, which toxins can cause dog seizures?

Well, so there are any number of toxins that can cause seizures in dogs, but some of the very common things include macadamia nuts, so be careful not to feed your dogs nuts, moldy foods including moldy cheeses, so just be very careful about your pets getting into the garbage. We can also see seizures secondary to certain kinds of pesticides, so always be aware that when they're spraying your property, you have your pets safely indoors or away. You can also see it unfortunately more recently with certain kinds of algae that are found in some of the water.

Okay, so there are food types of toxicities, like I mentioned with macadamia nuts, there are plant toxicities, be very careful with the kinds you plant in your yard, pesticides. A common thing that a lot of people have in their yards, mulch. Mulch can get moldy and if your dog eats moldy mulch, you can most certainly see seizures and other neurological disorders. Be careful where your pet swims, standing water that might get algae toxicity can most certainly cause seizures.

Dr. Vasquez can dog food cause dogs seizures?

Unless the food has been adulterated, I don't think that that's usually cause of seizures in dogs. We worry though about moldy food. Always make sure you're feeding your pets fresh foods.

Can dog flu cause seizures?

We don't know about dog flu causing seizures. They usually have to be very systemically ill and have organ failure somewhere else for it to affect the brain like that.

Dr. Vasquez can dog allergies cause seizures?

Well, so seizures in dogs can be triggered, we know that idiopathic epilepsy can have stress as a trigger, but we also know that inflammation in another organ system can cause seizures. If an animal has a really bad urinary tract infection or really bad ear infections, any cause of inflammation in the body can be a trigger. For some dogs, having really severe allergies might trigger seizures.

Thank you, and if you want to learn more on seizures in dogs, click here or if you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your veterinarian to help schedule a referral to us.