Dog Seizures, Causes, Dog Medication

Dog seizures, causes, and dog medication for seizures. 

What causes seizures in a dog?

A dog may seizure for many reasons. Just because a dog has a seizure does not mean that the dog has epilepsy. 

To determine whether a dog has epilepsy or something else, a veterinarian or neurologist arrives at their diagnosis by a process of elimination.  

A genetic factor may be highly suspected whencanine seizures occur in dogs 1 to 3 years of age. Some possible causes of dog seizures include...

  • Primary Epilepsy (no known cause)


  • Distemper
    A highly contagious viral disease that can leave a dog's nervous system irreparably damaged, along with its sense of smell, hearing or sight.


  • Brain tumor, Head injury


  • Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever


  • Toxins for the environment


  • Various hyper and hypo Conditions
    Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and Hypocalcemia (low levels of calcium disorder) are a couple examples.


  • Hepatic Encephalopathy or Liver Disease


  • Renal (kidney) disease


  • Gastrointestinal disease
    A disease of the stomach, colon, bowels, or rectum, also called "garbage" poisoning.


  • Toxoplamosis
    A disease caused by a parasite.


  • Lissencephaly
    Rare brain disorders.


  • Tick Bites

What does a dog seizure look like?

Generally, when a dog has a seizure the dog loses consciousness, chomps at the air and salivates while going through running motions. 

A typical Grand Mal seizure may look like... 

The dog seems perfectly normal when all of a sudden the dog begins to stagger just a bit when walking. Then it may appear to be backing up, will sit down on the hind legs and the facial muscles and eyelids will begin to spasm. 

Often the dog will begin to salivate and chatter its teeth because of the spasm of the jaw muscles. 

Muscle spasm causes forced breathing if the jaw is set in a closed position which then stimulates the saliva to foam up displaying a foaming at the mouth.


Dog Medication to Help Control Seizures

Potassium bromide is an oral dog medication used to control dog seizures and epilepsy in dogs. 

Potassium bromide is useful in dogs whose seizures are not controlled with or who cannot take phenobarbital. 

The bromide is the element with the antiseizure properties of inhibiting excitability of nerve cells in the brain. 

It may take up to 4 or 5 months for the full effect of a dosage change to occur. 

It's common to see sedation during first few weeks of treatment. 

How potassium bromide is used
It is generally mixed in water and provided as a liquid solution or as a capsule. Use of the liquid allows for more flexibility with dosage changes. 

When potassium bromide therapy is initiated in a patient it is common to begin with a loading dose, which is a very high dose given for a short period of time to get the blood level up more quickly. 

It takes 3-4 months to get a stable bromide blood level. 

Dog Seizures

Contraindications/Warnings
Not for use in cats. Not for use in pregnant or nursing animals. 

Drug or Food Interactions
Increase in sedative effect is seen when used with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. 

Low salt diets may increase the risk of side effects. High salt diets may decrease the effects of KBr. 

No known food interactions. 

Overdose/Toxicity
More likely seen from chronic overdosing than with a single large dose. 

Signs may include sedation, loss of appetite, constipation, vomiting, muscle pain, pancreatitis, staggering, decreased/slow reflexes, tremors, pupils of different sizes, and other central nervous system symptoms. 

Consult your veterinarian if your pet experiences a change in appetite, thirst, weight, urination, or activity level, or if jaundice (e.g., yellow gums) develops. 

Potassium bromide is not a licensed medication in the United States and and not FDA approved for use in dogs and cats, but it is a common and accepted practice to use in dogs. 

You can get potassium bromide from a chemical supply company or available by prescription at a specialty compounding pharmacy.


› Dog Seizures

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