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Help! My Senior Dog is Having Seizures

Golden retriever laying on a vets exam table being examined by the vet

You love your dog, he or she has gone beyond the call of duty and provided you with companionship, comfort, and a lot of fun. But when they start shaking it is a little hard for a loving owner to take. Especially when it is not normal shaking that some dogs do naturally.

Seizures can happen in almost any dog breed no matter their age. Unfortunately, senior dogs are more prone to them than younger ones. Plus, they are usually more severe in senior dogs.

What should you do when you see your dog having a seizure? Keep reading our article to get the answer to that question.

Defining a Seizure

When your dog is suffering from a seizure, it means that their brains are experiencing more electrical activity than normal. The good news is that a seizure is not a disease. However, it is a sign that your dog does have a health issue you need to look after as soon as possible.

Types of Seizures

Yellow labrador laying flat on its side on a dog bed in a vet hospital setting

Generally, those diseases that come with seizures as a sign affect the brain and show themselves through partial or a generalized seizure. The following details will help you see how severe the seizure will be and when it will come:

1. Generalized Seizure

There may be 3 stages your pet will go through when it is having this type of seizure. The first stage will be anxiety, nervousness, restlessness and he or she may drool, whimper, or just want you to comfort them.

The second stage is the seizure itself and your pet may experience both parts of the seizure. In the first part, your pet should collapse and be unconscious. In this part, your pet should lose control of its drooling, bladder, and bowel.

The second part of this type of seizure is where you will see your dog running the place and their mouth will be opening and closing. Their breathing may be short and rough with their tongue turning blue.

The third stage is where your pet regains consciousness but is groggy and disoriented.

2. Partial Seizures

Identifying this type of seizure depends on the dog’s behavior. They may be aggressive without provocation, have an irrational fear or they may simply be twitching on one side of their faces.

My Senior Dog is Shaking

Boxer being comforted while being given a shot

Seizures do not really happen until there is something seriously wrong with your pet. With senior dogs, you can rule out epilepsy as that would have presented itself years earlier. Here are some of the diseases that can bring seizures to your pet:

  1. Brain Tumors- If your dog is over 7 years old, chances are they have contracted a brain tumor.
  2. Strokes- A seizure will be determined by the part of the brain that is damaged by the stroke.
  3. Kidney Disease- The toxins that are not filtered out by the damaged kidneys can cause different seizures.
  4. Liver Disease- Toxins that cannot be treated by the liver are the culprits in this situation.
  5. Diabetes- An insulin overdose will be the source of a seizure in this case.
  6. Eating or Drinking Something Toxic- This is not just for senior dogs.

Do Not Confuse Normal Shaking with Seizures

postrait of a black and tan chihuahu

Sometimes older dogs shake for a variety of reasons, and they are not related to the diseases or causes mentioned above. Here are some of those alternative sources for a shaking senior dog:

  1. Muscles are getting weaker
  2. Arthritis and or joint pain
  3. Shaking syndrome- An autoimmune condition that is treatable
  4. Stress or fear
  5. General pain
  6. He or she is cold

When you see that your dog is having an actual seizure, try to lead them to a safe spot where they will not hurt themselves. If that is not possible, try to move objects out of the way so he or she does not fall on them and get hurt.

Also, move other pets out of the room so they won’t interfere and above all else stay calm. Panicking can lead to a longer seizure and more injury to your pet.

Things to Do When Your Pet is Having a Seizure

Close up of the face of a long haired white dog laying down with tongue sticking out.

One method you can try to use that may shorten the length of the seizure is Apply Ocular Compression. This treatment method is supposed to release GABA after stimulating the cranial nerve. GABA is supposed to shorten the seizure, the post-seizure phase and cut down on the side effects of the seizure.

Or you can try Acupressure. You apply this treatment to the spot where the nose meets the upper lip. It is supposed to help. Also, you should do the following:

  1. Record the start and end times of the seizure
  2. Everyone is to stay calm and keep the noise down
  3. Talk to your dog softly
  4. Let him or her rest after the seizure
  5. Stroke his body softly
  6. Give him or her some water
  7. Take him or her to the vet right away when the seizure is over

Some Final Words

Beagle sitting on a couch looking at the camera

Shaking can be serious or it can be just normal behavior. When it is the former make sure to get your pet to your vet as quickly as possible. There may be a serious health issue behind the seizure and quick treatment can help your pet recover.

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