A seizure is a neurological episode in a puppy's brain that results in uncontrollable behavior. Because no two seizures are identical, the dog may exhibit different symptoms from one seizure to another. Some seizures are mild, causing only slight activity in one area of the puppy's body while other seizures may be stronger and involve more of his body.
Signs that your puppy may be on the brink of having a seizure may include agitation and nervousness. Constant salivating, whining and trembling may also occur. Known as the pre-ictal period, the puppy may find its owner and attempt to stay very close.
As the seizure takes control of the puppy's body, his eyes may appear glazed and he may not react to his surroundings. His body may tremble and stiffen. Depending upon the severity of the seizure, the dog may clamp his jaws tightly together, drool or fall to her side on the floor.
An average seizure lasts approximately 2 minutes and as the puppy begins to recover, he may experience residual effects, known as the post-ictal period. He may pant and appear to have difficulty focusing on objects. He may seem lethargic for a couple of hours or up to 2 days. Gradually, his vision will return.
Low blood pressure is a common cause of seizures in some puppies, especially if the dog is a toy breed. In diabetic pups, seizures may be the result of an excess insulin dosage. Other metabolic disorders may contribute to seizures, including low calcium levels or high blood ammonia levels. Lead poisoning is a common cause of puppy seizures, since puppies chew on many objects that contain lead, including the woodwork in older homes. Other contributing causes may include encephalitis, heat stroke, a deformity in the central nervous system or a head trauma.
Epilepsy is the first thing many puppy owners think of when their dog suffers a seizure. This condition may be genetic and some breeds are more prone to developing it, including German Shepherds, Dachshunds, Poodles, Saint Bernards, Beagles, Huskies, Spaniels and Retrievers.
Your veterinarian may conduct a physical exam and order blood tests and a urine analysis to check for underlying conditions and metabolic disorders. In some cases, a test of cerebrospinal fluid or an electroencephalogram may assist in making a diagnosis.