The Most Important Things to Know about Canine Epilepsy
As in human epilepsies, this condition is characterized by seizures. It is not a single disease alone. Rather, the term canine epilepsy is an umbrella term that encompasses several different types of disorders. The primary cause of canine epilepsy occurs in the brain. Primarily, it is caused by an abnormality in the nerve transmission activities of the brain, causing abnormal movements of the limbs and muscles of the body. These disorders are commonly observed in certain dog breeds more than in others. Although there is no scientific proof that epilepsy is indeed more prevalent among certain dog breeds, most of the cases of canine epilepsy occur in Collies, Beagles, Dachshunds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Retrievers, among several other breeds. Perhaps the reason why such a pattern has been observed is that epilepsy in dogs can also be inherited.
Primary Epilepsy and Secondary Epilepsy
There are two kinds of canine epilepsy, which are primary epilepsy, and secondary epilepsy. Primary epilepsy, as the term implies, is simply epilepsy. Or, more specifically, a seizure. It is not related to any other existing brain abnormality in the dog. Primary epilepsy is known for its early onset, affecting even dogs as young as one to five years old. On the other hand, secodnary epilepsy is caused by something else, and the seizure is just a secondary reaction. Primary epilepsy is also called idiopathic epilepsy, while secondary epilepsy is called symptomatic epilepsy.
What to Know about Seizures
Seizures can be especially frightening. There are two different types of seizures, but both of them are dangerous and uncontrollable. The two types of seizures are generalized and partial. Generalized seizures are those that occur in every possible muscle of the body all at once. In generalized seizures, the dog loses all consciousness, and collapses into an awkward position, lying down with legs thrown out and the head thrown backwards. This is also accompanied by twitching of the facial muscles in some cases. Aside from that, seizures can also cause uncontrolled bowel movement, sudden urination, and drooling. In a seizure, there are two stages, the tonic phase, and the clonic phase. The tonic phase can be described using the symptoms described above. When the tonic phase unfolds in front of you, don't just stand there, because the worse is yet to come. Once the clonic phase sets in, the seizure will become more frigtening than ever, accompanied now by jaw clamping, and extreme jerking in various directions. Not all tonic phases are followed by clonic phases, though. Some are simply tonic seizures alone. When a seizure ends, a dog can go back to normal in just a bit. It does not usually need long periods of recovery, except in select cases when post-seizure periods are characterized by anxieties. In contrast, partial seizure, as already implied, affects just a small area first. The most vulnerable part of the body to partial seizures is the face. A partial seizure can either stay that way: as a partial seizure, or it can also escalate into a generalized seizure. If it odes not become a generalized seizure, mostly, the dog will remain awake. Partial seizures are closely connected to secondary epilepsies, which are caused by any underlying disorder or condition.