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Can you get Partial Seizures Without a Full Blown Seizure in Dogs?

Updated: Mar 8

partial seizure dog

When we think of seizures in dogs, the image that often comes to mind is one of dramatic convulsions and loss of consciousness. However, there's a lesser-known aspect of canine epilepsy: partial seizures, also known as focal seizures. Unlike generalised seizures that involve the entire brain, partial seizures originate in a specific area and may not always progress to a full-blown episode. In this article, we'll delve into the world of partial seizures in dogs, exploring whether they can occur without a full-blown seizure and what signs pet parents should watch for.

Understanding Partial Seizures in Dogs

Partial seizures, also known as focal seizures, are a type of seizure that originates in a localised area of the brain. Unlike generalised seizures, which affect the entire brain and often result in loss of consciousness and convulsions, partial seizures may only involve specific parts of the body or particular behaviours.

Please see an example of a focal seizure below:

Can Dogs Experience Partial Seizures Without Full-Blown Episodes?

Yes, dogs can indeed experience partial seizures without progressing to full-blown seizures. These partial seizures may manifest in various ways, depending on which area of the brain is affected. Some dogs may exhibit subtle signs such as twitching, repetitive movements, or changes in behaviour without ever experiencing a generalised seizure.


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Signs of Partial Seizures Without Full-Blown Episodes:

Recognizing partial seizures in dogs can be challenging, as the symptoms may vary widely and may not always be immediately obvious. Common signs of partial seizures without progressing to full-blown episodes include:

  1. Muscle Twitching: Dogs may experience involuntary muscle contractions in a specific part of their body, such as their face, limbs, or neck. These twitching movements may be subtle and intermittent.

  2. Behavioural Changes: Dogs may exhibit unusual behaviours such as pacing, circling, or restlessness. They may appear disoriented or confused, as if they are "zoning out" or experiencing altered consciousness.

  3. Altered Sensory Perception: Some dogs may display signs of altered sensory perception, such as staring blankly into space or reacting unusually to sounds, smells, or touch. They may seem hyperaware or hypersensitive to their surroundings.

  4. Repetitive Movements: Dogs may engage in repetitive movements or behaviours, such as licking or chewing at themselves, chasing their tail, or snapping at imaginary objects.

  5. Changes in Awareness: While some dogs may remain fully conscious during a partial seizure, others may appear to be in a trance-like state or have a decreased level of awareness of their surroundings.


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Partial seizures in dogs can manifest in a variety of ways, and they can indeed occur without progressing to full-blown episodes. It's essential for pet parents to be vigilant and observant of any unusual behaviours or symptoms that their dogs may exhibit, as these could be indicative of partial seizures. If you suspect that your dog may be experiencing partial seizures or have concerns about their neurological health, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and management. With early detection and appropriate treatment, pet parents can help improve their furry friend's quality of life and minimise the impact of epilepsy on their well-being.

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