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Dog Epilepsy: Partial Seizure Symptoms

Updated: Mar 8

Dog Epilepsy Partial Seizure

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects both humans and animals, including our beloved canine companions, exhibited by seizures. Seizures are caused by abnormal surges of electrical activity in the brain. While some may be familiar with the classic image of a full-blown seizure, there's another aspect of epilepsy that often goes unnoticed or misunderstood: partial seizures. In this article, we'll delve into the world of partial seizures in dogs, exploring what they are, their symptoms, causes, and how they can be managed.

What Are Partial Seizures?

Partial seizures, also known as focal seizures, are a type of seizure that originates in a specific area of the brain. Unlike generalised seizures, which affect the entire brain, partial seizures are localised and may involve only one part of the body. In dogs with epilepsy, partial seizures can manifest in various ways depending on which part of the brain is affected.


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Symptoms of Partial Seizures:

The symptoms of partial seizures in dogs can vary widely but may include:

  1. Muscle Twitching: This is one of the most common signs of a partial seizure. You may notice your dog experiencing involuntary muscle contractions in a specific part of their body, such as their face or limbs.

  2. Behavioural Changes: Dogs experiencing partial seizures may exhibit unusual behaviours such as:

    1. Pacing

    2. Circling

    3. Exhibiting unusual/unexplained aggression

    4. Fly catching (snapping at the air when nothing is there)

  3. Altered Consciousness: While some dogs remain fully conscious during a partial seizure, others may appear disoriented, subdued or unaware of their surroundings.

  4. Sensory Disturbances: Some dogs may display signs of altered sensory perception, such as staring blankly or reacting unusually to sounds or touch.

Causes of Partial Seizures in Dogs:

The exact cause of epilepsy in dogs, including partial seizures, is often unknown. However, several factors may contribute to the development of seizures in dogs, including:

  1. Genetics: Certain breeds, such as Border Collies, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers, are more prone to epilepsy, suggesting a genetic component to the disorder.

  2. Brain Abnormalities: Structural abnormalities or lesions in the brain can increase the risk of seizures.

  3. Underlying Health Conditions: Other medical conditions such as infections, tumours, or metabolic or hormonal imbalances may trigger seizures in dogs.

  4. Toxicity: Ingestion of toxic substances such as pesticides, household cleaners, or certain plants can lead to seizures in dogs. Note intoxication tends to cause full seizures rather than partial seizures.

Managing Partial Seizures in Dogs:

While there is no cure for epilepsy in dogs, partial seizures can often be managed with proper treatment and care. Please note that the best management for epilepsy is multifactorial and no one solution will likely suffice. A holistic approach is your best bet for success in minimising these upsetting episodes. Here are some strategies for managing partial seizures in dogs:

  1. Medication: Anticonvulsant medications such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, or levetiracetam may be prescribed by your veterinarian to help control seizures and reduce their frequency and severity.

  2. Regular Veterinary Care: Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are essential for monitoring your dog's condition and general health and adjusting their medication as needed.

  3. Avoid Triggers: Identify and avoid potential triggers for seizures, such as stress, excessive excitement, or exposure to toxins.

  4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Providing your dog with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and a stress-free environment can help support their overall health and reduce the likelihood of seizures. The more consistent your routine, the better!


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Conclusion: Partial Seizure Symptoms

Partial seizures can be a challenging aspect of canine epilepsy to manage, but with the right treatment and care, many dogs with epilepsy can lead happy and fulfilling lives. If you suspect that your dog may be experiencing partial seizures, it's essential to consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. By working closely with your veterinarian and implementing appropriate management strategies, you can help improve your dog's quality of life and minimise the impact of epilepsy on their well-being.

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