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Ocular Compression for Epileptic Dogs: A Gentle Technique for Seizure Management

Updated: May 21

Ocular Compression for Epileptic Dogs: A Gentle Technique for Seizure Management

When your dog experiences a seizure, its natural to want to help in any way you can. Ocular compression is a technique that may offer relief during epileptic episodes. Let's explore what ocular compression entails, when to use it, how to perform it safely, and its effectiveness in managing seizures in dogs.

Understanding Canine Epilepsy

Before we delve into ocular compression, it's essential to understand canine epilepsy. Dogs with epilepsy can have recurrent seizures, which vary in severity and frequency. Managing these seizures often involves a combination of medication, lifestyle adjustments, and sometimes, complementary techniques like ocular compression.


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What is Ocular Compression?

During a seizure, the brain experiences abnormal electrical activity, which can manifest in various ways, including convulsions and loss of consciousness. Ocular compression involves gently applying pressure to your dog's eyes during a seizure. This technique is based on the concept of stimulating the vagus nerve, which plays a crucial role in regulating bodily functions, including seizure activity. This technique is believed to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and potentially halting the seizure process.

The Research on Ocular Compression

In a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association ocular compression (OC) was used to treat 7 dogs with seizures. Treatment was accomplished by use of digital (finger) pressure applied to one or both eyes by veterinarians, hospital staff, or owners. Use of OC appeared to be efficacious for aborting seizures in 3 dogs, decreasing heart rate and causing muscle relaxation in 1 dog, and preventing onset of seizures in 2 other dogs. While the research remains limited, this form of non-invasive treatment shows great promise so its worth a try!

How to Perform Ocular Compression:

  1. Stay Calm: First and foremost, it's essential to remain calm. While we know it can be scary focus on the practical things you can do to help your dog.

  2. Positioning: Gently place one hand on either side of your dog's head, with your fingers resting lightly on their closed eyelids.

  3. Apply Gentle Pressure: Using your fingertips, apply gentle but firm pressure to your dog's closed eyelids. Pressing in and down. You want to exert enough pressure to stimulate the vagus nerve without causing discomfort.

  4. Hold and Monitor: Maintain the pressure for about 10-30 seconds, monitoring your dog's response closely. You may notice a reduction in seizure activity or a quicker recovery period.

  5. Reassure and Comfort: As the seizure subsides, continue to offer soothing words and gentle strokes to comfort your furry friend.


Need Support?

Join our online community of epileptic pet owners who can help you through this journey. We know how stressful it can be caring for an epileptic dog, and we are here to help.


Safety Considerations

While ocular compression can be a useful technique for managing seizures, it's essential to prioritise safety. If your dog becomes aggressive or agitated during a seizure, do not attempt to perform ocular compression. Instead, focus on ensuring their environment is safe and free from hazards. Additionally, ocular compression should not be considered a substitute for emergency medication prescribed by your veterinarian.

In Conclusion: Ocular Compression for Epileptic Dogs: A Gentle Technique for Seizure Management

Ocular compression is a gentle and non-invasive technique that may offer relief during epileptic seizures in dogs. While its effectiveness is not yet fully understood, many pet owners find it to be a helpful addition to their seizure management toolkit. By understanding when to use ocular compression, how to perform it safely, and its limitations, you can be better prepared to support your dog.

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