Epileptic Spasms And Convulsions In Dogs

Written by: Anastasia Spevakina
Convulsions are involuntary muscle contractions. And many owners don’t know what to do when  they see their dogs having Epileptic Spasms . It looks frightening and confusing, when you can’t even expect.

Sometimes these spams can be a result of epilepsy, which is a sign of a neurological brain dysfunction. Primary epilepsy is caused by genetic disorders, and in such case first spasms can appear between the ages of 6 months up to 5 years.

Secondary epilepsy can be caused by various diseases that affect the functioning of the dog’s nervous system:

  • Poisoning by toxins or heavy metals;
  • Helminths;
  • Craniocerebral injury;
  • Diseases of the liver or kidneys;
  • Malnutrition and diabetes;
  • Lack of vitamins and minerals;
  • Different metabolic factors (arrhythmia, cirrhosis, cancer, brain diseases);
  • Infectious diseases (toxoplasmosis, distemper, tetanus).

Stages of epileptic spasms

  • Dogs become anxious. They start to wander and hide from prying eyes.
  • Loss of consciousness or an ictal phase, when the dog starts to lose his breath and have copious foamy saliva.
  • The postictal stage, when an epileptic attack is over, but the dog is still restless, disoriented and wandering.

Epileptic spasms usually last for around 5 minutes, but sometimes longer. The best thing you can do if your pet has a spasm is to take him to a nearest veterinary clinic.


! All dogs, which are at risk, should be protected from stress, not to get overexcited. If the spasm could not be avoided, and your dog starts to have convulsions, try to put him in a comfortable position and hold his head. Keep the dog away from sharp edges and traumatic things. After the convulsion don’t forget to measure the dog’s temperature and call a vet.

Complex examination will help to determine causes of spasms and convulsions

Lack of vitamins and minerals can cause spasms. In such cases, veterinarians prescribe injections of calcium gluconate or other vitamins intramuscularly.

Dogs, which faced various serious diseases, often have convulsive limb spasms. Moreover, even unjustified excessive exercises can lead to convulsions.

No matter what is the reason of spasms, only a veterinarian can prescribe treatment and help your dog.

Examinations in a vet clinic include:

  • Chest X-ray;
  • Ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity;
  • Magnetic resonance;
  • Tomography;
  • Analysis of urine, feces and blood;
  • Consultation and examination of dogs by a neurologist.

Of course, treatment and examinations depends on many factors. For example, meningoencephalitis ( in addition to epileptic spasms) can show other alarming symptoms, such as the rigidity of neck muscles  and increased body temperature. In this case the prescribed medicine will be aimed to prevent brain swelling and maintain water and electrolyte balance in the body of the dog.


! It’s important to know few basic facts about epileptic spasms and convulsions

  • Dog’s convulsions and spasms are provoked by congenital disorders, inflammation, metabolic disorders or poisoning.
  • Dogs at the age between 1 year up to 5 years may suffer from epilepsy.
  • Undersized dogs are more susceptible to hypoglycemia, which can also provoke spasms.


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