Dog health: a guide to epilepsy

We have filmed a series of short videos with vet Brian Faulkner to help you spot the signs of common illnesses in your pet. In this video Brian discusses epilepsy in dogs.

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes fitting or seizures. Often seizures are easy to recognise, with symptoms including convulsions and jerking of the limbs. This can be distressing for owners to witness in their beloved pet, especially if the seizure is out of control. Other times the fitting can be milder, where the dog may wobble or appear dazed or uncoordinated. Epileptic seizures can last anything from 30 seconds to two minutes, and the after the fit, dogs can be confused or unpredictable.

The condition is often tricky to diagnose, and your vet will first check to see if there could be anything else causing the seizures that can be treated directly, such as poisoning or traumas. Primary epilepsy is diagnosed when the cause for the seizures can't be found.

The frequency of the fitting will often determine the treatment; if your dog is having more than one fit a month, he may be prescribed long-term, anti-epileptic medication to try to reduce the fitting episodes, as well as regular monitoring. Although medication won't necessarily stop the fits completely, it can control them, helping your dog to live a happy, normal life.

Does your dog suffer from epilepsy, or have you ever experienced a canine epileptic seizure? Tell us below.