How to Help a Dog Having a Seizure

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If a dog is epileptic, he has to be medicated every day, and sometimes even multiple times a day. Learn about different ways that a dog's seizures may be fixed through medication with help from a veterinarian in this free video on dog health and seizures.

Part of the Video Series: Dog Health
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Greg McDonald. I'm a veterinarian in Southern California and I have a hospital in Santa Barbara. I wanted to talk a little bit about dog care today and one of the things that people often have as a problem with their dog is seizures. Seizures can be caused by lots of different reasons and it's incredibly important for the owners to know the difference between a poisoning, where their dog is having a seizure because he ate something, or if the dog is an epileptic and having a seizure because of an abnormality inside of the brain--a little electrical discharge up in the brain. Epilepsy is probably the more common thing that people see and once it's diagnosed it can be treated by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will pick a drug specifically for your dog. And unfortunately with seizures, if it's an epileptic dog, you don't just give them medication when they're having a seizure. You actually medicate them every day--sometimes two or three times a day--to prevent them from having a seizure. When you get to your veterinarian, if your dog is still having seizures, your veterinarian may want to be giving a product called "Valium". It is a anti-seizure medication that your veterinarian can give intravenously that can control seizures. So we usually set up a determination if a dog should be on the medicine or not, because the seizures don't hurt the animal in and of themselves. If your animal's having one or two seizures a month, usually we don't even medicate those because the medicine has more side effects than the seizures. If your animal's having more than three seizures a month, then we usually recommend starting medication. The medication does have some side effects so we always try and choose the ones that are most effective with the least amount of size effects. And it's very important to understand that your veterinarian first has to diagnose this. Epilepsy is what we call a "rule out" diagnosis. It simply means that we look at everything else and if all that is fine and the dog is still having seizures, the dog is an epileptic. And then we're going to try and fix the dog's seizures by medication. Once your veterinarian starts the medication and you see positive results, he's going to want to do some blood tests in order to check and be sure that there are adequate levels and also not too high a level. So maybe a month after your dog has been on the medication, your veterinarian's going to want to do a blood level to be sure that the medication's working properly.


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