Types of Seizures in Dogs

Does your dog experience seizures? The severity and type of seizures your dog suffers from can also differ. In today’s post, our Ventura vets explain the different types of seizures in dogs. 

Seizures in Dogs

Dogs can experience a number of seizures, and how different types of seizures impact individual dogs can differ greatly. While seizures are categorized differently, it’s not unusual for an individual dog to experience more than one type of seizure.

Seizures in dogs can occur suddenly and without warning. However, most will only last a short period of time (from a few seconds to a couple of minutes).

Many dog parents worry that their pet will injure themselves during a seizure. But, contrary to popular belief most dogs having a seizure do not hurt themselves and often do not require a trip to the vet.

That said, it’s important to contact your vet even if your dog has a short seizure, just to let them know what has happened. It’s important for your vet to have your dog’s full medical history on file. He or she will also decide whether an examination is needed.

If your pooch’s seizure lasts more than 3 minutes, or if recurring seizures happen over a 24-hour period, take an urgent trip to the vet’s. Contact your vet immediately to let them know you are coming, or go to the nearest animal emergency hospital. At Ventura Medical and Surgical Group, we have vets and board-certified specialists who use in-house diagnostic technology and imaging to diagnose medical conditions and tailor treatment plans to your pet's needs.  

Focal Seizures (Partial Seizures) in Dogs

Focal or partial seizures will impact only one half of your dog’s brain, and within a specific region of that half. Your vet will describe focal seizures as either simple or complex - this depends on your dog’s level of awareness during the seizure.

While most dogs remain conscious during a simple focal seizure, they are more likely to experience impaired consciousness during a complex seizure.

Symptoms of a Simple Focal Seizure

You may notice one or more of these symptoms if your dog is experiencing a simple focal seizure:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Fur standing up
  • Hallucinations (barking, moaning or growling at nothing. Your dog may also bite at the air or behave in a fearful manner for no apparent reason)
  • Balance issues
  • Signs of hearing or vision changes
  • Specific muscles may relax and contract
  • Involuntary movements

Generalized Seizures in Dogs

Generalized seizures happen within both sides of a dog’s brain. They often start as a focal seizure, then evolve into a generalized seizure. During a generalized seizure, your dog will probably lose consciousness and involuntary urination or defecation may occur.

Types & Signs of Generalized Seizures in Dogs

These are different types of generalized seizures in dogs. Generalized seizures result in movement on both sides of the body and can be categorized as:

  • Tonic: Muscle stiffening or contraction that may last from a few seconds to a few minutes
  • Clonic: Involuntary, rhythmic and rapid jerking or contractions of muscles
  • Tonic-Clonic: Tonic phase, immediately followed by clonic phase
  • Myoclonic: Sporadic movements or jerks, usually on both sides of the body
  • Atonic (non-convulsive seizures, drop attacks): Suddenly causes a dog to collapse
  • Status Epilepticus: Either (a) a single seizure with a duration of more than 5 minutes or b) multiple seizures over a short period of time, without fully regaining consciousness between seizures. If your dog experiences a Status Epilepticus seizure, contact your vet immediately for advice. Seizures lasting longer than 5 minutes may be life threatening.
  • Cluster: Two or more seizures within 24 hours, with the dog regaining full consciousness between seizures.

Focal Seizure Evolving into a Generalized Seizure

The most common type of seizures seen in dogs are seizures that evolve into generalized seizures. It’s not uncommon for a focal seizure to be so short or subtle that the owner misses the signs.

If your dog starts to have a generalized seizure, attempt to remember exactly what your pooch was doing before it began. Were they behaving unusually (even briefly) before it started?

The more information you can provide your vet, and with as much detail as possible, the better. The more your vet learns about what your dog was doing before the generalized seizure, the better they were able to care for your dog and diagnose him or her, as well as determine the possible cause.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog experiencing seizures? Our emergency veterinarians in Ventura are specially trained in emergency medicine and triage. If your pet is having an emergency late at night, on a weekend or holiday, or any time you are unable to reach your primary care veterinarian, we are here to help.

Types of seizures in dogs, Ventura veterinary oncologist

Looking for a veterinary specialist in Ventura?

We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Related Articles View All

Types of Hepatitis in Dogs

Hepatitis can cause serious and even fatal symptoms in your dog. Our Ventura vets explain canine hepatitis, symptoms, treatments, and prevention.

Does Your Pup Have A Sore Ear? How to Treat Ear Infections in Dogs

Ear infections are a common issue in dogs that can have serious consequences if left untreated. Here are some signs that your pooch might have an ear infection and what you should do.

What is the most common cause of diarrhea in dogs?

Diarrhea in your dog can be quite distressing when pet parents need to cope with it. If your pup has diarrhea, you'll also want to figure out how to help them as soon as you can! Here, our Ventura vets explain some of the common causes of this condition and how to put a stop to diarrhea in your do QUICKLY.

Is Your Dog Overweight? How To Recognize And Treat

You see your dog so frequently, it can be difficult to tell when they've put on a few pounds. Here are some common causes for overweight dogs, and some tips to help them shed some pounds.

Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis is a disease carried by ticks that is found in dogs across the southern United States. Early diagnosis and treatment of this condition are critical in preventing it from reaching its more severe stages. Here, our Ventura vets explain ehrlichiosis' stages, symptoms and treatments in dogs.

Caring for Pets in Ventura

Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group (VMSG) accepts new clients to our specialty services and emergency services.

Contact Us

(805) 339-2290