Epilepsy is a neurological condition that can cause seizures. Seizures are sudden, uncontrolled bursts of electrical activity in the brain. They can cause convulsions, loss of consciousness, and even death. Border collies are prone to epilepsy, and it is estimated that up to 5% of the breed may be affected by the condition. While there is no cure for epilepsy, it can be managed with medication.
If your border collie has epilepsy, it is important to work with a veterinarian to create a treatment plan. With proper care, your dog can lead a happy and healthy life.
What Is Epilepsy In Border Collies?
Epilepsy is an illness that causes dogs to have seizures. Seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Epilepsy can be hereditary or develop from a traumatic event or infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of Epilepsy In Border Collies?
The most frequent epileptic symptoms are seizures. A single seizure or a series of seizures may occur in a Border Collie. Seizures can last for seconds to several minutes. Some dogs will stiffen and shiver while others will lose consciousness during the seizure. Most dogs will appear normal and appear to be ignorant of what has occurred following a seizure.
Types Of Epilepsy Seizures
There are two main types of seizures Grand Mals and Petit Mals.
Grand Mals: These are the type of seizures that most people think of when they hear the word “seizure.” These seizures involve a loss of consciousness and a general body stiffening. They usually last for one to two minutes.
Petit Mals: These seizures involve short bursts of abnormal activity and dogs will typically remain conscious. They can last for a few seconds or up to a minute.
Further Categorizing Seizures
There are also three ways seizures can be further categorized:
Generalized Seizures: These seizures involve the entire brain. Dogs will usually have one generalized seizure every two to four weeks.
Partial Seizures: These seizures involve only a part of the brain. They may cause twitching or jerk in a specific area such as the face, leg, or trunk. Partial seizures can progress into generalized seizures.
Absence Seizures: These are brief periods of inactivity that last for approximately five seconds, and they’re known as petit mal seizures. Dogs will have many absence seizures each day.
What Are The Symptoms Of Seizure Activity in Border Collies?
The symptoms of a seizure will vary depending on the type of seizure. However, most seizures will cause some degree of abnormal behavior including:
- Muscle jerking or twitching
- Loss of consciousness
- Pacing and restlessness
- Inappropriate elimination
- Choking, gagging or gasping for air
What Happens When A Border Collie Has A Seizure?
When your Border Collie has a grand mal seizure, he will lose consciousness and have a comprehensive body convulsion. The seizure may last for one to two minutes or go on for up to five minutes. Your Border Collie may bite his tongue or lips during the seizure, and he might drool copiously.
A petit mal seizure is a much shorter seizure, typically lasting only a few seconds. Your Border Collie may seem to “space out” for a moment, and he may stare off into space with his eyes wide open. He may also twitch or jerk his head or body.
Partial seizures can occur in any section of the brain. They might be minor or severe, and they may result in minor or significant changes in behavior. A simple partial seizure might induce your Border Collie to shake his head or body, while a complex partial seizure may cause him to bark, whimper, or act out of his dreams.
What Should You Do If Your Border Collie Has A Seizure?
If your Border Collie has a seizure, you should:
- Remain calm and reassure your Border Collie. Speak softly and avoid sudden movements.
- Remove any objects that he could choke on or hurt himself with, and move him to a safe place where he won’t fall or hit his head.
- Don’t put anything in his mouth, and don’t try to restrain him.
- Note the time of the seizure and any unusual behavior so that you can share this information with your veterinarian.
- Keep a close eye on your Border Collie after the seizure to ensure that he does not have any further episodes.
- Once the seizure is over, offer your Border Collie some water and call your veterinarian. Seizures can be a sign of a serious health problem, so it’s important to get help from your vet as soon as possible.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Help My Epileptic Border Collie?
The most common drug that vets use is Phenobarbitone (Phenobart). This normally shows an improvement quite quickly and the tablets need to be given at regular intervals. When your dog first starts taking them you may see some side effects like being unsteady on their feet or sedated but these should go away after a few days as long as liver function tests are done regularly
The main thing with this medication comes from its ability to damage tissue in dogs’ livers so it’s important for owners not only to monitor how much their pup drinks every day but also to keep track of their poo! Liver function tests need to be done every six months to make sure that the medication isn’t causing any long-term damage.
Some people will investigate alternative therapies in addition to drug therapy. Potassium bromide (sodium salts), for example, has been discovered to be useful in reducing some seizure types in dogs with canine epilepsy and can help manage your Collie’s signs without causing any adverse effects.
The vet will prescribe medicine if the episode is repetitive or severe. If your Border Collie experiences only one or two isolated seizure episodes without causing serious health issues, then there’s probably no need for medication; however they may give it anyways because Border Collies can be prone to having seizures.
Finally, we’d want to emphasize that Border Collies with epilepsy and seizures may have significant issues. However, with the aid of your veterinarian, you can manage these occurrences and keep your dog healthy and happy.