Australian Shepherds are one of the most common herding dog breeds in the United States. They are also one of the breeds that are most likely to experience epilepsy and seizures. If you are an Australian Shepherd owner, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of seizures, as well as how to best manage this condition. This blog post will provide you with all the information you need to know about epilepsy and seizures in Australian Shepherds.
What Is Epilepsy In Australian Shepherds?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s electric activity. seizures are the most common symptom of epilepsy, but not all seizures are indicative of the condition. Australian Shepherds can be diagnosed with epilepsy if they experience two or more seizures that are not caused by another health condition or identifiable trigger. Epilepsy is a lifelong condition, but it can be managed with medication and other treatment options. Australian Shepherds with epilepsy can lead happy and healthy lives with the proper care.
Dogs with epilepsy experience repeated bursts of abnormal electrical activity in their brains, causing them to convulse. Epilepsy is a neurological illness that causes dogs to have seizures. Seizures are caused by an abundance of brain activity. Epilepsy can be hereditary or develop as a result of an accident or infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of Epilepsy In Australian Shepherds?
The most frequent symptoms of epilepsy are convulsions. Dogs can experience one or a variety of seizures. A seizure might be brief or last for several minutes. Some dogs will stiffen and shake, while others will pass out during the seizure. Most dogs recover completely after a seizure, showing no sign that anything had occurred.
Types Of Epilepsy Seizures
There are two main types of seizures Grand Mals and Petit Mals.
Grand Mals: These are the most frequent types of seizures. These events cause a loss of consciousness and a widespread body stiffness. They generally last for one to two minutes.
Petit Mals: A Petit Mals seizure is a sudden episode of uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain that causes dogs to become comatose. They are brief bursts of aberrant behavior and, as a result, dogs will generally remain conscious. They may last anything from a few seconds to a minute or more.
Further Categorizing Seizures
There are also three ways seizures can be further categorized:
Generalized Seizures: Generalized seizures, which affect the whole brain, are one of two types of seizure. Dogs experience one generalized seizure every two to four weeks on average.
Partial Seizures: Partial seizures are the most prevalent type of epilepsy, affecting around 95% of dogs with the condition. Partial and complex partial epilepsies are two forms of partial seizure disorders. These seizures affect just a part of the brain. They may cause twitching or jerking in one area, such as the face, leg, or torso.
Absence Seizures: These are also known as little seizures and last for only a few seconds. Every day, most dogs will have many absence seizures.
What Are The Symptoms Of Seizure Activity in Australian Shepherds?
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 an Australian Shepherd Has A Seizure?
Your dog will lose consciousness and have a full-body tremor if he has a grand mal seizure. The seizure might last for one to two minutes or continue for five minutes or longer. During the seizure, your Australian Shepherd may bite his tongue or lips, drool profusely, and flail his limbs about.
A minor seizure lasts only a few seconds, sometimes even less. Your Australian Shepherd may appear to “space out” for a brief period of time before recovering completely. He may gape open-eyed while staring off into space or twitch or jerk his head or body.
Partial seizures can occur in any part of the brain. They may be simple or complex, and they may cause minimal or dramatic changes in behavior. A simple partial seizure may cause your Australian Shepherd to twitch his head or body, while a complex partial seizure may cause him to bark, whine, or act out his dreams.
What Should You Do If Your Australian Shepherd Has A Seizure?
If your Australian Shepherd has a seizure, you should:
- Remain calm and reassure your Australian Shepherd. 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 Australian Shepherd after the seizure to ensure that he does not have any further episodes.
- Once the seizure is over, offer your Australian Shepherd 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 Australian Shepherd?
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 ingesting them, you may notice side effects such as unsteadiness on their feet or sedation, but these should pass after a few days as long as liver function tests are done regularly.
The major hazard of this medication is that it can harm tissue in the livers of dogs, which is why it’s critical for dog owners to not only look at how much their pet drinks every day, but also keep track of their stools! Liver function tests are necessary every six months to guarantee that the therapy isn’t harming the liver in any adverse way.
Some owners will also look into using alternative therapies alongside drug therapy. One such example is potassium bromide (sodium salts), which is effective at reducing some seizure types in dogs with canine epilepsy and can help control your pet’s symptoms without having any negative side effects.
The vet will prescribe medicine if the episode is repetitive or severe. If your Australian Shepherd 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 Australian Shepherds can be prone to having seizures.
We would like to conclude by saying that epilepsy and seizures can be very serious problems for Australian Shepherds, but with the help of your veterinarian, you can control these episodes and keep your pet healthy and happy.