Question: Why is my dog trembling or shaking? Sometimes he falls over and sometimes he just stands and looks at me with teeth chattering. Could it be a seizure?
Answer: Yes, your dog could be having a seizure, but other problems could exist. We would first need to perform a physical exam and do some laboratory testing to see what is going on. Seizures can be due to another organ system malfunction or can occur for no reason at all (we call this Epilepsy). If we find another problem, then we can directly treat that, and then the seizures will stop. If we cannot find a reason for the seizures, then we will have to manage Epilepsy. We would use different medications if your dog were seizing at least once a month or if your pet was having severe lasting more than 10 minutes.
It helps to time seizures, as even a 1-minute seizure seems like it took forever. If medication is started, lifelong monitoring is required to measure effectiveness and possibly switch medications. With all of this said, we know that seizures are scary for you, and your pet. But your veterinarian can help, and your pet can live a long and healthy life.
Question: What should I do if my dog is having a seizure?
First, stay calm. I remember one night watching TV when I looked down and our Golden Doodle was having a seizure. Even though I am a veterinarian, it was still a hard thing to watch. I will admit it scared me. But when a dog is having a seizure, he is unaware and is not “suffering.” Keep your dog as calm as possible and protect him from hurting himself. Loud or harsh noises may lengthen the seizure or make it worse.
Other pets in the household may be upset or threatened by the seizing dog. Take them from the area if possible. You can try talking to your dog while he is experiencing a seizure, it may relax them slightly never put your hands near the dog’s mouth as he may involuntarily bite you. Of course, they would not mean to bite you, but they are unconscious.
Always have your veterinarian or emergency veterinary center phone numbers available. Call if your dog has a seizure that lasts more than five minutes. If the seizure lasts more than thirty minutes, permanent brain damage may occur if the seizures are not stopped.
Gary Beall DVM
Chip Beall DVM
Springboro Veterinary Hospital
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