Pets & Animal Veterinary Medicine

Causes of Seizures in a Canine

    • Police your dog's health with regular vet check-upspolice dog image by Earl Robbins from

      Seizures, according to Vet Info, result from a disruption in normal brain circuitry. Seizures are also an extremely frightening event to witness, especially if your dog is having one, because it is so unexpected. Much like humans, causes of a seizure in canines can vary, and often requires a medical professional to witness an actual episode to properly diagnose it. Unfortunately, the chances are your dog will not have a seizure in the veterinarian's office. Knowing what causes canine seizures may help you discuss the problem with your the veterinarian.


    • Several neurological conditions can cause seizures in canines, according to Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Education. Epilepsy results from a misfiring of neurons generally within the cerebrum portion of the brain. Anemia, a heart condition or breathing difficulties can decrease oxygen levels in the blood and brain, and produce seizures. Poor blood flow or head trauma may also cause brain damage and seizures. A tumor in the anterior portion of the brain also could produce a seizure, according to Vet Info.

    Serious Defects or Illnesses

    • Inherited or genetic defects at birth may predispose a dog to seizures. Diabetes mellitus (high blood glucose), hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) and liver or kidney conditions can cause seizures. A severe increase in your dog's body temperature, known as hyperthermia, may cause the animal to suffer a seizure. Canine distemper, caused by the paramyxovirus, and eclampsia, a life-threatening reduction in blood calcium levels in lactating dogs, can produce seizures, as well, according to Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Education.

    Toxic Substances

    • The staff of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis, discussed the danger of toxic substances and their link to seizure activity in the school's August 2004 edition of "Animal Pharm News." The publication noted that certain human foods can be toxic to your dog and cause seizures. These include chocolate of all kinds, nuts, onions, baby food, garlic, potatoes, meat or dairy products that contain too much fat or salmonella bacteria and parasites, coffee grounds and soda. Fruits, such as cherries, apricots, peaches, apples, plums, grapes and raisins, also are dangerous. Certain pesticides are toxic, as well, including bromethalin, a poison used to control mice and rats.

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