While there are some breeds of dogs that have a genetic predisposition to epilepsy, Canine Epilepsy can affect dogs of any breed or mix across the globe. “Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder in dogs,” states Dr. Karen Muñana, a professor of neurology at the North Carolina State University-College of Veterinary Medicine (NCSU-CVM) who continuously conducts extensive research into companion animal epilepsy. NCSU-CVMis also the home of the Nationwide Database of Pets with Epilepsy by Dr. Muñana and registered veterinary technician and research specialist Julie Nettifee. These lists help them gather information on “specific breeds or characteristics needed for a particular study.” You can submit your Epi-dog’s information to be on file. All information is kept confidential within the research lab.
According to Dr. Muñana, “The term epilepsy is used to describe recurrent seizures that arise due to an abnormality in the brain. The most common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs is idiopathic epilepsy.”
To help a dog diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy, it’s important to have an in-depth conversation with your vet and agree on a treatment method. Also learn about possible triggers, how seizures can affect dogs, and what to do after the seizure is over. The most important thing to do if your dog has had a seizure is call your veterinarian and explain the seizure, how long the seizure lasted, what your dog was eating or doing prior to the seizure. Make notes in a journal (hard copy or digital on your smart device) and if possible, videotape your dog having the seizure to share with your vet. Also, create an Epi-Dog First Aid Kit that contains instant cold packs and keep it in a designated spot in the house so all family members know where to find it should an emergency arise.
Cooling a Dog After a Seizure
After your dog has had a seizure, and you have placed a call to your vet, you will need to monitor him/her carefully as s/he will be disoriented, possibly even experience temporary blindness, and body temperature may become dangerously high. During a seizure, a dog’s body temperature will rise and it is very important to get the body temperature down to avoid a serious health danger. Application of cold packs can aid in cooling down a dog that has just had a seizure.
“Normal body temperature is 102°F and often after a seizure, it will go over 105°F or 106°F,” informs Dr. Arnold Rugg, founder of Kingston Animal Hospital in New York. (https://kingstonanimalhospital.com/).“It is vet recommended to do ice packs until temperature drops to 103°F, then remove ice packs and keep dog in a dry blanket. If it drops too quickly, the dog can go into shock. Take temperature every few minutes and if seizure persists, go to the vet immediately.”
Where Do I Put the Cold Packs?
There are several places to put the cool packs on a dog. To view or request copies of the vet-approved poster for placement of cool packs, please refer to the #Paws4Purple #FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong educational page over at The Anita Kaufmann Foundation for the “Cooling Down an Epi-Dog: Where Do I Put Cold Packs?”
If you do not have a cold pack, you can make one by putting crushed iced into a locking zipper bag. If you cannot get ice, you can also use a bag of frozen peas or veggies in a pinch! If your dog has a single coat or fur is short or shaved, it is recommended that you wrap the cold pack in a towel before applying to avoid any injury to the dog’s skin.