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The Dog Breeds That Most Often Get Epilepsy

Epilepsy in a dog can be scary for the owner. The causes of idiopathic epilepsy in dogs are still a mystery. What scientists do know is that it may be linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Typical cases show grand mal seizures between 6 months and 5 years of age. Different breeds tend to develop epilepsy more often than the rest.

Small Dogs

Beagles and Dachshunds are known to have an inherited predisposition to this condition, but a genetic inheritance hasn’t been established in many other breeds. That being said, idiopathic epilepsy has turned up at higher levels in certain breeds. Some small dog breeds reported to have higher incidence of epilepsy are Cocker Spaniels, Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, and Wire Fox Terriers. However, even mixed breed dogs can become epileptic.

Large Dogs

Many different large breed dogs can get epilepsy. Large dogs with inheritable conditions include German Shepherd Dogs (also know as Alsatians), Belgian Tervurens, and Keeshonds. Epilepsy has also been observed in several other large breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Irish Setters, Saint Bernards, and Siberian Huskies.

Not everybody who owns one of these particular breeds of dog is going to witness seizures. It’s merely something to watch out for.

Choose a Dog With Care

If you are shopping for a puppy, you obviously want to research the pedigree. Many dogs are known to have produced puppies that become epileptic, so prospective owners are encouraged to do their research when shopping for puppies.

A reputable breeder should be more than happy to answer any questions regarding potential genetic conditions. Even the healthiest puppy can develop epilepsy. As mentioned earlier, mixed breed dogs are not immune from the disease. There’s really no telling when and if epilepsy will strike. It’s important to remain aware of any health changes in one’s dog.

Owners are encouraged to look out for classic symptoms of epilepsy. The seizure typically comes in three phases. Owners may not see all three phases if the dog is resting or sleeping. The first phase is the aura. The second is a grand mal seizure. Finally, there’s a post-seizure state. Veterinarians will usually have pet owners keep a log of seizure activity.

Teach Your Children

You should speak to your children about this condition because it can be very scary for a child to witness a beloved dog’s grand mal seizure. Keeping a log of seizure activity is the best way to handle the condition. Your veterinarian will most likely prescribe medication like Phenobarbital.

Ultimately, seizures can occur in nearly any dog breed, and in puppies or adult dogs. Getting to a veterinarian as soon as possible is essential. A strict drug schedule may be necessary for many cases. Although this can be a very frightening condition, dog owners should know that most cases are manageable. Having a good open line of communication with one’s veterinarian is the best place to start. Keeping a log of seizure activity can help the vet determine a proper treatment plan.

Canine Epilepsy: An Owner's Guide to Understanding & Living with Canine Seizures

This guide will help you and your canine companion deal with canine epilepsy. You'll learn how to detect symptoms of an upcoming seizure, treat during and after a seizure, and prevent future seizures.

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