Seizures, which occur when there is an abnormality in the brain’s electrical activity, are another common health issue dachshunds are predisposed to. Although most of the time seizures in dachshunds are inherited, they can also be triggered by many other factors. Dehydration, poor nutrition, distemper, toxicity, poisoning, and allergies are some of the causes of seizures in dachshunds.
Did you know… that John Wayne owned a dachshund named “Blackie?” The doxy alerted Wayne’s wife when a fire broke out in their home, allowing her and her 20 month. old daughter to safely evacuate.
Types of Seizures in Dachshunds
There are three main types of seizures that dachshunds may experience;
1. Grand Mal Seizures
Grand Mal seizures usually cause dogs to fall unconscious and become rigid in the extremities. A Grand Mal seizure can last up to three minutes, but side effects continue for a longer time period. After experiencing this type of seizure, dachshunds may act uncomfortable, hyperactive, and off-balance.
2. Partial Seizures
Partial seizures, also known as focal seizures, occur when part of the brain’s electrical activity is affected. Partial seizures can begin by only affecting part of the brain and body, but have the capability of spreading and affecting the entire brain.
3. Seizures Caused by Myoclonic Epilepsy
Myoclonic epilepsy is characterized by involuntary movement of muscles located in the neck, pelvic, and facial area.
Signs and Symptoms
• Loss of Consciousness (does not always happen)
• Falling Suddenly
• Urination and Defecation
• Involuntary Movement (such as jerking of part of or the entire body)
• Excess Salivation (foam at the mouth)
Before making a treatment plan, your veterinarian will first conduct a complete physical and neurological exam. He may also order x-rays and blood work in order to make a diagnosis. In some cases, medication is not prescribed the first time the dog has suffered a seizure, as it may not be necessary. If your veterinarian thinks it is required, he will prescribe medication such as Phenobarbital to help keep seizures under control.
In cases where the seizure is caused by toxicity, poisoning, distemper, etc., drugs for the seizures as well as medication to treat the underlying cause will be prescribed.
What should you do if your dachshund has a seizure?
The first thing every dog owner should know is that extra caution needs to be taken when handling a seizing dog. Even if your dachshund is not normally aggressive, the pain and confusion caused by a seizure can trigger your dog to bite.
When your dog has a seizure, move all objects away from him and place a pillow or thick blanket under him to avoid self-inflicted injuries. Talking to your dachshund in a soothing voice can also help him relax and come out of the seizure more smoothly. Lastly, be sure to record the length of each seizure for your dog’s medical records. Notify your veterinarian immediately if your dog has a seizure that lasts more than 5 minutes.
If it is the first time your dachshund has had a seizure it is important to get him to his veterinarian as soon as possible. Before leaving, quickly check your home for anything that may have caused your dog’s seizure. There are many toxic, household items that can cause seizures if ingested including; rat bait, detergent, soap, antifreeze, moldy foods (dog may have taken out of garbage), certain foods (avocado, walnuts, apple seed/stem), and more. Seizures can also be caused by poisonous animals such as; snakes, black widows, scorpions, and more.
If possible, have someone stay home so that they can inspect the home more thoroughly. If evidence of something your dog might have ate is found, it is important to get the list of the ingredients. If a venomous animal is found and you cannot identify it, notify the veterinarian of its’ characteristics. This information will be necessary in order for your veterinarian to properly treat your dog.
Seizures in your dachshund can be a frightening thing; however, most dogs genetically predisposed to the condition live a normal life with the help of medication. There are also other things you can do to minimize the risk of your dog having a seizure such as; placing your doxy on a natural/toxin-free diet, acupuncture, and reducing the amount of stress your weenie dog is exposed to.
Pytel, N. Seizures in Dachshunds. eHow. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.ehow.com/about_6319193_seizures-dachshunds.html
Larson, D. M. Recognizing Epilepsy. Dachshund. Retrieved August 5, 2012, from http://www.dachshund.org/health_epilepsy.html