What Causes Epilepsy Seizures in Dogs

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
What Causes Epilepsy Seizures in Dogs

Do you want to know a little more about epilepsy in dogs? If your best friend has been diagnosed with this disease, it is important that you understand why your pet is suffering these seizures. Epilepsy consists of repetitive seizures (not just occasional), and is what defines this illness. If you want to know what it is that causes these convulsions, let is at OneHowTo explain what causes epilepsy seizures in dogs.

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Seizures in dogs are symptomatic of an existing disease in the brain. Sometimes it is relatively easy to determine which disease causes seizures, e.g. a tumor or stroke. In other cases, however, it may be complex or even impossible to figure out the reasons for these seizures. This is called idiopathic epilepsy.

A seizure is the result of abnormal electrical activity that occurs suddenly in the dog's brain: a group of neurons are altered and enter a phase of excitement and hyperactivity.

What Causes Epilepsy Seizures in Dogs - Step 1

There are many causes that can alter the activity of neurons: direct damage to the brain, toxins, and even metabolic diseases. There are cases of very strong convulsions as a result of the ingestion of toxic products (insecticides, pesticides etc.). If you think your pet has come into contact with something toxic you should consult the vet. This is one of the most common causes of an epileptic episode and is a good place to start when ruling out possible causes.

In OneHowTo, we explain how to treat a dog that has been poisoned. However, we urge you to consult the vet before doing anything else, as time is a matter of life and death.


The kidneys and liver are responsible for blood purification, cleaning it of all kinds of impurities resulting from the metabolic process. There are diseases that affect these organs, producing a high level of impurities that alter the normal functioning of neurons as they pass through the brain, producing hyperactivity and consequently convulsions.

It is always recommended that dogs with epilepsy undergo a blood test and screening to rule out the possibility of kidney or liver disease.

What Causes Epilepsy Seizures in Dogs - Step 3

Another cause of epilepsy in dogs may be alterations in blood composition which leads to changes in neuronal activity. The concentrations of electrolytes such as potassium or sodium maintain the neuron excitation threshold at stable levels. Lack of minerals such as calcium can cause nervous symptoms, e.g. during lactation.

Sometimes the problem is located in the brain itself: strokes, tumors, head injuries or infections can cause changes to the neurons.


When one fails to find the cause of seizures, these seizures are said to be idiopathic. This type of seizure normally occurs in dogs aged between 1 and 3 years old. If these convulsions begin before the dog is a year old, they are more likely to be congenital. If they suddenly appear in adulthood, they are most likely caused by a tumor or stroke.

Whatever the cause if your dog is epileptic, you should respond to the situation calmly. Call your vet so he or she can give you the adequate instructions.

What Causes Epilepsy Seizures in Dogs - Step 5

If you want to read similar articles to What Causes Epilepsy Seizures in Dogs, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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