"Dog Breeds Prone to Seizures

"Dog Breeds Prone to Seizures

Health & Safety

Sharing a home with a dog can be incredibly rewarding and once you have had a canine companion in your life, it's hard to imagine a world without them. For anyone who is thinking about getting a dog, but are unsure of how to go about it, the first and most important thing to do is to discuss things with the whole family before you do anything else. The next step is to do as much research on the breeds that might best suit your lifestyle. Once you've made a decision, you need to find out everything about the breed and this includes the sort of health issues that affects them so you recognise any symptoms sooner rather than later which includes when a dog might be experiencing some sort of seizure.

Breeds Prone to Seizures

Over the years, studies have shown that some breeds are more at risk of suffering from seizures than others. The seizures are often associated with some kind of neurological disorder and the result can be quite frightening because a dog can suddenly have an uncontrolled fit for no apparent reason. Knowing that your dog may be prone to a condition like epilepsy means that when it happens it is not as scary although it's still a very worrying time.

Breeds Most at Risk

The breeds most at risk of suffering from a condition known as Idiopathic Epilepsy which can result in them experiencing seizures are as follows:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Beagles
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Vizslas
  • Keeshonds
  • Belgian Tervurens
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • English Springer Spaniels
  • Finnish Spitz's

The condition is referred to as a familial disorder which in short means that it affects certain lines in a breed and any dog used in a breeding programme should be tested beforehand. Dogs typically start to have seizures when they are anything from 10 months to 3 years old, although there have been reports of certain dogs suffering from the genetic form of epilepsy as early as 6 months old whereas the in others it can occur much later when they are around 5 years old.

The Signs Your Dog May be Starting a Seizure

Sometimes there are clear signs that a dog might be going to have a seizure with one of the most obvious things to watch out for being referred to as a dog having “a focal or aura onset”. When dogs experience this, they seem stressed, frightened and disoriented. Some dogs will actively seek out their owners, whereas others might just want to hide. A dog often loses control of their bowels and bladder at the onset of a seizure and their muscles twitch uncontrollably.

The most common time for a dog to experience a seizure is when they are relaxed, resting or even asleep which more often than not is first thing in the morning or late at night. The good news is that most dogs recover quickly and are usually fine when they are examined by the vet.

However, as the seizure begins, dogs typically fall on their sides and go stiff. They chomp on their jaws while salivating profusely. They paddle all four limbs and often wee and poo themselves. A seizure may last as little as thirty seconds or it can go on for a minute or so. Once the seizure is over, dogs are naturally confused and disoriented which sees them wandering around and pacing. Most dogs are very thirsty after a seizure and their appetites increase too. It takes around 24 hours for a dog to fully recover although some may be okay straight away.


One thing worth noting is the younger a dog happens to be when they have a seizure, the worse the fit tends to be. The good news is that most dogs respond well to medication when they suffer from seizures or epilepsy. The bad news is that the more seizures a dog has, the more damage is usually done to their brains and this in turn means a dog is likely to experience more seizures further down the line.

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