Are there different types of seizures in dogs? Yes—and if you believe your dog is having a seizure, it's important to note all the details so that you may accurately describe them to your veterinarian. Generalized Seizure: This type of seizure can be grand mal or mild. The grand mal seizure is also known as a tonic-clonic seizure because typically has two phases; tonic and clonic. In the tonic phase, which typically lasts 10-30 seconds, dog falls, loses consciousness and extends his limbs rigidly. Respiration also stops (apnea). It is followed by the clonic phase, in which the dog may paddling his legs and/or appear to be chewing. Other signs that appear during the tonic or clonic phase are dilation of the pupils, salivation, urination and defecation. The mild seizure involves little or no paddling or extension of limbs, and usually no loss of consciousness. Generalized seizures are usually associated with primary epilepsy. Partial Seizures: Movements are restricted to one area of the body, such as muscle jerking, movement of one limb, turning the head or bending the trunk to one side, or facial twitches. A partial seizure can progress to—and be mistaken for—a generalized grand mal seizure, but if the seizure starts with one specific area of the body, it's a partial seizure. Partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy. Complex Partial Seizures (Psychomotor or Behavioral): These seizures are associated with bizarre or complex behaviors that are repeated during each seizure. People with complex partial seizures experience distortions of thought, perception or emotion (usually fear), sometimes with unusual sensations of sound, smell, hallucinations or taste. If dogs experience the same things, it may explain the lip-smacking, chewing, fly biting, aggression, vocalization, hysterical running, cowering or hiding in otherwise normal animals. Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distress, salivation, blindness, unusual thirst or appetite and flank biting are other signs. There is an obvious lack of awareness, though usually not a lack of consciousness. Abnormal behaviors may last minutes or hours and can be followed by a generalized seizure. Complex partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy. Cluster Seizures: These are multiple seizures within a short period of time with only brief periods of consciousness in between. There may be as few as two seizures in a 30-minute period. The time between seizures may be as brief as 5 to 10 seconds or as long as 4 to 6 hours. They may be confused with status epilepticus. Status Epilepticus: Status can occur as one continuous seizure lasting 30 minutes or more, or a series of multiple seizures in a short time with no periods of normal consciousness. It can be difficult to distinguish status epilepticus from frequent cluster seizures, but both are life-threatening emergencies. Most status patients usually suffer from generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Though status epilepticus can occur with either primary or secondary epilepsy, it may also suddenly arise in dogs with no previous history of seizures, especially in cases of traumatic brain injury, toxins or disease. Petit Mal Seizure (Absence Seizure): This type of seizure is rare in dogs; the term “petit mal” should not be used to describe a partial or mild generalized seizure in dogs. A dog having a petit mal seizure may tremble, arch his back or shake his head, have difficulty standing, and/or drool.Top of Form

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