The Golden Retriever is one of the dog breeds that are prone to some health issues. For the Golden Retriever, it is seizures. Epileptic seizures can be a pretty common issue for your new friend. However, these can be controlled easily.
There could be one of any number of causes for the Golden Retriever to have seizures. Only a qualified Veterinarian will be able to determine what the exact cause is for your Golden Retriever. However, it could be a metabolic or electrolyte imbalance for your Golden. The dog may have a mass on his or her brain.
The Golden Retriever is likely to be predisposed to having seizures. As stated there could be different reasons that the dog is subjected to this suffering.
After running and performing diagnostic tests, your veterinarian will be able to determine the specificity of the seizure.
It is likely that your dog will be diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy, this means that the actual origin of the seizure is not fully known.
The veterinarian will likely prescribe an Anti-seizure medication to control the seizures in animals, namely your new friend and buddy, the Golden Retriever.
If you have never experienced seeing a person or a Golden Retriever that is having a seizure, it can be extremely scary. The first thing that you should do is to sit down by your Golden Retriever and make sure that his or her tongue is not falling back into the throat. This may simply mean that you need to pull gently on the tongue to get it away from the back of the throat.
When it appears that the seizure is over, gently keep your dog calm and relaxed for a few minutes.
He or she will likely want to jump up and get back to daily life. All you can do is try to hold him or her without forcing the issue to sit still. Next, call your trusted Veterinarian and speak with him or her. You will surely need to make an appointment. The Vet is going to need to do some diagnostic examinations and testing.
All testing is going to come out normal if your Golden Retriever does have Primary Epilepsy. If further testing is performed there could be some concern that this is not primary epilepsy happening in your Golden Retriever. If this is the case, there will be an MRI, a canine spinal fluid tap, and likely a recommendation to make an appointment with a canine Neurologist.
What does a Seizure Look Like?
A seizure can look like a number of things. A generalized seizure happens due to irregularities in the electrical activity in the brain. The seizure could involve loss of consciousness, flailing of the limbs, and loss of control in the bladder and the bowels, it could also be dilation of the pupils, strange vocalizations, drooling or vomiting.
Although generalized seizure is difficult to watch, they are the most common type of seizure. There are what are called focal or partial seizures. These would be when a small portion of the brain is affected.
The signs or symptoms of a focal or partial seizure may include, odd movements of the limbs, twitching of the eyes, ears, lips or the entire side of the body. Some dogs will do what is called Fly bites, this looks as though they are jumping to catch a bug in the air.
The focal or partial type seizures are easy to miss, or can be hard to detect.
As with any issue when it comes to your Golden Retriever, it is best to keep documented evidence of all the strange happenings, or questions and concerns that you may have. The information that will be helpful to the Veterinarian is how long the seizure lasted, what time of day it happened and what activity the dog was participating in right before the seizure happened.
Another question the Veterinarian may ask is how long it took your dog to recover from the seizure. If it is possible, having someone video the seizure while it is happening, could be very helpful to the veterinarian.
There are three stages when it comes to a seizure. The first stage is called prodromal. This includes behaviour changes in the days or hours leading up to the seizure. These behaviours could be the dog seeking more attention than he or she normally wants.
The second stage is called ‘ictus’. This is the actual seizure event. At this point, it is very important to pay attention to how long the seizure lasts.
The third stage is called the ‘post-ictal’ stage. The post ictal is the period of recovery after the seizure. This stage is confusing to the owners, most of the time. The stage could be very subtle or very obvious. There may be signs of dementia, pacing or even hyperactivity. This is understandable, the Golden Retriever is likely just as confused about what happened. Some dogs may actually experience a period of blindness for the next 24 to 48 hours after the seizure.
This is not to be considered as part of the seizure.
Your veterinarian will decide what is in the best interest of your Golden Retriever. He or she is going to look at the number of seizures the dog has had, how many in a month, and how long they lasted. If the Golden has experienced at least 2 seizures, the decision to begin medication may be made. If the dog has had two or more seizures in a 24-hour period of time, this is considered a Medical Emergency.
There are many different types of medication that can be given. Each of these has its own requirements and side effects.
Phenobarbital has the side effects of the Golden will drink plenty of water, eat as though they are staffing, urinate excessively, maybe wobbly when they walk or the medication could act as a sedation medication.
There are increased liver enzyme elevations that could lead to liver disease.
Periodic blood work is needed to monitor the phenobarbital levels and the liver enzyme levels.
Potassium Bromide has side effects that include the same as Phenobarbital, but also vomiting and pancreatitis.
The diet should not be changed due to the varying levels of sodium in the different foods.
There also needs to be periodic blood tests to check the bromide levels.
Zonisamide has effects that include liver disease, loss of appetite, dry eyes, hypothyroidism, kidney bladder stones and also kidney disease.
The drug levels are not monitored routinely.
Keppra has side effects that include very minimal if any side effects.
Keppra must be given every 8 hours.
There are other medications that your veterinarian will likely recommend.
None of these medications should be stopped instantly. If there is a need to discontinue the medication, speak with your Veterinarian to discuss ways in which to do so.
Keep in mind there may be some dogs who require more than one medication to control the seizures.
It is not possible to determine how each dog may do with the seizures. The dogs that have cluster seizures, more than one in a 24-hour period, tend to be harder to control. Medicines and frequent Veterinarian visits also make it difficult to control the dog.
Some may find it difficult to live with the side effects of the medications.
Dog’s Age At First Seizure
Sometimes it is easier to help determine what the root cause of the seizures is when we look at the dog’s age when the seizures began. For instance, if the dog was still a pup, under a year old the following could be a possible cause of the seizures.
- Inflammatory Diseases
- Autoimmune Thyroiditis
- Trauma from an injury or an accident
- Bacterial or parasitic infection
Between 1 and 5 years
- Drug and Vaccine Sensitivity
- Poisoning or Toxic Exposure
- Electrolyte Disorder
- Thyroid disorder
- Trauma from an injury or accident
Between 5 years and Up
- Brain Tumor
- High Blood Pressure
- Toxic Exposure or Poisoning
- Vascular Conditions
- Immune-mediated infections
- Trauma from an injury or accident
Some seizures can also be caused by liver disease, kidney disease, stroke or anaemia.
If your Golden Retriever does develop a disorder where seizures are a part of his or her life, we realize that this is going to be more work on your part as the owner. It must be remembered that seizures can happen to any animal, any person and each would need some assistance to help maintain their health.
The Golden Retriever is part of the family and has always been treated as such, I am sure. During this time of medical issues, it should be no different.
Sit down and have a serious discussion with your Veterinarian. He can help ease the fears you will likely experience. He can also explain how the medications work and can benefit your Golden baby.
Seizures are not the end of the world for humans and they do not need to be for a Golden Retriever either.