When your dog has a seizure, it can be very scary. While your dog definitely needs to be seen by a vet, expert advice will help you know how to enable your pooch to recover more quickly.
Difficulty Recovering From a Seizure Scenarios
Sometimes it is the first seizure and sometimes it is an already diagnosed condition. Recovery times vary, but most dogs will begin to behave more normally within an hour after the seizure. However, when the dog doesn't recover quickly, there can be a variety of reasons and treatments. In our article on Canine Seizures we discuss some of the potential causes for seizures.
An older dog may well have a harder time recovering after each seizure. They may have muscle soreness or exhaustion afterwards. You can ask your veterinarian about whether your dog needs any type of anti-inflammatory or pain medication to help in recovery. Some of these drugs can interact with seizure medications though, so even if you have some on hand, check with your vet first.
You can encourage your dog to eat small, frequent meals if her appetite is poor. Tempt her with some boiled or roasted chicken, baby food, or cold cuts. Even if she only takes a handful at a time, it will help. Be sure to follow up with your vet to let him know that your dog is having more difficulty recovering after this last episode.
When a dog has multiple seizures in a row, those are called cluster seizures. Cluster seizures can be life-threatening and should prompt an immediate recheck with your vet. If these are partial seizures that don't involve the whole body, this may not be as serious. It can be helpful to your vet to make a video of your dog's episodes. Even partial seizures can cause the body to overheat or lead to other complications, so if you see very frequent seizure activity, contact your vet.
Repeat seizures interrupt the recovery, and your dog's difficulty can last for longer periods. If your dog does not continue to improve in terms of her attitude, or she has more than two seizures in a 24-hour period, call your veterinarian right away.
Ravenous Appetite After a Seizure
A seizure gives your dog's muscles a workout that is equivalent to running a marathon, so an affected dog may wake up ravenously hungry and dehydrated. Don't offer any food or water immediately if your dog is still wobbly or seems confused. Your dog may not be able to swallow properly at this point and is at risk of choking. Once your pet is able to walk fairly well you can start to offer small amounts of water and food. Limit her to small sips of water, ice chips, or small meatballs of food. Some dogs will likely gorge themselves and may throw up if they go too fast.
Jaw Chattering or Trembling
Not all seizures become full blown body events. Depending on where the electrical misfire takes place in the brain, a single body part or two might only be involved. Trembling might also be related to an undiagnosed neuromuscular problem, or it truly could be a case of muscle exhaustion. The trembling might even be due to a fever if your dog's temperature is currently higher than 101 degrees F. You could also see jaw trembling if your dog has pain in his mouth. The cause of this may not be obvious and you may need to take him to your veterinarian for a thorough dental evaluation.
Since the possible causes behind the jaw trembling range from benign to serious, jaw chattering or trembling is worth bringing to your vet's attention. This way you can find out exactly what is going on and whether treatment is required.
A dog with seizures for the first time should go straight to the vet. If they are diagnosed with canine epilepsy, they will be given medication. Some will continue to have mini seizures, so keep your vet informed so they can adjust the medication as needed.
It is important your vet does blood work on your dog to rule out other causes. There isn't any test available to confirm epilepsy, so it's important to check for some other conditions that can mimic it. Please don't hesitate to ask your vet more questions about canine epilepsy during your next visit. You'll need to arm yourself with all the knowledge you can so you can best help your dog.