Depending on the type of epileptic seizure a dog experiences, there may be different symptoms, including convulsions, involuntary spasms, defecating or urination during the seizure, drooling, falling down losing consciousness, vision problems and a period of disorientation, states WebMD. Epilepsy is defined as a neurological disorder in which there are recurrent seizures caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
A seizure is also called ictus in medical terminology. In many cases, there are different stages of a seizure that can cause different symptoms in a dog. Prior to the seizure, a dog can have limb contractions, seem anxious or nervous and have vision problems. This stage, which is referred to as the pre-ictal stage, can be present a few seconds or hours prior to the actual seizure. During the seizure or the ictal stage, the dog can shake violently, have twitching muscles, fall down, make paddling movements and possibly lose consciousness. The seizure can last a few seconds or minutes. After the seizure subsides, the dog may manifest symptoms, such as being disoriented or blind temporarily, notes VCA Animal Hospitals. This is called the post-ictal stage.
The different types of seizures include generalized and focal seizures. In a generalized or grand mal seizure, abnormal electrical activity may involve the entire brain. In a focal seizure or petit mal, only a portion of the brain is affected by the abnormality, states WebMD. A grand mal seizure can cause more severe symptoms (convulsions or unconsciousness) than a petit mal seizure in dogs. Similarly, a grand mal seizure also may last up to a few minutes in some cases while a petit mal can last only a few seconds.