Types of Canine Seizures


Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince, a veterinarian with Elmhurst Animal Care Center and other area practices, maintains a particular professional interest in animal neurology. As a board-certified practitioner, Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince concentrates his practice on this and other disorders of small animals.

Seizures in dogs can take a number of forms. Perhaps the best known is the generalized or tonic-clonic seizure, a condition in which the dog falls to the ground and displays convulsions, rigidity of the limbs, and breathing disturbances. Limb rigidity is more pronounced in a grand mal tonic-clonic seizure, which also features loss of consciousness and a paddling of the limbs during the event’s clonic phase. In a more mild seizure, the dog may remain conscious throughout the episode.

The generalized seizure is a result of abnormal electrical function throughout the brain. If the abnormal activity is localized to one part of the brain, the resultant partial seizure causes abnormal involuntary movements on one side or in one part of the body. The related, though differently presenting, complex partial seizure, also known as a psychomotor seizure, manifests with behavioral rather than purely physical disturbances. As a result of abnormal and disturbing sensory input, the dog may act out aggressively, appear fearful, or experience digestive distress, though other behavioral symptoms are also possible.

Most seizures last only seconds to minutes, though some dogs can suffer from an extended seizure known as a status epilepticus. These seizures last 30 minutes or more with no return to consciousness. These may appear similar to cluster seizures, which occur in sequence with very few periods of consciousness in the interim. Both are serious medical emergencies and require immediate care, though all canine seizures signal the need for medical attention.

Five Things to Consider When Selecting a Veterinarian

Joel Todd Leroy Prince pic
Joel Todd Leroy Prince

A partner at Elmhurst Animal Care Center in Illinois, Joel Todd Leroy Prince, DVM, provides veterinary care for small companion animals with a focus on neurological disorders, oncology treatments, and orthopedic and soft tissue surgical procedures. Dr. Joel Todd Leroy Prince’s clinic reminds pet owners to take careful consideration when selecting a veterinarian. Pet owners may wish to consider the following points when deciding on a doctor for their animals.

1. Certification and testimonials. Check veterinarian credentials, such as accreditation with the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), and reputation with clients. Accreditation with the AAHA ensures the clinic meets critical care, equipment, and facility standards, and positive testimonials help determine the veterinarian’s rapport with current and past clients.

2. Available services. Find out what services the veterinarian’s clinic provides and which procedures are performed in-house. You can save yourself time and money by finding a clinic that performs x-rays, bloodwork, ultrasounds, EKGs, and other diagnostic procedures on site.

3. Office amenities and organization. Visit the veterinarian’s office and ask for a tour of the facilities to check for updated equipment and office cleanliness. The level of care that staff show for the office’s appearance and its equipment can reflect their quality of service, so you may want to avoid clinics with outdated equipment and dirty examine rooms.

4. Bedside manner. Make arrangements to visit the veterinarian’s office and observe how the individual and their staff interact with their animal patients. Good veterinarians show genuine interest in their patients and treat them with care and respect. Warning signs include staff that handle patients roughly or show disinterest in their stress levels.

5. Communication. Consider the veterinarian and their staff’s level of communication, including how well they explain procedures and the reasons behind their treatment recommendations. Select a veterinarian who communicates well, provides reliable information, and listens to your questions and concerns.