What are the different types of seizures?

  • Focal or Absence Seizure – this can be as simple as momentarily staring into space or a brief upward eye movement with no loss of consciousness.
  • Petit Mal or Partial Seizure – movements is 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. Dog is usually alert and aware of his surroundings.
  • Complex Partial Seizure – during this type of seizure, a dog’s consciousness is altered and he may exhibit bizarre behavior associated with bizarre such as 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. Abnormal behaviors may last minutes or hours and can be followed by a generalized seizure.
  • Grand Mal, Generalized, or Tonic Clonic Seizure – this type of seizure begins with contraction of all skeletal muscles and loss of consciousness. The dog usually falls to his side with the legs stretched out and the head back. Respiration may also stop (apnea). This is the tonic portion of the seizure, and it is usually very short in duration and quickly gives way to the clonic phase of the seizure. The clonic phase of the seizure is characterized by paddling of limbs, dilation of pupils, salivation, vocalization, chewing, loss of control of bladder and bowels. This phase may occur for 1-3 minutes and is most often followed by a period of restlessness, pacing, bumping into objects and loss of balance. (Post Ictal period) The dog is conscious but may appear deaf, blind and disoriented.
  • Status Epilepticus – status can occur as one continuous seizure lasting 10 minutes or more, or a series of multiple seizures in a short time with no period of normal consciousness.
  • Cluster Seizure – more than 1 seizure in a 24-hr period, sometimes with only brief periods of consciousness in between. It can be difficult to tell status epilepticus from frequent cluster seizures; but both are considered life-threatening emergencies.

Posted in: I’m concerned about Primary (hereditary) Epilepsy