Seizures in dogs can have many different causes. Diagnosing seizures in a dog isn’t always straightforward.
Veterinarians use the term epilepsy to describe any illness that causes recurrent seizures. That is, however, different from inheritable idiopathic epilepsy which is a seizure disorder with an unknown cause. Above all, assuming the cause cannot be known is that an identifiable problem might get missed.
Cletus was a 2-year-old Bloodhound mix. His dad adopted Cletus as a puppy. For the first 8 months of his life, Cletus was a normal, happy, lovely puppy.
The first seizure
When he was approaching a year of age, Cletus had his first grand mal seizure.
In the middle of the night, Cletus’ dad woke up to the banging sounds. Cletus was seizing and knocking against a china cabinet. His dad rushed Cletus to an emergency clinic where they diagnosed Cletus with epilepsy.
Wasn’t Cletus a bit too young? The age of onset of idiopathic epilepsy is usually 3 to 5 years of age. And could that be a correct diagnosis after a single seizure?
As time went on, Cletus’ seizures increased in frequency and severity. Eventually, cluster seizures followed.
Back at the emergency veterinarian, Cletus’dad insisted on an MRI scan. Instead, the veterinarian decided to keep Cletus overnight for observation. Their theory was a combination of epilepsy and ear infection.
It is true that Cletus did start tilting his head to one side and walk drunkenly. However, through the night he also started to have other serious proprioception deficits. This, finally, landed Cletus in the neurology department for an MRI scan.
What do you think was wrong with Cletus? Do you feel he did have epilepsy or a different problem? What would you do if Cletus was your dog?
Find out what the diagnosis was. Read Cletus’ story here.
Really Angry Vet: Winston’s First Seizure
Diagnosing Seizures in Dogs