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Dogs suffer seizures when an area of their brain called the cerebral cortex starts functioning abnormally. The cause of the abnormality may be a problem in the dog's brain or medical issues affecting another part of the dog's anatomy.

Seizures are always serious, even if they last only a few seconds. A seizing dog should always be taken to the veterinarian immediately for evaluation and treatment. Dog owners should also know that signs of seizures in dogs may not be readily recognizable. Some seizures do not involve body spasms and rigidity.

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1. How Do Owners Know Their Dog is Having a Seizure?

Dogs experience four types of seizures, each with different symptoms:

Grand Mal

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Falling over to one side
  • Paddling/limb jerking/chewing motions of the jaw
  • Incontinence/drooling
  • Focal (Partial) Seizure

    • Tic-like facial movements
    • Limb jerking
    • Possible loss of consciousness
    • Complex Partial Seizure

      • Staring into space
      • Standing/sitting still
      • Fly biting/hallucinatory behaviors
      • Aggression
      • Complex partial seizures are the most difficult to recognize because they do not involve limb jerking and loss of consciousness. Owners may attribute symptoms of a complex partial seizure to behavioral oddities rather than neurological problems.

        Linda Raymond / Getty Images
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