Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a condition that exists in all kinds of dogs, whether purebred or mixed breed. It is usually hereditary in dogs and is quite prevalent in some lines. Idiopathic epilepsy in dogs is very similar to epilepsy in humans. However, with some forms of epilepsy, environmental causes must be ruled out before the condition can be declared idiopathic epilepsy. These causes include trauma to the head, poisoning, tick paralysis, parasites, certain vitamin deficiencies, overheating, intestinal obstructions, liver problems, and calcium imbalances.

There's a type of epilepsy that's known as rage syndrome, or “Springer Rage Syndrome” because of the prevalence in springer spaniels. Rage syndrome causes the dog to attack for no apparent reason and then become “normal” again without realizing he's attacked or done damage. These seizures are incurable. The dog must be put down or risk severe injury or even death.

Seizures come in two types: petit mal and grand mal. Petit mal seizures tend to look like a space-out, a nervous twitch, or clumsiness; the dog may fall over, snarl, or blank out. Grand mal seizures are full-blown seizures that cause shaking or convulsions. The dog may make strange noises or cry out and may urinate or empty his bowels.

If your rottweiler is epileptic, your vet will need to perform some tests to rule out other causes. If the seizures are frequent or become worse, usually your vet will prescribe a medication to help control the seizures. You should never breed a dog with epilepsy because of the potential hereditary component.

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