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An overwhelming doggie introduction

by Therese on October 13, 2009

in Dogs, Pet First Aid, Pet Health


Over the weekend my boyfriend Jim and I tried to introduce our dogs to each other. He has an adorable husky mix named Mason, who’s actually a six year old puppy! He’s a very sweet dog who wants to play, play, play all the time!

The meeting didn’t go very well . . . but not because of fights. Mason got a bit overwhelmed by the excitement and had a seizure. He walked in the front door wagging his tail, saying hello, and just being a happy dog ready for some fun. As soon as he spotted Archie he was ready to play, but a couple seconds later he fell on the floor and started seizing.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve encountered a dog having a seizure, but thankfully Jim and I both are familiar with them and knew what to do. Not much.

As soon as Mason started seizing, I hurried Archie and Lydia outside and tried to get them far enough away from the door so they wouldn’t scratch at it and make a lot of noise. They still made noise but at least it wasn’t right by the door. When I came back in, Mason was in a full-blown seizure and all we could do was wait it out.

If you’ve never seen an animal or a person go through a seizure it can be pretty scary – and even if you have they can be scary! They can be as mild as just ‘spacing out’ or be more involved with muscle tightening, thrashing, drooling, loss of bodily functions, and other signs. Watching a person or a dog in the midst of a seizure can be pretty frustrating, and make you feel totally helpless because there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do.

Seizures are one of the topics I talk about in my pet first aid classes. They can be caused by a number of things. Epilepsy is usually the first that comes to mind, but they can also be caused by other illnesses, injuries, brain tumors, poisoning, or other medical conditions.

If your pet has a seizure here are a few things you should know:

  • Stay calm! And try to make the area as calm and quiet as possible. (turn off loud music or bright lights, hush barking dogs if possible, etc.)
  • Don’t try to restrain your pet. He likely will be thrashing about and trying to stop him from doing so may cause more harm.
  • Do not put anything in your pet’s mouth. It’s a myth that your pet will swallow his tongue, so keep your hands out of his mouth or you may be bit.
  • Keep other pets away.
  • Stay with your pet until the seizure is over and then observe him afterward.
  • If this is your pet’s first seizure, or if it’s different than his ‘normal’ seizures, call your vet.

It always seems like they last forever, but I’m guessing Mason’s seizure only lasted a couple minutes. He was disoriented for a while afterward, and then it took some time for him to completely come out of it. Once he perked up a bit Jim took him home and we kept an eye on him for the rest of the evening.

Mason’s seizures are related to a thyroid disorder. Jim and his vet haven’t put him on seizure medication (yet) because the seizures have been pretty few and far between.

Fortunately the seizure Mason had was usual for him – as far as seizures go. He’s doing fine now, but we’re going to take a different approach with the introductions and hope things go better next time. I know he and Archie especially will love romping with each other once they get together.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

C.L.H. October 13, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Good information. My dog had a seizure three weeks ago. She’s eight, and I’d never seen her have on before. I took her to the vet and he did blood work. We ruled out poisoning and the blood work turned up nothing, so now it’s a wait and see. She’s had one more since then, that I know of. They’re fairly mild , so we won’t medicate unless they happen a lot. You’re right. You feel very helpless while it’s happening. One of the things I discovered while reading about canine seizures was that some dogs are actually blinded for awhile after a seizure. That contributes to the disorientation and is another reason why you should stay with them until you’re positive they are okay.


PL Sampson October 13, 2009 at 7:48 pm

This is a very good article. The first time I witnessed a seizure with a Begal I had I was totally at loss. You are very correct the first time you feel totally lost. Good article, I enjoyed the read.


Hannie October 14, 2009 at 7:48 am

A friend of mine had two Lab mixes from the same litter & both had seizures. How fun, huh?

I don’t know if this is true in every case but she kept a small bottle of Karo syrup in the house & once the dog was out of the seizure, she would put some of the Karo in his/her mouth. The vet told her to do that.

I’ve never seen this & not sure I want to………sounds awful.


Vicki Holt October 14, 2009 at 11:18 am

Therese, good article. There’s one other thing I suggest in my pet first aid class for a seizure, and that is to move any sharp objects or furniture away from the animal while it is seizing so that it isn’t injured while thrashing about.


Therese October 14, 2009 at 11:40 am

Good point, Vicki! Thanks for adding to the info.


Bob October 16, 2009 at 2:40 am

Is it a thyroid disorder or epilepsy? My poor old dog used to have seizures on a regular basis – maybe one a month. The advice you provided above on dealing with a seizure is correct. This are medicines available to deal with
epilepsy for dogs too.

Terrifying for the dog and the owner.


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