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Understanding seizures

Although no two dogs are the same, seizures often have three phases. During these phases you may notice some, or all of the following changes in your dog.


Phase One: Before a seizure

  • Unsettled movements: pacing or licking of the lips
  • Excessive bodily functions: salivating or urinating
  • Heightened anxiety levels: whining, barking or hiding

Phase Two: During a seizure

  • Muscle stiffening: Your dog may fall to the floor on one side, with their head back
  • Leg movements: stretched out with rigid, jerking or paddling movements
  • Breathing: can become faster and heavier
  • Vocalisation
  • Excessive bodily functions: passing urine or faeces

Phase Three: After a seizure

  • Immediately afterwards: dogs may lie motionless on the floor for a while before attempting to stand
  • In the following minutes to days: disorientation and staggered walking; temporary loss of sight; excessive hunger and thirst; uncontrolled bowel and/or bladder activity

Every dog and every seizure is different – so you might not be able
to distinguish all three phases, every time, in your dog.

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This site is provided as an information service for veterinary professionals and the owners of dogs with epilepsy. Any questions about your dog should be directed to your veterinary practice.

The information contained in this website are intended to be used for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be general or specific medical advice. Please seek professional medical advice in respect to your particular situation prior to any use.