There may be a variety of reasons for a canine (dog) being affected by seizures. Very minor canine seizure issues could be involved if you notice the dog 'shaking' very strangely at random times - expecially during sleep. Dogs have nightmares too, which can create stress (one of the onset factors for seizures). Also, proving that an actual case of epilepsy is the root of your dog's problems may never be possible; but, that may not be important. The more important question is - how to help a canine in the realm of reducing the frequency or the severity of seizure episodes. Though finding an exact root cause may be unlikely, within the Tabs of this article, you can gain a strong understanding about possible or probable causes, as well as highly suspect contributors to the seizure problems, as there may be multiple contributing factors.
This discussion will focus mainly on two important factors that have been found to be highly involved in seizure incident onset - Stress, and Toxin levels of the body; then, we will touch on many other factors and considerations (below). It is our position that reducing either or both, toxin buildup and stress, will likely decrease incidence or severity of seizure activity. And, in the 'highly suspect' arena, there is much to indicate that typical lower-quality big-name-brand pet foods can be contributors to the growing numbers of pet seizure cases in recent years; you can gain understanding about this here - What's Really in Pet Foods?. These factors contribute to why it is recommended that you feed your dogs quality pet foods along with all-natural pet supplements.
WHAT CAUSES SEIZURES?
As eluded to above, this question has no single answer, since the causes may be many and varied. What is known, is that every pet has a "threshold", beyond which seizures can occur. The actual malfunction is about the 'uncoordinated firing of neurons' within the cerebrum portion of the brain. Though it is not known why the 'neurons' fire in erratic patterns (causing erratic bodily function), it is surmised that certain substances, known as neurotransmitters, are not within proper chemical balance. This adds much credibility to the argument related to 'chemicals' that enter the body (especially from poorer quality foods) and possibly build up over time.
We've mentioned TOXINS as a well-known and obvious contributor to building the 'threshold' level. But many other factors must be considered - such as Genetic weaknesses. There may be cases where an unidentified tumor is involved, or in other cases seizure activity can be directly related to Diabetes or Thyroid trouble (more on that below). From our experience, we believe that the vast majority of seizure activity experienced by pets stems from an accumulation of a variety of different factors within the body. Logically, when these factors accumulate beyond the particular pet's limitations of the threshold, an episode is likely to be triggered.
FACTORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
As stated, your pet's problems may involve the accumulation of many factors - leading up to a critical point. You may be familiar with an old saying, "The straw that broke the Camel's back"; well, these words provide a good clue as to how all this works. Different factors keep pushing at that delicate threshold until finally that 'critical point' is reached and an episode is then triggered (neurons firing out of control), leaving you feeling helpless and worried. So, let's examine some likely factors that can push at the critical threshold:
Toxin Buildup in the Body: As already indicated, toxin accumulation is a really important factor; and, more are being added to the body constantly. They come from a vast array of sources, such as chemicals in foods, medications, chlorine in tap water, as well as each of the subsequent items in this list. -Flea Treatments: Flea medications, applied topically and absorbed via the skin, are toxic (how they kill the fleas). These toxins can accumulate in the system, contributing to neurological troubles.
Heartworm Medication: If you have a Collie breed or herding dog, please check this info (MDR-1 Gene). Heartworm is a terrible condition, and can be life threatening. Medicating the dog is simple and effective, but carries risks.
Anesthesia: Pets who have been 'put under' for various procedures, like teeth cleaning, often have after-effects as a result of the Anesthetic. -Ingredients in Poor Quality Pet Foods or Treats: This is likely a big factor, so we have devoted an entire TAB to this subject; please visit that tab when you feel like learn about the 'food factor'. -Various Stress Situations: Many situations can affect your pet and push that threshold. The next paragraph delves deeper into this subject.
Genetic or Hereditary: Yes, it may be in the 'genes' that a pet will be predisposed in this manner. Or, there is the probability of hereditary factors, as some breeds seem to show higher incidence of problems - like Dachshund or German Shepherd. -Other Possible Causes or Contributors: A blow to the head, or mild concussion; Heartworm disease, at a late stage; toxic plants in the yard or home; accessible chemicals, poisons, or fertilizers (decorative BARK has recently been found to contain chemicals or colorings that could be dangerous).
MANAGING STRESS FACTORS
For instance, if the mailman showing up gets the dog all excited - jumping, barking, etc.- this is one form of stress. Such excitement can lead to chemical imbalances in the body that would help promote an episode. Any situation that may arise which creates a level of excitement, anger, or protective reaction in dogs, can create enough stress to trigger an episode. So, learning how to control and manage your pet's responses at times like this could help prevent the incident. For training we recommend studying videos of the Dog Whisperer - Cesar Millan - to become the alpha leader in your home. It should be noted that, even while sleeping, dogs (especially) may be prone to seizures. This is because they are prone, just like humans, to scary or frightening dreams; and, these kinds of dreams can present a serious form of stress.
ABERRANT BEHAVIOUR AND THYROID DYSFUNCTION
As one final item of interest, on the present subject, here is some information on how the thyroid can be involved in these issues. Dr. Jean Dodds, the leading authority on 'Hypothyroidism in dogs' in the US writes, "An association has recently been established between aberrant behavior and thyroid dysfunction in the dog, and has been noticed in cats with hyperthyroidism. Typical clinical signs include unprovoked aggression towards other animals and/or people, sudden onset of seizure disorder in adulthood, disorientation, moodiness, erratic temperament, periods of hyperactivity, hypo attentiveness, depression, fearfulness and phobias, anxiety, submissiveness, passivity, compulsiveness, and irritability. After episodes, most of the animals appeared to come out of a trance like state, and were unaware of their bizarre behavior."
WHAT ARE THE ANSWERS?
Mostly, it's about changing the way things have been, and paying attention to what's going on in the pet's life - such as from the list above (does the animal chew at plants?). The most obvious area where you can make a solid difference, from our vast experience, is to address the issue of TOXIN buildup, while also blessing your pet with a proper premium quality pet food - to provide better nutrition and get away from negative chemical additives that can add up in the body. Addressing the Toxin problem is as simple as adding the powerful antioxidant capability of all-natural Antioxidant Treats or Sprouted Granules to the diet.