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Seizures In Golden Retrievers: Causes, Symptoms, & Solutions

Seizures In Golden Retrievers: Causes, Symptoms, & Solutions
Seizures In Golden Retrievers

A seizure is an abnormal surge of electrical activity inside your dog’s brain caused by an over or under firing of nerve-signal cells within the brain. Seizures in Golden Retrievers are very common. In fact, Goldens are among the breeds that are genetically predisposed to develop a seizure. Seizures can last from a couple of seconds to several minutes.

If your dog has them often, it might be a case of a seizure disorder, also known as epilepsy. 

Watching your dog having a seizure for the first time is a frightening experience as you don’t know what is happening or what to do to help your furry friend. 

In this article, we will demystify seizures and discover how to help your Golden. Also, you will learn how to help your veterinarian to develop an appropriate plan for treatment.

What Causes Seizures In Golden Retrievers?

Many factors can cause seizures in Golden Retrievers. The dog’s age when the seizures started can reveal us possible cause:

Under 1 year of age

Between 1-5 years of age

  • Drug and vaccine sensitivity
  • Poisoning and toxic exposure
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Electrolyte disorder
  • Trauma (as a result of an accident or an injury)

Five years of age or older

  • Brain tumor
  • High blood pressure
  • Poisoning and toxic exposure
  • Vascular conditions
  • Trauma as a result of an accident or an injury)
  • Immune-mediated infections

Seizures can also be caused by: 

  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Anemia
  • Strokes

Symptoms Of Seizures

A seizure in Golden Retrievers has two or three distinctive phases:

Prodrome

This phase that precedes seizure can last for a couple of hours, even days. During this period change in animal behavior occurs, but owners rarely identify it.

Ictus

Actual seizure activity.

Postictal phase

A post-seizure phase where the brain recovers and restores its normal function.

Symptoms of seizure in Golden Retrievers include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Collapsing
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Drooling
  • Muscle twitching
  • Stiffening
  • A dog may pee or poop during the seizure
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Temporary blindness

Types Of Seizures In Golden Retrievers

Grand mal seizure

This is the most common type of seizure. A dog will lose consciousness and convulse, this type of seizure lasts from a few seconds to about a couple of minutes.

Focal seizure

In case of a focal seizure, only one part of the brain is affected resulting in unusual twitching or movement in one limb or one side of the body.

A psychomotor seizure

When your dog is having this type of seizure you will notice strange behavior that will last for a couple of minutes. Your dog may start chasing his tail or attacking an imaginary person or object.

Idiopathic epilepsy

Seizures in which we can’t determine the exact cause are called idiopathic epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is very common in Golden Retrievers.

What To Do When Your Golden Has A Seizure?

The first thing you need to do is to stay calm! Now, start to move the objects from the dog that might hurt him. Dogs can’t choke on their tongues, so don’t try to put anything in their mouth or touch them as they may unintentionally bite you.

Instead, talk to your Golden, let them hear your voice as this will help them immensely.

Take your phone or camera and record seizure as this may help your veterinarian in determining the exact cause.

Remember, if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes or there are several seizures in a row, take your dog to the vet immediately. During the seizure dog’s temperature raises and if the seizure lasts too long there is a risk of overheating and brain damage.

Final Words

Looking at your Goldens while they are affected by seizures is one of the most horrifying experiences for any owner. You are basically helpless and there is little you can do to ease their suffering. As with most conditions, seizures in Golden Retrievers can be resolved by treatment of an underlying cause. We can also treat Idiopathic seizures with medication and diet change.