We often think of back problems when talking about dachshund health problems but what about seizures? Are dachshunds prone to seizures, why, and what to do? Here are all the main points you’ll need to know if you’re getting a dachshund or if your Doxie has suddenly started experiencing seizures.
Are Dachshunds Prone To Seizures?
In a word – yes. Dachshunds are one of the dog breeds you can realistically expect seizures from. This isn’t to say that they are highly likely to have seizures, of course – the vast majority of dachshund dogs go through their whole lives without experiencing a seizure once. And many of the dogs that do, have seizures only once or twice and go on to live their life just fine. We don’t really have adequate data on how likely seizures are as few cases (proportionally to the whole Doxie population) ever get recorded.
With that in mind, the risk of seizures in Doxies is not insignificant but it’s also not all that significant. In other words, this isn’t something that should dissuade you from adopting or buying such a dog. Other health concerns such as back, neck, or leg problems are worth more consideration as they are both more likely and require more active prevention.
What Exactly Are Seizures Exactly and What Are Their Symptoms
Seizures are most easily explained as “a bug in the brain”. Similar to a computer bug, seizures can be caused by a lot of problems but your dog’s “system” will likely get rid of the bug on its own after a few seconds or a couple of minutes. Of course, there are some causes of seizures that are more serious which is why you’d want to talk with your vet even if your dog recovers.
Before we go into the possible causes, however, let’s first examine the exact symptoms of seizures. Not all of the following 10 symptoms are always present but the first few usually are:
- Frothing at the mouth
- Loss of consciousness
- Temporary blindness
- Temporary deafness
These are the main things you’d expect to see during a dog seizure. However, the seizure itself doesn’t start when the dog starts shivering – there are actually 4 distinct stages with two of them coming before the seizure itself:
- Prodrome stage – includes a bit of strange behavior, nervousness, potential refusal to eat, drink, or play. The dog may seem sad or depressed. Unfortunately, all these behaviors can be symptoms of almost anything else so it’d be difficult to distinguish the incoming seizure at this step.
- Aura stage – whining, licking, nervous pacing, and potentially drooling are the much more significant indicators you can expect to see during the Aura stage. Barking is possible as is either a bit of aggression or a plea for comforting. These symptoms are much easier to identify, especially if you’ve seen your dog having a seizure before.
- Ictus stage – this is the actual seizure. It’s expressed with the symptoms we outlined above. This phase can last anywhere between a few seconds up to several minutes. Generally speaking, everything above 5 minutes is considered life-threatening while shorter seizures tend to be inconsequential. Still, you’d do well to call your vet regardless of the duration – even during the seizure itself if it’s going on for more than half a minute or so.
- Ictal stage – the recovery part of the whole ordeal. During this stage, your dog will slowly wake up and stand up. Some dogs will look for your attention while others will prefer to be alone. In either case, just let your dog do whatever would give it the most comfort while you phone the vet.
Are Dachshunds Prone To Seizures More Than Other Breeds?
Dachshunds are considered more at risk of seizures than most other breeds but as much as some other breeds. It’s not 100% clear why some dogs are at a higher risk than others. Some speculate that the dwarfism that’s at the core of the dachshund breed is to blame but others point out that corgis (also a breed selected from dogs with dwarfism) isn’t as likely to experience seizures.
So, are dachshunds prone to seizures more so than other dogs? Yes, but they are still not at the top of the chart. Some breeds that are at an even higher risk include:
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Belgian Tervuren
- Shetland Sheepdog
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Irish Wolfhound
- English Springer Spaniel
- Finnish Spitz
Standard vs Mini – Are Dachshunds Prone To Seizures Depending On Their Type?
There doesn’t seem to be a statistically significant difference in how prone to seizures a dachshund is based on sub-breed categories such as standard vs mini dachshund.
Are dachshunds prone to seizures depending on their coat and color? That’s a no too. Even dachshund sub-types such as the Double Dapple that have extra health issues, don’t seem to be more likely to experience seizures.
How Dangerous Are Seizures For Dachshunds?
Most seizures in dachshunds end up being relatively harmless – just a temporary inconvenience that passes without any serious consequences. Some are symptoms of rather problematic underlying causes, however. Seizures usually become dangerous when they:
- Last more than 5 minutes
- Happen more than once a day
- Start happening in multiple consecutive days
So, while you don’t necessarily need to lose your mind the moment you see your Doxie convulsing on the floor, it is smart to talk with your vet as soon as possible just to be safe.
What Causes Seizures In Dachshunds?
Seizures can be divided into two groups depending on their causes – Reactive and Secondary seizures. The latter group is almost always dangerous simply because their causes are almost always problematic. The former group is often relatively harmless but can be sometimes problematic too.
Reactive seizures are caused by:
- Epilepsy in dachshunds
- Inherited disorder
- Liver disease
- Kidney failure
Secondary seizures are caused by:
- Brain injury
- Brain tumor
Possible Dachshund Seizures Remedies
The exact remedy for your dachshund’s seizures will depend on the underlying cause. That’s why the first and main thing you need to do is contact your vet. The usual things you’ll need to do are pretty basic:
- Make sure your dog gets enough exercise during the day
- Feed your dog high-quality and nutritious food
- Get whatever food supplements and medications your vet recommends (usually, ones that strengthen the brain, liver, and kidneys)
Other medications, treatments, and remedies will be more cause-specific. Epilepsy can be treated by a whole host of medications (Diazepam, Potassium Bromide syrup, Phenobarbitone, etc.), for example. Poisoning often necessitates some form of detoxication, and so on.
In short – find a good vet, contact them as soon as possible, and trust their recommendation.
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