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Understanding canine epilepsy


Most owners are unaware that dogs can have epilepsy until they experience their dog having a seizure (or ‘fit’). This leaflet will help you understand what epilepsy is, what happens during an epileptic seizure, and what you can do to help your dog.


What is epilepsy?

The word epilepsy simply means ‘repeated seizures’. A seizure occurs when there is a burst of excessive electrical activity in the brain.


How can you tell if your dog is having a seizure?

Seizures can affect dogs in different ways. They can be as mild as lip twitching on one side of the face, or as severe as a dog falling to the floor and thrashing around.

It is important to note that although your dog’s eyes may remain open during a more severe seizure, they are unconscious and are not aware of what is happening. A seizure can be distressing to watch, but remember that your dog is not in any pain.


Canine epilepsy is common as it affects up to 5 in every 100 dogs2

1 in 5 dogs


2. Monteiro R et al. J Small Anim Pract 2012; 53: 526–530.

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