A Petit Mal Seizure in Canines

by Betty Lewis
    Dogs tend to slip into seizures when they're most relaxed.

    Dogs tend to slip into seizures when they're most relaxed.

    Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    People aren't the only ones who can experience seizures; your pup can, too. In people, seizures take different forms, including grand-mal and petit-mal. When someone experiences a petit-mal seizure, his consciousness is clouded, but he doesn't experience convulsions. It's not confirmed whether dogs experience petit-mal seizures, though they can have mild lapses in consciousness.

    Your dog's brain is a hub of electrical activity, relying on chemical and electrical signals to relay information. If the electrical activity in Bub's brain spikes causing an electrical storm, he can suffer a seizure. The type of seizure he experiences depends on where the storm occurs. If the storm occurs throughout his brain, it's considered a generalized storm; confined to a small area, it's a focal, or partial, storm. In people, a petit-mal seizure is a generalized storm where the person "zones out" of the world, staring blankly. If petit-mal seizures occur in dogs, they are rare, resulting in trembling, drooling and head shaking. The Canine Epilepsy Network believes petit-mal seizures in dogs are actually focal seizures. If Bub experiences a focal seizure, one side or a small part of his body is affected, causing reactions such as facial twitching, pawing and behavior changes such as biting at the air and howling. No matter what type of seizure Bub has, you should keep calm, observe him and note how long the seizure lasts. Call the vet with the information to discuss the best treatment for your pup.

    Photo Credits

    • Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Betty Lewis is a writer and editor specializing in pet care, animals, careers and emergency management. She previously ran an animal shelter, where she also served as a kennel attendant and dog trainer. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism, an M.B.A. and a master's degree in professional studies.

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