Epilepsy & Its Effects on Equilibrium in Canines

Many dogs experience befuddlement during seizures.
BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Epilepsy is an oft-seen neurological ailment characterized by repeated seizures. It can appear in canines of all breeds. Although the condition is more prevalent in males, female dogs sometimes experience epilepsy, too. If your dog experiences an epileptic seizure, you might notice problems with his equilibrium.

Seizures and Dogs' Brains

Epileptic seizures in dogs begin in their cerebrums, brain structures that garner details that dogs encounter, whether through their sense of smell or eyesight. When dogs experience epileptic seizures, it's because of a malfunctioning of their cerebrums' neurons, according to veterinarian Debra Eldredge and Kim Campbell Thornton, authors of "The Everything Dog Health Book." When neurons malfunction in seizures, dogs no longer have command over their brains and bodies.

Seizures and Equilibrium

When dogs go through seizures, it commonly throws their equilibrium off. Their sense of balance frequently goes out the window. This often results in their falling to the ground. If you ever notice any issues in your pet's balance, take him to a veterinarian immediately, as he might have epilepsy. Canines generally begin exhibiting signs of epilepsy when they're young -- between 1 year and 5 years in age, says Darlene Arden, author of "Small Dogs, Big Hearts."

Common Symptoms of Seizures

If your dog is exhibiting any signs of equilibrium problems, perhaps through walking in an abnormal manner or falling down, get him veterinary attention -- stat. You also might see other common symptoms of seizures, such as panting, rigidness of the body, uncharacteristic vocalizations and excessive salivation. Some indications of seizures are subtle, too, says Matthew Hoffman, author of "Symptoms and Solutions." If a dog is going through a seizure, he might seem disoriented for a while. He might shiver slightly, too.

Other Medical Conditions and Balance

Epilepsy isn't the only medical condition that can affect canine equilibrium, so never make any assumptions. Problems with the middle ear, for instance, often lead to seizurelike behaviors, including balance difficulties, says Jordan Herod Nuccio and Elaine Waldorf Gewirtz, authors of "The Everything Natural Health for Dogs Book." When a dog has a middle ear disorder, his brain nucleus might trigger an irregular positioning of his head. This might trigger severe balance problems. Some worried dog lovers might confuse this for a seizure, although it isn't. Many other varied health issues can bring upon balance loss in dogs, including idiopathic vestibular disease. Find out what the culprit of your pet's equilibrium problem is by taking him to the veterinarian for an immediate checkup.