Pug dogs have the same chance of getting epilepsy as any other dog. However, pug dogs are more susceptible to pug dog encephalitis (PDE), which is a fatal brain inflammation that can cause epilepsy. Pug epilepsy can be controlled with medications and treatments, but there is no cure for pug dog encephalitis. The best way to tell if your pug has the disease is to note the signs of pug encephalitis.
The main symptom of epilepsy in a pug dog is frequent seizures. Seizures are easy to identify, because they are visually obvious. During a seizure, the pug will stiffen, fall on the ground and start to twitch involuntarily. Sometimes, the pug may salivate and foam at the mouth. Bladder control is usually completely gone, and the pug will urinate or defecate during the seizure. Most seizures last for fewer than five minutes. Always alert your vet after your pug dog has had a seizure.
Certain pre-symptoms also are present when a pug has epilepsy. One of these symptoms is restlessness. If your pug seems to be extremely unsettled for a day or two, then it could be a sign that a seizure is about to occur.
Some pugs seems to sense when they are about to have an epileptic attack. These dogs will start to whine excessively, perhaps for several days leading up to the seizure. Try to make your dog as comfortable as possible, during this time, to ease your dog's anxiety over the seizure that is about to occur.
Some pugs exhibit pre-shakes before the actual seizure occurs. These shakes look similar to a full-blown seizure, but the pug will usually remain standing and conscious the entire time. Contact your vet if you notice pre-shaking occurring, as this can be a sign of a future, unusually strong seizure.
Hiding or Wandering
Some dogs try to "run away" from the impending seizure. These pugs may try to escape from the house or hide under sofas or other furniture. If your dog begins to exhibit these behaviour, uncharacteristically, then it is likely that a seizure is about to occur.
If you did not see your pug having a seizure, but you notice that it seems unusually confused or disoriented, then this may be a sign that your pug has had a seizure. Seizures can leave your pug feeling lost and disoriented.
One symptom of PDE is aggressiveness. The pug may become irritable, bark aggressively at people at other animals and may even start to bite other people or animals. Sudden aggressiveness should be reported to a vet right away.
Another symptom of PDE is circling. The pug may walk in circles around a room for no apparent reason. This is often a sign that PDE is present, and the circling behaviour may even be a type of seizure known as a complex partial seizure, where the epilepsy causes a continuous behaviour like eye blinking or barking, etc.
Head butting is another symptom of PDE-related epilepsy. The pug will press its head into people, other animal and objects around the house. Sometimes these presses are light, minor touches, while some pugs may press their heads into objects with some force.