Symptoms of Seizures & Stroke in Dogs

Updated November 21, 2016

Dogs share many health issues with humans; however, the symptoms are often different. According to The Dog Health Guide, stroke symptoms in canines vary from human symptoms. Seizures in dogs also cause symptoms not commonly found in humans. The causes for seizures and strokes vary and the seizures and strokes share some common symptoms. Genetics often play a role in the development of seizures in some breeds of dogs, including Belgian Tervuren, Belgian sheepdogs and poodles.


Strokes, or vascular accidents, in the brain occur rarely in dogs, but they may recover quickly, according to The Dog Health Guide. The loss of blood to a part of the brain results in improper function of the nerves. According to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center, the damage may affect muscles or neurological functions. Symptoms, depending on the area of the brain affected, include changes in eye reflexes, mental alertness, and face and head reflexes. The ability to walk correctly is also affected. Other symptoms include weakness on one side of the body, loss of sensations on one side of the nose, tremors, back and forth eye movement, staggering gait, walking in circles, crossed eyes, a head that is tilted or twisted, and a rigid neck and body. A stroke can also result in seizures, according to Mar Vista. The Dog Health Guide notes that additional symptoms of stroke include fatigue and loss of bowel and bladder control. Other symptoms include blindness, eating from only one side of the food bowl, sudden behaviour changes and heart arrhythmia.


A heatstroke, hyperthermia, occurs when your dog's body temperature rises above 40 degrees C, according to PetEducation. PetEducation lists symptoms of heat stroke as rapid panting, bright red tongue, thick saliva, vomiting, shock, coma, diarrhoea or death. The colour of your dog's gums

during a moderate heat stroke can be very red, or very pale in severe cases. A heatstroke may cause seizures.


Symptoms of seizures include behaviours that occur involuntarily, according to veterinarian Wendy C. Brooks, Educational Director for VeterinaryPartner. Such symptoms vary depending on the classification. Grand mal or generalised seizure symptoms include alternating stiffness and muscle contractions of the entire body, loss of consciousness and possible urinating or defecation, according to Brooks. Partial seizures cause symptoms in one area but may expand throughout the entire body. Your dog may exhibit psychomotor seizures, either alone or prior to a grand mal. These symptoms include howling, biting and aggressive posturing, snapping at the air, and other abnormal behaviours. According to Vetinfo, cluster- or multiple-seizure symptoms include falling down suddenly, muscle spasms, abnormal leg movements, salivating, defecating, urinating and uncontrolled jaw movements. According to Brooks, following a seizure, a dog may be disoriented and have symptoms of blindness. These symptoms last from minutes to several hours, says Brooks.

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Daniel Cobalt lives in Georgia and has been writing online for over five years. He has a technical certificate in printing from the Philadelphia Printing School. His areas of expertise include fitness, home schooling, parenting, personal relationships, small business ownership and pet topics including breeding, training and responsible ownership.