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Seizure Disorders and Your Chihuahua

Seizure Disorders and Your Chihuahua


Seizures are not an uncommon occurrence among dogs much to the dismay of many owners.  Called seizures, fits, or convulsions they represent a sudden burst of neurologic activity in the brain.  Sometimes the activity affects only one area of the body such as one leg, but most often this burst of activity affects the entire body.

Signs and Symptoms

If your Chi has a seizure disorder, you will begin to recognize the signs that indicate the start of your dog’s seizure.  Most dogs become nervous or agitated and begin to tremble.  With small dogs like Chihuahuas they often display these same signs when nothing is about to happen so deciding when a seizure is imminent is difficult.

Often these initial signs are followed by a stage where your Chi will become unresponsive to you or to his or her surroundings.  The trembling then gets worse and if your Chi is standing he will fall down and begin to paddle his legs and convulse.  Your little one may salivate and clench his teeth.  The whole thing will last on average a couple of minutes but to a frightened owner these minutes can seem like hours.

After the seizure is over your Chi can remain disoriented for quite some time and will often continue to pant.  Don’t be surprised if your Chihuahua seems abnormally sleeping after a seizure as well.

Other Medical Conditions

There are other medical conditions that owners often mistake for seizures.  Middle ear disorders which cause a distinct head tilt, vomiting and even loss of balance are not uncommon.  If your Chi has a heart or respiratory disease they may be prone to fainting spells which are often mistaken for a seizure. 

Something as simple as doggy dreams can also be mistaken for a seizure.  If your Chi is paddling their legs or even whimpering in their sleep this is not unusual and occurs more when your dog is a puppy.

Disorders That Cause Seizures

Chihuahuas are susceptible to hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar which can lead to seizures.  Other medical problems such as low calcium levels, encephalitis and high blood ammonia can also cause convulsions.

Another thing to consider if you suspect that your Chi is having a seizure is whether or not they have been exposed to a toxin of some sort.  Perhaps they have ingested something poisonous such as rat poison. 

Heat stroke can also cause seizures in dogs.  Small dogs, dogs with heavy coats, or flat nosed breeds are particularly susceptible to heat stroke.  The other obvious reason for a seizure is a head injury. 

When to Seek Veterinary Care

Don’t wonder and question when to seek veterinary care.  If your Chi has experienced a seizure you shouldn’t take it lightly.  You should take your chi to the vet to determine the underlying cause immediately.

Your veterinarian will probably request bloodwork and diagnostic testing to discover what is causing your Chi’s seizures.  Once the underlying cause is determined medical treatment can be undertaken to control the seizures.  Sometimes vets will prescribe valium to be given rectally in the event of a prolonged seizure.

It’s hard to say who is more upset by a seizure – you or your Chi.  Ignoring the problem does not make it go away.  Responsible dog ownership is more than buying Chihuahua gifts and clothing.  Caring for your pet, whether it is a short or long haired Chihuahua, means providing adequate medical attention when necessary.


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