Q: I think that ‘GG,” my Bulldog, had a seizure last night. She fell over and was shaking really hard. I panicked because we only recently moved here and don’t have a vet yet. Thankfully, GG seems fine today. She’s only 3 years old — what should I do? C.F., Farragut
A: From your description, it does sound like GG may have experienced a seizure. And yes, it can create panic and be frightening for all involved.
You will need to find a veterinarian to see GG and have her evaluated. Asking friends and neighbors for a recommendation is a good place to start.
Seizures can occur for a variety of reasons, including toxins, previous head trauma, bacterial or viral infections, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), metabolic disease, cancer or epilepsy.
During a grand mal seizure, pets often fall to their side, as you described, while their body begins shaking and convulsing. Pets have an altered state of consciousness before, during and after the seizure. Seizures can be quite short (a few seconds) or quite lengthy (10-to-15 minutes).
With longer seizures, you should seek emergency care, as these can be more serious, often with temporary or permanent side effects.
Epilepsy is a common cause of seizures in young dogs. With epileptic dogs, physical exams and blood tests are normal, as are more advanced diagnostics like CT and MRI. If GG has no history of illness, trauma, or toxins, your veterinarian may talk to you about epilepsy.
There is no cure for epilepsy, but there is daily medication to aid in seizure control.
Best of luck to you and GG. Hopefully she checks out well and doesn’t have any more seizures.
If you have questions about your pet, you may e-mail Dr. Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org