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Seizures In Boston Terriers – Epilepsy Types, Causes, And Treatment

If you have a Boston terrier or thinking of getting one, you may wonder about the risk your dog has in getting seizures or epilepsy.

Unfortunately, Boston terriers being a purebred dog is at a greater risk for having a seizure disorder than other dogs.

In this article, I’ll discuss the different types of seizures in Boston terriers, as well as what causes them and some treatment options to prevent them from happening.

Common Types of Seizures in Boston Terriers

There are two main types of seizures that occur in dogs which are Generalized or PartialBelow are the most common symptoms of seizures in Boston terriers.

Generalized (Grand-Mal) Seizures

This type of seizure is the most severe type of seizure in dogs and unfortunately the most common type. This seizure is characterized by loss of consciousness and full-body contraction of the muscles. This is seen by your dog going unresponsive and full-body jerking usually in a violent manner.

Thankfully these episodes are generally brief, but they sometimes will reoccur over and over again in a dangerous condition called status epilepticus. Medication will be needed to treat this condition.

How to tell if your Boston terrier has generalized seizures? You can tell if your dog has these type of seizures by the loss of consciousness and intense shaking.

After generalized seizures, your Boston terrier will usually go into a Postical state where they will act confused and generally very tired and lethargic. This is normal and not a cause for concern.

Video of Boston terrier having a generalized seizure – Viewer Discretion Advised!

Partial (Focal) Seizures

These seizures aren’t as severe as the generalized seizures as most of the time consciousness is not lost and the jerking is usually localized to one area of the body. It may sometimes be hard to notice if your dog is having partial seizures compared to the more obvious Grand-Mal ones.

You will sometimes see these type of seizures while your Boston terrier is sleeping or you may mistake it for your dog sleeping.

These can happen randomly or during stress, with most of the time not needing medication treatment.

Video of Boston terrier having a partial seizure

Causes of Seizures in Boston Terriers

Now that we have discussed the different types of seizures that can occur in Boston terriers, let’s talk about what can cause them. This includes:

  • Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar) – One of the most common known cause of seizure is when the blood sugar gets too low, which causes the brain to malfunction.
  • Brain Tumor – This is the primary cause of new-onset seizures in older dogs. Which a tumor is putting pressure on the brain causing a disruption in the signals.
  • Hypothyroidism –  The thyroid produces an important hormone that helps regulate the body in dogs. If the thyroid is malfunctioning causing a low thyroid hormone this can cause some chemical imbalances in the brain which in return can produce seizure activity.
  • Infection(Rare) – This is one of the more rare causes of seizures in dogs but certain infections such as cryptococcosis can cause a sudden onset of seizures.
  • Idiopathic‘No Known Cause’  This is common in both humans and dogs as there’s no real cause that can be found.

Treatment Options for Seizures

To treat seizures in your Boston terrier, you need to first find out the root cause of them. I listed some common causes above, however, your vet will be able to pinpoint this by doing tests.

The first thing to do when your Boston terrier is having a seizure is to move all things and objects away from your dog. Sometimes dogs will act aggressively towards dogs having seizures.

After the seizure has ended, your dogs’ blood sugar may be very low and they will be hungry. Grab a small spoonful of ice cream and be prepared to quickly feed your dog after their seizure. This will allow for their blood sugar to stabilize which may prevent another one.

I highly recommend investing in a dog glucometer so you can easily check your dog’s blood sugar levels at home. If your dog has low energy, loss of appetite, trembling, or unusual behavior, then a glucometer (on Amazon) will help rule out low blood sugar which is the main cause of these symptoms.

The next best thing to do is to make an appointment with your veterinarian so that they can run some tests to see what is causing the seizure. Once a cause is determined the next step of treatment can happen.

If your dog is found to have “No Known Cause” of their seizures the best course of action is to usually be placed on medication.

Common Medications For Seizure Treatment in Boston Terriers

  • Phenobarbitol – This is the most popular and effective treatment for seizure disorders in dogs.
  • Valium or Diazepam – Another common medication used is a benzoate sedative and given in small doses to help prevent the brain from firing off.
  • Dilantin – common medication used in humans with the seizure disorder and is used in some dogs as well.
  • Gabapentin – Originally a neuropathy medication in humans, recent studies showed great success in treating seizures in dogs. However, this can be an expensive option.

If your Boston terrier is having seizures due to hypoglycemia, this can be easily managed by simply checking their blood sugar periodically and feeding them on a consistent basis to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Your Veterinarian will be able to go over this in great detail during your visit.

If your dog has hypothyroidism which is causing them to have seizures it may be best to treat your dog with a thyroid medication which gives your Boston terrier synthetic hormones to replace the one their thyroid is failing to produce.

If a brain tumor is the cause of your Boston terriers seizures then you and your veterinarian will have to discuss what will be the next course of action. Unfortunately, if this is the case Euthanasia is generally the most humane treatment for older dogs.

Summary

I hope this information about seizures in Boston terriers helped you in any way possible. Seizures can be scary but remember that most of the time they will not cause your pet to die or become severely disabled. There are a variety of treatment options and your veterinarian will be able to help you choose the most appropriate.

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