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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 that 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. For some reason in Boston terriers, seizures are more common than other pure breeds.

Below I’ll discuss the types, causes, and treatment for seizures in Boston terriers.

Common Types of Seizures in Boston Terriers

There are two main types of seizures that occur in dogs which are named 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? Basically, 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 localized usually 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 discuss the many different causes which can help you and your Vet make the best decisions when treating your pet.

  • Idiopathic‘No Known Cause’  This is common in both humans and dogs as there’s no real cause that can be found.
  • Hypoglycemia(Low Blood Sugar) – One of the most common known cause which is when the blood sugar gets low the brain will malfunction causing a seizure.
  • 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.

Treatment of Seizures

To treat the seizures in Boston terrier it is first to find out the root cause of them. Please look above at some of the most common causes.

The first thing to do when your Boston terrier is having a seizure is to move all other dogs 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 and may prevent another one.

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.

You can buy a dog glucometer (on Amazon) to easily check your dogs’ sugar levels.

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.


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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