As a breed, dachshunds, sadly, are quite susceptible to epilepsy. If your pooch has a pattern of recurring seizures, your vet likely will diagnose epilepsy. Symptomatic epilepsy is caused by a known factor, such as a brain tumor or stroke. Hereditary epilepsy has no known cause, other than genetics.
Hereditary epilepsy is believed to occur as a result of a genetic mutation inherited from a dog's parents. If either of your dachsie's parents had epilepsy, your dog's chances of having hereditary epilepsy are relatively higher. Dachshunds with hereditary epilepsy typically begin experiencing seizures when they are between one and three years old.
Seizures come in many different forms, even if they are all caused by the same hereditary form of epilepsy. In a typical "grand mal" or tonic-clonic seizure, your dachsie will become rigid, fall down and start shaking or jerking around. His eyes may roll back in his head; urinary or bowel incontinence may occur. Less severe, partial seizures can occur when the dog still is conscious. He may appear to be disconnected from his surroundings, and may stare, drool, shake or jerk.
Seeing your dog have a seizure can be pretty scary, especially if you did not know your dog had epilepsy. Remain calm, and note the time the seizure started. If your dog does not regain consciousness within 5 minutes of the seizure starting, you need to call a vet. Once the dog is diagnosed with epilepsy, it may be safe to let a seizure run for more than 5 minutes -- ask your veterinarian's advice regarding timescale. Remove furniture, and other pets, from the area where your dog is having a seizure. Place blankets or pillows around him, and be a calm, soothing presence when he regains consciousness.
Treatment and Seizure Prevention
If your hound is having seizures regularly, it is likely your vet may prescribe anti-seizure medications. These should control or at least reduce the number of seizures your wiener dog experiences. Make sure your dog takes any prescriptions regularly and in the correct doses. You also can help by trying to identify any factors that cause seizures, or make seizures more likely for your dachshund. Each dog, and each case of hereditary epilepsy, is different; however, some common seizure triggers include sleep deprivation, stress, low blood sugar or changes in the weather.
- Canine Epilepsy Network: Understanding Your Pet's Epilepsy; Dennis O'Brien
- Dachshunds for Dummies; Eve Adamson
- Inherited Epilepsy Can Be Devastating in Dogs; Ned Patterson DVM
Jae Allen has been a writer since 1999, with articles published in "The Hub," "Innocent Words" and "Rhythm." She has worked as a medical writer, paralegal, veterinary assistant, stage manager, session musician, ghostwriter and university professor. Allen specializes in travel, health/fitness, animals and other topics.