Seizures can be scary for you and your sausage dog, particularly the first time one happens. You can help your hound through the experience by learning the best prevention and response strategies.
What Is a Seizure?
As in humans, a seizure in a dachsie is caused by a sort of electrical storm in the brain. This causes symptoms ranging from loss of consciousness to convulsions. In a "grand mal" or tonic-clonic seizure, your dog will fall to the floor, become rigid and shake. Other symptoms include incontinence, drooling or rolling the eyes back into the head. Remember that seizures often look more frightening or dramatic than they really are. Partial seizures can occur, in which the dog does not necessarily fall down or lose consciousness.
What to Do
If your dachshund has a seizure, you can be helpful. First, call your vet if your dog has a seizure lasting more than about 5 minutes without regaining consciousness. Unless your dog is in a dangerous area—for example beside a swimming pool or an open fireplace—do not attempt to move him during the seizure. If you need to move your dachsie away from a water, fire or falling hazard, carry him carefully while supporting his head, his neck and the full length of his back. You might roll him into a dog bed or blanket before carrying him. Move any furniture away from your dog's immediate area, so he can't knock into it and injure himself. Remove other pets from the area, and reduce other stress-causing factors—turn off music or TV, and turn off any bright lights. Place soft cushions or blankets along the dog's back and around his head, and provide a safe and quiet place for him to sleep and recover after the seizure has stopped.
Dachshunds and Epilepsy
As a breed, wiener dogs have a susceptibility to seizures and epilepsy. A veterinarian will typically diagnose epilepsy if your dog has a pattern of seizures that cannot be explained by other medical causes. Seizures can be caused by dehydration, diabetes or brain tumors. If all other causes are ruled out and your dog keeps having regular seizures, it is likely your vet will prescribe antiepileptic medication for your dachsie. Make sure your dog takes any prescribed medication regularly and at the correct dosage. Dachshunds may be made more susceptible to epilepsy by their genetic background, or by injury to their long backs or necks.
Preventing Future Seizures
If your sausage dog is suffering regular seizures, you can reduce the likelihood, or number, of seizures with preventive measures. Low blood sugar can be a seizure trigger, so make sure your dachsie has regular and appropriate quantities of food available. Control underlying conditions, such as diabetes, which may contribute to seizures. An individual seizure can be caused if your dog eats anything toxic, or becomes sleep-deprived. Maintain the most regular sleep, feeding and exercise schedule possible for your dachshund and you will reduce his risk of seizures.
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.