As a breed, Pekingese are relatively prone to seizures. Dogs suffer from different types of seizures, with different signs and symptoms. Learn to recognize and respond to a seizure, and you can help your dog recover well from each episode.
A "grand mal" or tonic-clonic seizure is the most dramatic, and recognizable, form of seizure. If your dog has a grand mal seizure, her muscles will seize up and she will fall to the ground. Convulsions -- in which the dog twitches or shakes for some f time -- are a hallmark of grand mal seizures. Your dog may be completely unconscious during a grand mal seizure, and could lose bladder and bowel control. Other types of seizure may involve an "absence" -- in which your dog is disconnected from her surroundings, staring blankly without responding to stimuli -- without a loss of consciousness. Uncontrollable drooling is another common symptom of a canine seizure.
The first time you see your dog have a seizure, it can look pretty frightening. You can help your dog by responding quickly and calmly. If your dog is unconscious and seizing, remove any immediate hazards. Clear away furniture that might hurt your dog, and remove other pets from the area where your dog is having a seizure.
If your Pekingese is having a seizure near a hazard -- an open fire, swimming pool or a flight of stairs, for example -- carefully move him away from these dangers. If there are no nearby hazards, don't move the dog.
If you have soft blankets or pillows nearby, you can place these near your dog's head, neck and back for support. Don't try to put anything in, or near, your dog's mouth during a seizure. You risk getting bitten if you put your fingers or hand near the dog's mouth. Make a note of the time the seizure started, and call a vet if your dog has not regained consciousness within five minutes. If your dog has regular seizures, you do not need to call a vet unless the seizure goes significantly longer than usual or the dog has clusters of seizures without becoming conscious.
Seizure Patterns and Epilepsy
Your Pekingese can experience a one-off seizure for a number of reasons. If your Peke is particularly sleep-deprived, overheated, dehydrated or hungry, these factors can precipitate a seizure. If a pattern of recurring seizures becomes established, it is likely your Pekingese will be diagnosed with epilepsy. If your dog has a diagnosis, you can take measures to reduce the number of seizures she is likely to experience in her lifetime.
Precautions and Treatment
Most cases of epilepsy cannot be cured outright, but preventive care can reduce the number of seizures your dog is likely to have. If your Pekingese is having more than one seizure each month, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-seizure medications. The prescribed anti-epileptic drug must be taken regularly and in a weight-appropriate dosage. In certain cases of canine epilepsy, surgery may be an option.
For any dog, you can reduce the seizure risk with preventative measures. Feed your dog regularly, as dips in blood sugar level can precipitate a seizure. Don't push your “lion dog” to exercise at a high intensity level or in hot weather. Make sure she has a quiet, dark place to sleep for as long as she needs each night. Prevent your Peke from jumping off the couch, from a bed, or down stairs -- the small size and long back of the Pekingese make back injuries likely when dogs are allowed to jump. Back and neck injuries can precipitate seizures in dogs.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- ASPCA Complete Guide to Dogs; Sheldon L. Gerstenfeld, Jacque Lynn Schultz, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Pekingese; D. Caroline Coile
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.