Seizures in Yorkie Terriers

Yorkshire terriers are at risk of hypoglycemic seizures due to low body weight.

Yorkshire terriers are at risk of hypoglycemic seizures due to low body weight.

Yorkies are not particularly prone to seizures or epilepsy. Usually, if a Yorkshire terrier starts having seizures this indicates an underlying medical issue. A recurring pattern of seizures will likely lead to an epilepsy diagnosis.


If your Yorkie ingests anything toxic, this can cause a seizure. Household chemicals, plants toxic to dogs or chocolate can all cause seizures if eaten by a dog. Certain topical tick preventatives can also cause seizures if your dog is able to lick the liquid from its fur. If your dog ingests anything toxic and experiences a seizure, call for immediate veterinary assistance.

Brain Injury or Tumor

The onset of seizures is often one of the earliest symptoms of a brain tumor. Your veterinarian may use X-ray imaging technology to detect and diagnose a brain tumor. It can be difficult to see a tumor inside a dog's skull, so some veterinarians will instead X-ray the chest. The presence of lung tumors can indicate that brain tumors have spread to the lungs. In the absence of brain tumors, a brain injury -- such as a blow to the head -- can cause seizures.

Illness or Disease

Yorkies, as a breed, are at a relatively high risk of developing the medical condition known as liver shunt. Left untreated, liver shunt can cause ongoing seizures. Other diseases can cause seizures in a Yorkie. If your dog has lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever -- both of which are carried by ticks -- she may have seizures as a symptom of these diseases.

Canine Epilepsy

Canine epilepsy is diagnosed when a dog has a recurring pattern of seizures with no known reason -- there is no tumor, disease, liver shunt or hypoglycemia to explain these seizures. Canine epilepsy is estimated to affect between 2 and 3 percent of all dogs and can run in family lines. Yorkies with epilepsy are likely to be prescribed anti-seizure medications, which must be taken regularly and correctly. These medicines do not cure epilepsy, but they can reduce the number and severity of seizures.

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About the Author

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.

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