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Pomeranian Seizures


When a canine experiences a seizure, it can be quite a scary event for owners to watch; though most seizures will not cause lasting harm to a puppy or dog.

It is important to recognize the signs. There are different types of canine seizures. With any type, in some cases it will only occur once and with other dogs, it may be an ongoing issue. Sadly, despite a wide range of testing methods, even the most experienced veterinarians do not always find a cause.
However, dogs that are diagnosed with epilepsy can do quite well and live relatively normal and happy lives with proper medication. 

Other possible reasons for a dog having one or multiple seizures is a head injury, the end stage of a severe heart worm infestation and genetics.

Types of Dog Seizures

The most common type of dog seizure is the Tonic-clonic. This has 2 phases. The "tonic" phase can be severe or mild. In severe cases, the dog will enter a Grand Mal phase in which they fall to the ground unconsciousness, limbs stretched rigid. This is very serious, as a dog may stop breathing. If breathing does not resume within 30 seconds, CPR must be performed while help is being summoned.

In milder "tonic"' phases, the dog may fall down, but will not be unconscious and will breathe normally.
The "clonic" and 2nd phase will be one in which the dog show very particular signs. This can include all or some of the following: running in place, excessive drooling, odd movements of the jaw, unresponsiveness, very enlarged pupils.

More rare are other types of dog seizures. There is the condition of a Petit Mal; this is a very brief canine seizure in which the dog will lose muscle control and their brain will enter a "blank" stage of staring.

Partial seizures may occur with dogs. They may show signs similar to the 2nd phase of the tonic-clonic type. 
child holding Pomeranian
This will include the walking in place and the dog may also exhibit muscle spasms in any part of the body: limbs, head or back. During this type, a dog may repeat motions, such as biting into thin air or barking as if you took a video and replayed it over and over.

The most serious and also rare Status Epilepticus seizure is usually fatal. A dog will enter a strong seizure that lasts for more than a 1/2 hour. Some dogs will never recover. Sadly, though rare, this type can be avoided as it occurs when a dog is given large amounts of chocolate or other toxins such as accidental ingestion of a cleaning agent. Therefore, puppy-proofing a home for a Pomeranian is always strongly recommended no matter what his age.
What to Do

What do should you do if you think your Pomeranian is having a seizure? Although it seems to go against human instinct: stay calm. Do not believe that you need to hold your Pomeranian's tongue; this is not true. Move away any objects that may injure the dog such as furniture. Immediately shut off any noises such as the TV, music, etc. Shut off any bright lights.

Speak in a comforting voice. Gently put a thin pillow under your Pom's head. Try to keep a clear head as your dog's veterinarian will want to know when this occurred, how long it lasted for, all signs that your dog displayed and what your Pomeranian was doing just prior to the seizure. Once your dog appears to be exiting the seizure, bring him or her to the vet or nearest animal hospital.
Pomeranian dog on deck
Common and Accepted Treatment for Seizures

After performing a full physical checkup and running blood tests, if a dog is found to have epilepsy are usually treated with like phenobarbital or potassium bromide. Phenobarbital can do damage to the liver if taken over a long period of time, so the vet should keep the dose as low as possible and routinely monitor for this. 

It is common to run blood tests every 4 to 6 months to check for any potential liver issues. Potassium bromide has few side effects though it can cause sleepiness, weakness and loss of coordination.
Alternative Treatments

There are quite a few holistic options for owners of Pomeranians that want to try some alternative treatment options for a Pom with seizures. As with many holistic remedies, these are mostly unproven; some owners report good results and others cannot say the same. It is suggested to talk these over with your Pom's vet and to choose one at a time to focus on:

Change to the diet: There are preliminary studies that show that there may be a link between a dog's diet and the number of seizures that occurs. It is thought by some that a diet higher in fat calms down certain parts of the brain and that an increase of omega-3 fatty foods such as fish also helps stop seizures.  

In addition, eliminating chemicals from your Pom's diet can help. Home cook so that your dog does not ingest artificial coloring, preservatives and other chemicals.  

Supplements: While it is not yet known why, there is some promising theories that DMG (n, n dimethyl-glycine); Choline; taurine; L-tryptophan; melatonin,magnesium, phosphatidylserine; and vitamins C, A and B complex all work together to help control episodes.

Acupuncture: Those that claim this works suggest a session every 4 to 5 weeks for approximately 25 minutes. Surprisingly, many dogs find this time to be relaxing; canine acupuncturists often use sound, lighting and smell (lavender) to relax their canine clients.

OTC elements: While there is no proof that the following will aid in stopping seizures, there are dog owners who claim that chamomile, skullcap, valerian, oat straw, milk thistle and/or ginkgo biloba given in capsule form can help.

Homeopathy: This is a method of giving a patient a tiny amount of a substance that would produce a seizure in dogs without epilepsy. There have been some studies that show Belladonna 200C to work in some dogs. You'll want this to be supervised by a reputable veterinarian.

Preventing a Seizure

The one question that most Pomeranian owners have is: can you prevent a seizure? While there is not a foolproof method, there are some things that you can do:
1) Dogs that have been diagnosed with epilepsy should not receive vaccinations unless there is a really good reason in which the benefit of the inoculation outweighs the negative and sometimes even fatal outcome. Speak with your vet about this so that a rabies vaccine is not given; some vets just take a dog in the backroom and only tell owners what has been done once the dog is ready to go home.

2) Limit any toxins that your Pomeranian may inhale. This includes second hand smoke, car exhaust, chloride that is in the air around pools and chemical flea control.

3) Try to create a peaceful, stress free home environment and do not put your Pomeranian into situations that may cause stress. 
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