Understanding Idiopathic Epilepsy in Beagles

By broussey, Dec 28, 2013 | |
  1. broussey
    When your beagle, who has been your faithful hunting companion, is in the grip of a fit and is rendered immobile, it is an unbearable sight. You have no idea what you should do and will be eager to take your dog to the vet. Many beagles are known to suffer from epileptic fits and the best way to cope would be to know more about this condition.


    A Terrible Situation

    Epileptic fits in beagles can be due to brain tumors, infections, trauma, improper circulation, or some problem with the internal organs. When the cause of the fits is not identifiable, it is generally referred to as idiopathic epilepsy.

    There are varying degrees of severity of the fits, but they are classified into two main types of seizures, Petit Mal and Grand Mal. Petit mal is a mild epileptic seizure; however, in certain cases it can increase in severity and also complicate the health condition of the beagle. Grand mal is powerful seizure, where the beagle loses consciousness. Such seizures might cause continuous contractions of muscles, induce strange behavior, and even cause brain failure, where the dog loses all control of bodily functions.


    Ictal Phase

    There are three distinct stages in the epileptic fit that your beagle suffers. The first phase is called the aural phase, as there is an aura of strange behavior, which can include anxiety, excessive apprehension, becoming very clingy, and being disoriented. You will recognize these symptoms, as your beagle will start whining, hiding, trembling, or drooling without any apparent reason. The second stage of the fit called Ictal phase will be quite terrifying for you and your dog.

    Usually this phase can last from half a minute to one and half minutes, but if the intensity is high, it can last longer. During this phase your beagle can start kicking uncontrollably, start biting, drooling, and can lose bowel control. In severe fits, your dog will become unconscious and lay immobile.

    The last phase is called Postical phase, as it happens after the seizure. During this phase, your beagle can pace continuously, and become depressed or excited. Some beagles might even start eating and drinking much more than their usual quota. This stage lasts about a few minutes after the seizure, but it can also go on for a few days, which can be quite unsettling.

    The way your beagle behaves will mainly depend on the severity of the fit. You can expect intense fear, excessive aggression, involuntary screaming, and biting in the air. Some beagles also tend to stare blankly or their head or body will go through severe distortions. Even though epilepsy is not fatal, prolonged severe seizures can threaten the life of your beagle.


    Your Role & Obligations

    When your beagle is going through a seizure, you can help in the following ways:

    • You need to keep calm and be prepared for any type of behavior, and also vomiting and defecation
    • Do not allow your beagle near sharp objects, and it would be best to hold him in a blanket
    • Call the vet as soon as the convulsions start, and maintain records of the seizure like details of behavior and time span.

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