Unfortunately for dogs, epilepsy can either be inherited or it may even be caused by the preservatives in the food that they eat. There are certain breeds that are more likely to experience this condition than others. There are three different types that may possibly present in a canine. Most animals affected by canine epilepsy can be treated by a change in their diet and with proper medication and monitoring. 

Beagles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Keeshonds and Belgian Tervurens are all breeds with a proven genetic predisposition for seizures. The English Springer Spaniel has also been included in the group frequently. The condition is actually very common for dogs even when it is not a genetically inherited trait and it may just develop over the course of their life. The condition has also been linked to problems related to the thyroid gland and should be considered at initial onset. 

A change in diet may be the first course of treatment for many dogs because the preservatives in the food can be the main cause of many seizures. For particular breeds that are at high risk, it is wise to feed with only food that has no preservatives from the beginning and eliminate the possible chance of the problem developing. Be sure to read the labels carefully and preservative information will be indicated on the packaging. 

The three various type of epilepsy that may occur with canines are reactive, secondary and primary. Seizures labeled as reactive involve the metabolic system. These are always related to either low blood sugar, kidney failure or liver failure. 

Symptomatic or secondary seizures have a cause that is specifically known at onset. These are usually related to a previous stroke or an existing brain tumor. Trauma can also be a likely cause for this type. 

Primary or idiopathic seizures are labeled as such due to having no known cause. This diagnosis is reached when all other probable conditions have been completely eliminated. These are likely to begin in dogs that are in the age group of one and three. 

Different types of seizures present and they can last for different time lengths and at various intensity levels. A petit mal is considered mild and may be brief and only result in a brief moment of looking upward or staring while the grand mal is moderate and can last for as long as three minutes with a possible loss of consciousness. Status epilepticus and cluster seizures are difficult to differentiate between and both are considered life threatening. They can go on for long periods with loss of consciousness and then return. 

Several excellent medications are used to treat the condition including Phenobarbital, Valium and potassium bromide. Continual monitoring of the liver function is necessary when the animal is being treated with Phenobarbital. If the liver becomes damaged at some point due to medication, the animal is likely to be switched to only potassium bromide as treatment. Valium is most often used to treat status epilepticus and cluster seizures and can be given by injection, orally or rectally. There are some over the counter remedies that will assist with faster recovery for pets after experiencing a seizure, so consult with the veterinarian about using these substances for the treatment of canine epilepsy when necessary. 

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