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Epilepsy | German Shepherd

While perhaps epilepsy is better known in humans than in dogs, some breeds of dogs, including the German Shepherd, can suffer from epilepsy. This condition can be broken down into two types. One kind of epilepsy, the “ideopathic” kind, has no known cause, and may be genetic in nature. The other variety is a result of a particular toxin that has been ingested, and is thus referred to as epilepsy with a “secondary” cause. The disease can manifest itself in a single incident in some cases, while being chronic and medicated or repressed and controlled in others. Causes of secondary epilepsy include low blood sugar, ingestion of lead or dangerous substances like chocolate, head trauma, organ failures, some parasites, hypoglycema, organ failure, or brain tumors.

A German Shepherd suffering from epilepsy manifest a number of symptoms. These include behavioral changes in the early stages of the seizure period, followed by severe symptoms including pacing, licking, panicking, trembling, vomiting, or aimless wandering, following by the “seizure” period, where the dog may seem to be out of control of his or her behavior. Then comes the “come down” phase where the dog seems tired, as if drugged or drunk.

If your German Shepherd has epilepsy, it can be controlled with a number of medical substances, including but not limited to primidone, dilantin, diazepam, potassium bromide (owners of dogs taking this substance should monitor salt levels in their dogs' diet very closely) or phenobarbital (owners of dogs taking this substance should regularly have the dogs' liver enzymes checked out for potential damage.). In short, your German Shepherd, with proper medication, can live a relatively normal life in combating epilepsy.

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