Leading a happy life with canine epilepsy14 January 2016
PRACTICAL TOOLS

Seizure diary

A seizure diary is an important tool when it comes to managing dogs with epilepsy. The diary will help your vet to determine whether your dog’s seizure(s) are due to primary epilepsy or not. If and when your dog is diagnosed with epilepsy, the diary plays a crucial role in monitoring and managing their progress.

It is also helpful to, at the end of each week or month, plot your dog’s seizures onto a graph. This can help provide a clear visual indication of seizures over time and will help your vet to identify any patterns that exist.

Make sure you keep your dog’s diary and graph up-to-date and take them with you every time you visit your vet.


How to time your dog’s seizure

It is really important to try to time how long your dog’s seizure lasts; this will help you and your vet know if it is necessary to intervene with emergency medications to stop seizure activity.

  1. If you think your dog is about to have a seizure try to prepare the environment around them so they cannot hurt themselves. Make sure that a clock or watch is in view so that you are able to time the length of the seizure.
  2. Your vet needs to know how long the physical seizure goes on (phase 2 of a seizure). If your dog has seizures where they fall to the floor and their legs or body move, then the length of their seizure is the time from when they fall to the floor and start moving, to when they regain consciousness and are able to respond to you again.
  3. To record the length of your dog’s seizure(s):
    • When your dog falls to the floor and starts moving look at the clock and make a note of the time e.g. 11.15am
    • Stay with your dog and follow the instructions your vet has given you
    • When your dog is conscious and able to respond to you again, look at the clock and make a note of the time e.g. 11.17am
    • Calculate the length of time the seizure lasted e.g. 11.15am to 11.17am = two minutes 
    • Record all of this information in your dog’s seizure diary
  4. If your dog’s seizure goes on for more than five minutes or if they have multiple seizures in a short space of time you should contact your vet immediately.
  5. If your dog’s seizures do not involve them falling to the floor and moving you should ask your vet what event they would like you to time and record

How to video your dog’s seizure

Providing your vet with a video (using a smartphone or video camera) of your dog having a seizure can greatly help your vet to get the information that they need to help your dog.

The most useful footage for your vet is a recording of phase 2 of the seizure, the physical fit. Some tips that can help you get a good video of your dog’s seizure are below:

  • If you think your dog is going to have a seizure prepare the environment around them so they cannot hurt themselves. Make sure that a device to record the seizure as well as a clock or watch is to hand
  • When your dog’s seizure starts look at the clock and make a note of the time, also start filming the seizure
  • Try and film your dog’s whole body where possible. If this is not possible then spend time filming their head and legs. Videos just of your dog’s rear or tail are less useful for your vet
  • When your dog stops moving and is able to respond to you again, look at the clock and make a note of the time. You can also stop recording your dog’s seizure now
  • Record all of the information in your dog’s seizure diary

Remember that if your dog’s seizure goes on for more than five minutes or if they have multiple seizures in a short space of time you should contact your vet immediately.

If your dog’s seizures do not involve them falling to the floor and moving you should ask your vet what event they would like you to film, time and record.

The most important thing during a seizure is to make sure that you and your dog are safe. If you are at all concerned you should stop filming the seizure and call your vet.

Useful links

For further information on epilepsy, its diagnosis and management you might like to visit the following sites:

Phylis Croft Foundation: http://www.pcfce.org/