Seizures in dogs can be very stressful for an owner, but is this condition acceptable in a dog you wish to breed?
This is a question that can be asked by newer breeders or dog owners, or those who have had an “oops” litter. It’s a good question to ask before a breeding occurs, because, typically? The answer is yes, if your dog has seizures (male, or female) the puppies they produce are at an elevated risk of seizures also.
This would not be considered responsible breeding.
Why? Because breeding should be performed for the betterment of a breed. The idea is that you improve the breed and create generation, after generation of improvements – not create a puppy that will deliver stress and extra bills to their new puppy parent.
Let’s do a little housekeeping.
What Is A Siezure
Seizures are the most common condition associated with the brain in a dog.
The main outward symptoms can vary from mild seizures to the more severe, where a change in their focus can occur, with a distanced look and lack of focus, to a more severe version where the dog may lose consciousness and the dog will fall over and their legs will move in spasms. They may also drool, pee or poop during a severe seizure.
Essentially? It’s not something you should knowingly pass along to another generation of dogs, and a responsible breeder will remove them from their breeding program.
re one of the most frequently reported neurological conditions in dogs. A seizure may also be called a convulsion or fit, and is a temporary involuntary disturbance of normal brain function that is usually accompanied by uncontrollable muscle activity.
“Epilepsy is a term used to describe repeated episodes of seizures.”
Epilepsy is a term used to describe repeated episodes of seizures. With epilepsy, the seizures can be single or may occur in clusters, and they can be infrequent and unpredictable or may occur at regular intervals.
Are You Certain Siezures Are Inherited?
Not all of them are, but according to the VCA, most causes for a seizure are inherited.
These other causes (such as liver and kidney failure) can be genetic also, depending on the reason for the failure. Whilst seizures are caused by ingestion of toxins, brain tumors and trauma can cause seizures and not be transferred to a puppy.
How Can I Tell If My Dog’s Seizures Are Genetic?
After your dog has had a seizure, see your vet. Detail as much of their history as possible, they’ll help rule out a lot of things like head trauma and toxicity first by discussing your dogs last day or week with you.
After this, testing will begin to figure out if the episode was caused by deterioration of the liver, kidneys, or similar, along with testing for heartworm.
With the results of these tests, you should know whether they are or are not a genetic trait, if not, more testing will likely be the case.
It’s good to recognise that some breeds are more prone to seizures than others, the following is a list of breeds that are considered more at risk.
- Belgian Tervuren,
- Bernese Mountain Dog,
- English Springer Spaniel
- Finnish Spitz,
- Golden Retriever,
- Irish Wolfhound
- Labrador Retriever,
- Shetland Sheepdog,
Seizures Are No Joke
I’ve lived with a dog who has had seizures – though hers wasn’t genetic – and please let me tell you, it’s one of the most stressful things a dog owner can go through because you’re entirely powerless throughout.
If the condition is determined by a vet to be the cause of a genetic condition, then no, please do not breed the affected dog, you’ll save a lot of people, a lot of heartache.
If the dog is not genetically predisposed to seizures, then breeding may be possible. Though, I would strongly suggest that you consider this action most heavily before you go through with it. It’s not the wonderous puppy dream most people think it will be…
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Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!