Siberian Husky Seizures: Symptoms, Causes & What To Do

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It’s often very frightening and unexpected when your happy-go-lucky Siberian Husky seems unsteady, confused, and collapses on the floor. Before you know it, your husky is having a seizure, and you have no idea what to do or how to handle the situation. Our article will tell you exactly what signs you need to watch out for and what to do when you find yourself in that situation. 

Just like humans, huskies can also suffer from a condition called epilepsy. This is the most common form of seizure in dogs. Abnormal electrical activity in your husky’s brain cause seizures, affecting how your beloved pet behaves and looks. Some seizures can look like a twitch, while some can be uncontrollable full-body shakes. Seizures themselves can last anything from 30 seconds to several minutes. Anything that lasts longer than 5 minutes will need immediate medical attention from a vet. 

Many dog breeds are prone to seizures and sadly husky’s are one of those breeds. They can be happily playing with you one minute and then before you know it you’ll be shouting “help! My husky is having a seizure”.  While you may feel like you’re completely helpless at first. There is actually a lot you can do to help them.  We’ve put together a list of all the important information to help you look after your husky, so you know exactly what to do when the unthinkable happens.

How Do I Know If My Husky Is Having A Seizure?

Cute husky with eyes closed
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Seizures in dogs can be pretty scary, especially if you have never witnessed one before, but knowing the signs of one can really help you get the most effective treatment for your four-legged friend. While not all seizures look the same, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Muscle Twitching (anywhere in the body)
  • A vacant expression, they may not respond to you when you call their name
  • Uncontrollable or jerky movements
  • Paddling movements with their legs
  • Collapse and loss of consciousness
  • Passing of urine or poop
  • Drooling or foaming at the mouth
  • Eyes rolling back or moving from side to side
  • Tense or cramped muscles

It’s important to know that some seizures can affect the whole body whereas others may only affect parts of it.

What Do I Do If My Husky Is Having A Seizure?

Husky and owner
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After identifying that your husky is having a seizure you may feel like a helpless observer, however, you are far from it. Although none of us would like to ever witness this our beloved pooches, there are a few important steps we can take to help our huskies, even when they are mid-seizure. 

  1. Stay safe and keep calm – It’s extremely important that we remain calm and level-headed as your dog’s health relies on your ability to focus. You’ll also want to take a look at your surroundings to make sure there is nothing around that could harm them, if there is, gently move it out of the way. Do not try to touch, or move your pet as they could end up biting you. It’s best to leave them to handle the seizure.
  2. Check the time – Knowing when the seizure started and how long it lasted is very important as it will give your vet key information about your husky’s symptoms. If the seizure has lasted more than a couple of minutes your dog is at risk of hyperthermia. If you can keep, your dog cool by applying cold or wet towels to their neck, groin, paws, and head. Or if you have a fan turn it on and point it in their direction. 
  3. Take a video – Although this is likely to be the last thing on your mind, taking a video will also provide key details about your husky’s seizure to your vet. Instead of you remembering all the symptoms and exactly what your husky was doing, a video will show your vet firsthand what happened. If you have someone else with you, get them to take the video while you time the length of the seizure.
  4. Be reassuring – Witnessing your husky having a seizure is very unsettling, and our initial instinct is to cuddle them, but in this situation, you’ll want to stay away from them. Offering them reassurance by saying their name and telling them everything will be ok is the best thing for them. They are also going to look for you when they come round so being there as the first person they see will help to relax them and keep them safer and calmer. 
  5. Call your vet – Once the seizure is over it’s important to call your vet, even if your husky seems normal. There are two types of seizures however that require immediate emergency treatment; cluster seizures and Status Epilepticus. These two types of seizures often require medical intervention and overnight hospitalization to help stabilize your pooch.
  6. Keep a journal – If this is the first time you’re pet has had a seizure, it’s worth keeping a note of it. It’s highly likely that this is a one-off, however, some seizures can reoccur. By documenting the time, date, and how long it lasted will give your vet valuable information should your husky have another. It can also provide key information on the cause or reason behind the seizures.

What Can Trigger A Seizure In A Husky?

Siberian Husky with beautiful blue eyes. Close-up Portrait of Beige and white cute and happy Siberian Husky dog.
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There are plenty of things that can trigger a seizure from toxins and diabetes to viral infections and heatstroke. It isn’t always easy to know what the actual cause is. While some seizures might occur due to genetics, others could be due to the medications they are on. 

Common causes of seizures in Huskies can include the following:

  • Ingesting something toxic or poisonous
  • Heatstroke
  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Epilepsy
  • Head injury
  • Heartworms
  • Encephalitis 
  • Brain tumor or cancer
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Electrolyte problems
  • Nutritional Imbalances (thiamine deficiency)
  • Viral Infections (distemper, rabies)

Regardless of the underlying cause, seizures occur due to faulty electrical activity in your husky’s brain.

Treatment For Seizures In Huskies

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Depending on the cause of the seizure will depend on the possible treatment available. Your vet will run a series of tests to determine the root cause of your husky’s seizures. If no cause can be found then the likely diagnosis will be Idiopathic Epilepsy

Once a diagnosis has been made, your vet will work with you to find the best treatment for your pooch. This may include medications or keeping a seizure diary. Alternative treatments can also include complementary therapies like acupuncture or even a change in diet. A dog’s diet that includes medium-chain fatty acids as a fat source may be able to decrease seizures in some dogs.

How To Prevent A Husky From Having Seizures?

Husky in snow
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You need to be aware that your husky could have a seizure when you are not home. So, while stopping the seizures altogether may not be possible, prevention is the next best thing. By following these steps you can potentially help keep them safe, should they experience another seizure:

Take precautions – Look for potential dangers and mitigate them. For example, if you have stairs in your home, use a stair gate to keep your husky away from them. This way if your pet was disoriented after having a seizure it lowers the risk of them sustaining an injury from falling down them. 

Track medications – If you’ve been given medication to help manage your husky’s symptoms it’s really important that you are consistently giving them their medication. While we all know our lives can be pretty hectic, it might be worth keeping a medication diary or setting constant reminders on your phone so you never miss a dose. 

Watch out for side effects – Many anti-seizure medications have side effects. Some of these side effects can be temporary and last anything from a couple of days to 2 weeks, others can last a lot longer. If you notice any of the following side effects, contact your vet immediately; your husky is very lethargic, has trouble walking, or changes in their behavior. It might mean that the specific medication is not suitable for your husky and a new one will need to be found.

Are Huskies Seizure Prone?

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There are three types of seizures that occur in dogs; reactive, secondary, and primary. 

Reactive seizures are caused by the brain’s reaction to a metabolic problem, such as low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin.

Secondary seizures are usually a result of brain trauma, tumor, or stroke.

If no underlying cause can be found, that would link the seizure to being a reactive or secondary seizure, then the likely answer would be that it’s a primary (idiopathic epilepsy) seizure. Primary seizures are usually inherited conditions. Episodes will usually begin between 6 months and 3 years of age. 

Some breeds are more prone to seizures than others. Just like Alaskan Malamutes, huskies are predisposed to getting epilepsy. If diagnosed with epilepsy, your husky will more than likely require lifelong medication to keep their seizures under control and regular blood tests to monitor side effects and efficiency of the medication.