How Many Seizures Can Dogs Have Before Dying?
The frequency and length of seizures will have a huge impact on your dog’s prognosis. Seizures that last long enough can be immediately life threatening as the blood and energy supply to the brain is cut off.
If your dog’s seizures last for more than 5 minutes or if they have multiple seizures (more than 2-3) within a 24-hour period, then the brain could eventually be starved of energy and shut down. Therefore, these situations are an emergency, and your dog should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Do seizures cause brain damage in dogs?
A study published in AVMA explains that dogs with head trauma may develop seizures at a greater rate than dogs in the general canine patient population. The study also adds that seizures can occur mainly in the immediate to early posttraumatic period; clinicians should remain vigilant about developing posttraumatic seizures and treat patients accordingly.
Tufts Now adds that dogs typically have seizures while sleeping at night, so veterinarians rarely observe a patient mid-seizure. Thus the need for pet parents to video or explain in detail what the seizure looked like.
VCA Animal Hospital explains that affected dogs may appear completely normal between seizures and that a single seizure is rarely dangerous to a dog. AVMA adds, “However, if the dog has multiple seizures within a short period (cluster seizures), or if a seizure continues for longer than a few minutes, the body temperature begins to rise. If hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) develops secondary to a seizure, another set of problems needs to be addressed.
Dogs with extreme diabetes can enter a state known as diabetic ketoacidosis. This results in electrolyte disturbances within the blood and seizures may follow. It’s also possible for seizures to occur as a result of overtreating diabetes -they could have a seizure if they develop hypoglycemia because of accidentally receiving too much insulin.
Life expectancy: The general median survival time for dogs with diabetes left untreated is 60 days. Treated and controlled diabetics may live full life spans. However, if your dog is having seizures or displaying other unusual neurological activity, then they are likely in a much later stage of the disease (See my article on Final Stages of Dog Diabetes). Take your dog to the vet immediately as prompt treatment may be able to reverse the seizures.
When it is time to consider euthanasia: If your dog has been having seizures for a while, and their diabetes is getting more difficult to control then euthanasia may be an option. Learn more in our article signs that your dog may be dying from diabetes.