Why Does My Yorkie Have Periodic Seizures?

Kiki is a two year old, male Yorkie (toy). He is very playful & loving. He's a great dog. Periodically, Kiki will have a seizure. The seizures tend to last between 10 to 30 minutes. His body begins to stiffen significantly and he shakes uncontrollably. While having his seizure, he also drools a lot and pants heavily. My wife and I try to give Kiki NUTRICAL when he's having a seizure with hopes that maybe his blood sugar level is low. We've noticed that some of his seizures have come consistently at around 2:30am in the morning with others in the middle of the day. Kiki's feeding intervals are mixed. Sometimes he is fed every few hours. Other times, he is left alone in the house for up to 12 hours (with a big plate of food) due to our commute. Kiki was tested for shunts by our vet. The tests came back negative. We do notice that he does get nervous easily, particularly when he gets groomed.
If you need any other information, let me know and I'll post an update. Thanks all!


What about epilepsy? I am really surprised your vet has not suggested that possibility. Do the seizures start in his back legs maybe? He starts having trouble walking and then the shaking starts? Epilepsy is common in small breeds. I have a shitzu poodle mix and I have to give her phenobarbital for her epilepsy. I could not figure it out at first…she would loose all control over her back legs and shake..and it got worse with time. I am truly lucky I have such a good vet. My dog is currently 14 and has been being treated for epilepsy for 7 years. It has helped her significantly. She would often seize at the groomers as well..any stressful situation could set it off. If your dog has a seizure before you can get to the vet – wrap her in a warm towel and hold her gently – Feed her water through a dropper. I hope this helps.

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11 Responses to “Why Does My Yorkie Have Periodic Seizures?”

  1. Becca the Prankster says:

    TAKE HIM TO THE VET.
    References :

  2. Madison says:

    Dogs can be epileptic and there are medications the vet can prescribe for this. You need to check with your vet because every seizure causes brain damage. Also, make sure you feed the dog three times a day because it prevents low blood sugar.
    Also, 12 hours is a long time to leave a dog unattended. You really should have considered that before getting a dog.
    References :

  3. Gems says:

    toy breeds are prone to a number of neurological problems, if your dogs having seizures it NEEDS to go to the vets for a through check up uncluding scans, x-rays, blood work.
    your vet shoudl have done much more than simply test for shunts…

    nerves will not cause seizures and if hes left with food its NOT hypoglycemia (meaning the nutrical wont help) id leave food down for him all the time, but i doubt thats it.

    please get him back to the vet, if your vet wont do the throught work up you need to find a new vet that will, it could be anything from a genetic defect, to water on the brain, to a tumor, to epilepsy…
    if its epilepsy or a genetic defect it could be controled with medication…
    References :

  4. marniechildress says:

    I was told by my sister that her friends dog (not sure which breed) had started having seizures after using Frontline for fleas…I use it on my own Yorkie with no problems, though after hearing about that I keep a close eye on him…
    References :

  5. leighcheri34 says:

    What about epilepsy? I am really surprised your vet has not suggested that possibility. Do the seizures start in his back legs maybe? He starts having trouble walking and then the shaking starts? Epilepsy is common in small breeds. I have a shitzu poodle mix and I have to give her phenobarbital for her epilepsy. I could not figure it out at first…she would loose all control over her back legs and shake..and it got worse with time. I am truly lucky I have such a good vet. My dog is currently 14 and has been being treated for epilepsy for 7 years. It has helped her significantly. She would often seize at the groomers as well..any stressful situation could set it off. If your dog has a seizure before you can get to the vet – wrap her in a warm towel and hold her gently – Feed her water through a dropper. I hope this helps.
    References :

  6. rod85 says:

    I would speak with your vet, since it seems the seizures have been worked up. Usually the cause of seizures is idiopathic, meaning there is no know identifiable cause. Brain tumor may rarely be a cause, but it is usually seen in older dogs. There are medications which may be used to decrease the frequency of seizures.

    I'm not a vet, but I am a physician. I have also previously owned a dog with seizures.
    References :

  7. rescue member says:

    We are not vets and we can not see Kiki – your vet needs to.

    Please stop trying to medicate this little guy yourselves and get him back to a vet, preferably one who can do something for him. If he is having epileptic seizures, please know that it is not all that uncommon in dogs and there are medications to control and prevent them – phenobarbitol being chief amongst them.
    References :

  8. WooHoo says:

    Causes of seizures in dogs: epilepsy, diabetes and hypoglycemia, poisons or toxins, brain tumors.

    Here are some videos that show both petit and grand mal seizures in dogs with epilepsy…..and a good explanation because I couldn't get the videos to work (!)

    http://www.thepetcenter.com/gen/epilepsy.html

    A high fat, ketogenic diet (like Atkins and other very low carbohydrate diets) may help:

    http://www.epilepsy.com/epilepsy/treatment_ketogenic_diet.html

    ———- You may need a specialist or a second opinion if you cannot find a cause or at least a way to address the symptoms.
    References :

  9. ratlover1 says:

    I'm sure you know that nobody here could possibly diagnose your dog. But, here are some questions for you.
    I'm sure the vet has checked Kiki's blood glucose at some point. Was it normal? Does the vet think hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) could be a possibility? Or is it possible that Kiki is diabetic? For hypoglycemic episodes in our diabetic patients, we always recommend keeping some corn syrup on hand (honey works too) to rub on their gums if they are unresponsive. However, if it was hypoglycemia, you would notice that Kiki would act weak, lethargic, confused, and/or trembly some time before the seizure. If the seizure comes on quickly with few signs, it is more likely due to something else.
    How often does he have a seizure? Often, if the seizures are no more frequent than once a month and last only a minute or so, a vet will choose not to medicate. Talk with your vet, of course. I am concerned that the seizures last 10 to 30 minutes…did you mean seconds? If you are not sure how long they really last, time one. Seriously. I had a GSD with epilepsy, and although each seizure in actuality lasted 30 seconds to a minute, it felt like ten minutes or more. So get an accurate time. If the seizures last more than a minute, he probably needs medication. A seizure that continues can cause severe hyperthermia (overheating) which can cause organ damage, brain damage, or death.
    I'm curious as to what tests the vet did to check for a liver shunt.
    Try to get his feeding schedule set. Everyone and evey pet is different, but I recommend feeding a set amount twice daily. Free-feeding tends to encourage weight gain, and for diabetics can really get their blood sugar levels out of whack.
    Then keep a 'seizure diary'. We had to do this for our dog. Keep track of when each seizure occurs, how long it lasts, anything you notice before the seizure, and what that day was like (what you did, what Kiki did, what he ate, etc.). Then take it to your vet to decide what to do next.
    I wish you and Kiki the very best of luck!
    References :
    RVT–specialty clinic, dermatology/internal medicine

  10. teener_b says:

    If blood tests and MRIs have ruled out any physical cause, then this falls under the category of ideopathic epilepsy. If they occur frequently, like more than twice a month, you really should look into putting him on phenobarbital to control the seizures. You can get more information from the canine epilepsy website:

    http://canine-epilepsy.com/
    References :
    proud mom of an "epi" dog

  11. joanie m says:

    First I would suggest not trying to feed your dog or give him water while he is seizing hard so that he won't have anything go into his lungs while he is out of control.

    I have had at least 5 dogs over the last 33 years that have had seizures and every one of them seemed to have a different type. The first dog had short seizures that could have been a result of her having lived through distemper as a puppy. They were of rather short duration with no loss of body fluids. They were early onset and lasted her entire life which was of average span, she lived 13 years and was a 50 pound husky lab mix.

    I had a Great Dane that had big, huge, body slamming, long lasting seizures that completely stumped the vet. They started in mid-life and they went on a minimum of 30 minutes. They would go on so long that he could be loaded into the van and driven to the vets office and he would still be thrashing all the way and in the clinic. The vet would administer injections and the seizures would still not end until they were ready to end. I thought that maybe his could have been a result of being kicked by one of my horses but I never observed him getting kicked. It was just all I could think of for a possibility. The vet didn't know. He lived with his seizures until the age of 9 1/2 years which is a pretty good life span for a Great Dane.

    I had a Boston Terrier who developed sudden seizures out of no where when he was also 9 1/2 years old. My first thought was that he had been poisoned. One vet diagnosed epilepsy. I KNEW it wasn't epilepsy, he was too old for that to start and the seizures really racked his body too hard. He had accidents during his seizures. THe next vet thought it was a brain tumor so we did blood work to narrow down whether he had been poisoned. Bad news was his blood work came back totally healthy. That meant brain tumor. It was too fast acting and he died in my arms just 6 weeks after his very first seizure.

    I had a poodle and a Mexican Hairless with very light seizures that could have been epilepsy.

    Some things that I found out after all this experience was that there could be hundreds of causes for individual dogs' seizures and other than a tumor, you really need to treat the symptoms while slowly trying to get to the bottom of a diagnosis, if a diagnosis will ever come.

    Just please don't try to make the dog ingest anything during any seizure. THe best advice of all the posts I read was the honey on the teeth but still you should evaluate him to see if he actually has a sugar problem at all.
    References :
    Life time of dogs

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