Metabolic and toxic causes of canine seizure disorders: A retrospective study of 96 cases

Vet J. 2011 Feb;187(2):272-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2009.10.023. Epub 2009 Nov 25.


A wide variety of intoxications and abnormal metabolic conditions can lead to reactive seizures in dogs. Patient records of dogs suffering from seizure disorders (n=877) were reviewed, and 96 cases were associated with an underlying metabolic or toxic aetiology. These included intoxications by various agents, hypoglycaemia, electrolyte disorders, hepatic encephalopathy, hypothyroidism, uraemic encephalopathy, hypoxia and hyperglycaemia. The incidence of the underlying diseases was determined. The most common causes of reactive seizures were intoxications (39%, 37 dogs) and hypoglycaemia (32%, 31 dogs). Hypocalcaemia was the most frequent electrolyte disorder causing reactive seizures (5%) and all five of these dogs had ionised calcium concentrations ≤0.69 mmol/L. Eleven per cent of dogs with seizures had metabolic or toxic disorders and this relatively high frequency emphasises the importance of a careful clinical work-up of cases presented with seizures in order to reach a correct diagnosis and select appropriate treatment options.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Dog Diseases / etiology*
  • Dogs
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / veterinary*
  • Hypocalcemia / complications
  • Hypocalcemia / veterinary
  • Hypoglycemia / complications
  • Hypoglycemia / veterinary
  • Metabolic Diseases / complications
  • Metabolic Diseases / veterinary*
  • Poisoning / complications
  • Poisoning / veterinary*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Calcium