How can I treat and manage my dog’s epilepsy?

My English Springer Spaniel Toto (7) has “sleep” in his eyes every morning which can be hard and crusty on a regular basis. I’ve heard that this breed of dogs can have problems with their eyes – when should we be concerned?

The so-called “sleep” is a small accumulation of secretions and debris that sometimes accumulates at the corner of the eye when an animal has slept. When awake, the normal blink of the eye prevents it from gathering. Usually, the “sleep” is dark brown or black in color, and its consistency ranges from watery to hard and crusty. Ideally, there should be no “sleep” present at all. If the tear ducts (which carry tears from the corner of the eye to the tip of the nose) are blocked, the tears tend to accumulate in the eye and, as they dry, they can leave traces of “sleep”. “.

Also, if there is inflammation of the eyes or the lining of the eyes (the ‘conjunctiva’: inflammation is called ‘conjunctivitis’), it can cause extra secretions which may appear as ‘sleep’. Minor inflammation is a common cause (eg caused by pollen allergies, sensitivities to environmental irritants). Just try cleaning the eyes twice a day with lightly salted water (a teaspoon of salt in a liter of boiled, cooled water). If the problem persists, even if it is only minor, it would be best to go to your veterinarian for a diagnosis. The vet will check his tear production (if a dog has “dry eye”, with reduced tear production, this can exacerbate sleep), tear flow (excluding blocked tear ducts) as well as other issues possible (such as tiny ingrown hairs on the eyelids) that could cause continued irritation.

What may initially look like “sleep” in a dog’s eyes could actually indicate a more sinister underlying condition such as conjunctivitis or blepharitis and it is advisable to consult your veterinarian.

My dog ​​ate large amounts of butter stolen from the kitchen twice, should I be worried?

—Sam, East Cork

As with humans, moderation is key when it comes to eating butter. A small amount of butter (perhaps a tablespoon a day for an average sized dog) won’t do any harm, but more than that can cause problems. Butter is high in fat (80%) and high in calories (so it will contribute to a dog’s overweight or obesity), and second, it puts specific demands on the dog’s metabolism (high fat meals can cause diseases such as pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas). It’s much easier to get a dog to stop eating butter than a human: just stop giving it. Dogs cannot open refrigerator doors or lift butter dishes from cupboards. But owners must learn the importance of setting firm boundaries for their pets, not giving in to “big eyes” or other needy behaviors, in the interest of better health for their animals.

High fat meals (if eaten too often) can cause serious damage to your pet's pancreas.
High fat meals (if eaten too often) can cause serious damage to your pet’s pancreas.

— Name hidden

There are no early signs of epilepsy: a dog can suddenly start having seizures at any stage. The first sign of epilepsy is usually a generalized seizure (or seizure), lasting one to five minutes, when they fall on their side, paddling on their legs, convulsing in a state of unconsciousness. A seizure can occur on a one-off basis, but usually with epilepsy it starts to occur regularly and treatment is needed when it occurs more often than about every month, or if it occurs in clusters (several seizures , one after the other ).

Epilepsy tends to start in young dogs (six months to four years old) and is often a lifelong problem that needs to be managed. Daily anti-epileptic medications are necessary for most dogs, and they are usually (but not always) effective. Close veterinary supervision is important, but you can help your vet by keeping an accurate seizure diary (when, specifically, do seizures occur, how long do they last, and are there any predisposing factors such as than flashing lights, exercise, etc.). It’s also helpful to take a video of your dog having a seizure to show the vet.

Your Staffordshire bull terrier may need <a class=medication for his epilepsy. Try keeping a diary and note any trends that form.” title=”Your Staffordshire bull terrier may need medication for his epilepsy. Try keeping a diary and notice any trends that form.” class=”card-img”/>
Your Staffordshire bull terrier may need medication for his epilepsy. Try keeping a diary and notice any trends that form.

Since she was a puppy, I wanted to do agility with my Collie Minnie but I read that they had to be at least two to start. She is almost four years old now. Do you have any tips on how to get her started on this journey?

— Denise, Liege

Dog agility is a wonderful sport, which keeps active dogs like Minnie both physically and mentally fit, and it’s also a social and enjoyable activity. She’s in her prime, and she’s likely to learn quickly. There’s plenty you can do in your own backyard: equipment is readily available online and there are plenty of Youtube videos that introduce beginners to the sport. However, it is best to work with others who have acquired skills and experience. In Ireland there are many enthusiasts, but no dog agility organization that connects everyone across the country. There are two useful Facebook pages (“The Official Irish Agility Group” and “IKC Competitive Agility”) while the Working Trials Club of Ireland ( and the Irish Kennel Club ( helped promote the sport.

However, local enthusiasts (such as Eva at are most likely to be the key to getting you started with Minnie. Get in touch with one of the people above and find out what’s going on in your area. You will receive useful tips on the way to success in this exciting activity.

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