Are Seizures Common in Boston Terriers?

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Boston Terriers are amazing sources of love, energy, and companionship, although they are prone to some health issues. You may be thinking: are seizures common in Boston Terriers? I’ll look into the signs and effects of seizures and what I can do when it happens to my Boston Terriers. 

Are Seizures Common in Boston Terriers?

Idiopathic epilepsy is fairly common in several dog breeds, including Boston Terriers, because this is an inherited form of seizures. Meanwhile, older Boston Terriers can experience seizures from structural epilepsy if they develop brain cancer.

While seizures come from underlying health conditions, it’s important that I know the symptoms so I can determine how to respond and what things to avoid. Before that, let’s understand more about how seizures happen in Boston Terriers.

Understanding Seizures in Boston Terriers 

A seizure is a neurological condition in dogs where there’s an uncontrolled electrical activity between the brain cells. In effect, a Boston Terrier would have temporary abnormalities in muscle tone, movements, sensation, behavior, and state of awareness.

Adult Boston Terrier standing on a stool

Also called a fit or convulsion, this involuntary disturbance has different kinds. 

  • Reactive seizure: Comes from metabolic issues like organ failure, indigestion of toxins, and low blood sugar. 
  • Grand mal seizure: Happens when a Boston Terrier loses consciousness and convulses because of an abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain.
  • Focal seizures: As the name implies, this type of seizure happens in a certain part of the brain, causing a Boston Terrier to have unusual movements in one limb or one side of the body. 
  • Idiopathic epilepsy: About 0.75% of the canine population suffer from epilepsy, with this kind causing repeated seizures for no apparent reason. Also called a primary seizure, idiopathic epilepsy is possibly genetic, considering it’s one of the most common forms of epilepsy in Boston Terriers around 1 to 5 years old. 
  • Structural epilepsy: Also called secondary seizures, this applies to Boston Terriers with repeated seizures due to underlying conditions like brain cancer.

Signs of Seizures 

While the actual moment of seizures can be unpredictable, you can watch out for these symptoms.

  • Collapsing
  • Muscle twitching
  • Jerking
  • Stiffening
  • Chomping
  • Drooling
  • Foaming at the mouth 
  • Tongue chewing 
  • Defecating or urinating 
  • Fatigue 
  • Unsteadiness or disorientation 
  • Loss of consciousness

Triggers of Seizures in Boston Terriers

Seizures can happen with no apparent trigger, although these medical conditions can cause seizures. 

  • Ingestion of a toxic substance
  • Low or high blood sugar
  • Infectious or inflammatory disease 
  • Brain cancer 
  • Head injury
  • Liver or kidney failure 
  • Eating poison
  • Anemia
  • Electrolyte problems
  • Stroke 
3 Common Boston Terrier Health Issues

Do’s and Don’ts When Your Boston Terrier Has a Seizure 

Remember these key points when your Boston Terrier is having a seizure.

  • Focus and stay calm: Don’t control your Boston’s mouth or tongue since your pet may bite you accidentally. Remove pieces of furniture or sharp objects that can hurt your dog. Do not give food, water, or medications as your Boston Terrier may choke on these substances.
  • Time the seizure: Take a short video as this can help a veterinarian see and determine symptoms. You can also take down important details such as the day, time, and exact length of the seizure. Note any abnormal behavior before and after the convulsions.
  • Keep the body cool: Your Boston Terrier is at risk of overheating if the seizure lasts for more than five minutes, which may cause breathing problems. Turn a fan on and put cold water on the paws to help cool down the body. 
  • Call a veterinarian: Call an emergency vet if your Boston Terrier makes several seizures in a row while unconscious. Have a veterinarian examine your Boston Terrier and discuss what you can do in the long run.

How to Treat Seizures in Boston Terriers

A vet’s administration of anticonvulsant medication is a form of seizure therapy. The goal is to decrease the seizure’s length, severity, and frequency. Fortunately, about 60-70% of dogs obtain good seizure control as long as they have monitored therapy. 

Woman with gray Boston Terrier puppy

Depending on the severity of the seizure, your vet may prescribe any of these medications.

  • Phenobarbital: Most effective medication for seizure in dogs. However, this has sodium content, so you would need to monitor your pet’s diet and provide quality dog food with minimal sodium. 
  • Diazepam: Also known as Valium, this serves as a sedative to prevent a Boston Terrier’s brain from firing off. 
  • Gabapentin: Works well on dogs with brain tumors. 

Make sure to follow instructions on how to give the medicine to your dog, and don’t miss a dose. In addition, A vet may conduct a physical exam and blood work on your Boston Terrier every 6 to 12 months to check if your pet is tolerating the medication.

Can My Boston Terrier Die Quickly Due to Seizures?

If the seizures turn into frequent epileptic episodes, this may affect your Boston Terrier’s way of life. You may need to consider euthanization if the condition worsens. 

On the other hand, seizures without an underlying cause should let your Boston Terrier enjoy life and die of something else later in life, perhaps aging. 

Related Questions 

Before I wrap up, let’s understand a bit more about the health condition of Boston Terriers. 

Do Boston Terriers Have a Lot of Health Problems?

Boston Terriers tend to have a number of health issues, mainly due to their brachycephalic faces that cause them to have restricted airways. While they have genetic disorders, some health conditions can come from their food, upbringing, and environment.

How Can I Keep My Boston Terrier Healthy? 

Much like caring for any other breed, keeping a Boston Terrier healthy involves routine care, diet, exercise, and grooming. Spending time with Boston Terriers helps improve their mood, especially because they love affection and bonding with their owners.

Can My Boston Terrier Grow Old? 

Despite health conditions, Boston Terriers can enjoy a healthy life of up to 13 years. However, this may depend on genetics, diet, and lifestyle. 

What are the 10 Most Common Boston Terrier Health Problems


Epilepsy is a congenital condition, although it doesn’t automatically mean your Boston Terrier will usually suffer from seizures. Despite seizures being a common occurrence in Boston Terriers, remember that there are many ways to help your pet live a long and healthy life.

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