Dog has seizures in the front yard

This is a weird one. I have a foster dog, Scarlett Jo. Scarlett is 2-3 old, spayed, on heartworm preventative. She appears to be a catahoula mix. Normally, Scarlett stays in a dog run in the back yard, weather permitting. If the weather’s bad, I’ll put her in the run to potty, then bring her back in the house. However, on a few occasions I’ve walked her on a leash in the evening.

The first time she had a seizure, I was walking her on leash, she was running along, sniffing the ground. She acted like she was grabbing something on the ground, the she started violently shaking her head, foaming at the mouth and backing up rapidly. She came out of it after a few seconds. It was dark so I thought maybe she’d grabbed a toad. She was fine afterward so I gave it no thought. A month or so later, took her out in the front yard, same thing, only a more prolonged seizure complete with paddling, eyes rolled back in her head and loss of bowel and bladder control. She recovered quickly and was fine. Last night it was cold and rainy. Took her out to potty and bam, she had a major seizure just as soon as she was out in the yard.

This only happens in the front yard. I’ve walked her in the backyard with no issues. I thought maybe she was pulling too hard on her collar and cut off her air or blood supply but she pulls just as hard in the back. Front yard hasn’t been treated with anything, has mostly Bermuda and bahia grass with a few weeds. I can’t figure out why she seizes in the front and not in back.

We had a young dog who had seizures for some time after vaccines. It went away, in time.

What creatures are in your front yard? Snails? or some kind of bug or frog?

None that I know of. No weird critters, no weird plants, no chemicals. I have a “country yard” which means whatever grows in the pasture grows in the yard.

Is there an electrical line or something running underground there?

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Has she been in the front yard without having a seizure? If so, how many times?

I am wondering if it’s mere coincidence. If, for example, she has been in the front yard 30 times in the last 2 months, but has only had 3 seizures…it might not be connected.

Obviously I have all of the concerns that others have mentioned - insects, pesticides/chemicals, etc. Any electric fencing?

I’d halt all heartworm and flea treatments for now. If you read up on the side effects, some dogs
and cats react with seizures to those chemicals.

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Is that one of the herding breeds that can have problems with ivermectin, and is there any ivermectin in the medications you are using?

(I think this is mostly the collie-type dogs.)

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I dont recall her being in the front yard any time other than the times I mentioned. Maybe the day I brought her home and when she went to the vet to be spayed.

There is a fiber optic cable in the front yard but it’s not connected to the system. No electric fence. She wears a Seresto collar and is on heart guard + for heartworm and worms but has been on both of those for a while with no issues. No problems in back yard.

What does the vet think? It kinda sounds like coincidence re: the front yard, to me. And is it possible she’s had seizures in the back yard that you didn’t witness? Obviously I have no idea – just trying to throw out ideas.

Has the vet put her on any meds? You might want to ask about cbd oil – I know I’m only talking about a sample size of one, but it really helped the one dog I’ve had who had seizures. She was also on levetiracetam, but the CBD oil helped smooth/level out/raise her threshold, it seemed like. And the cbd oil was prescribed by the vet, too – I had no idea it was useful for seizures. When my dog had the first seizure, I wish I’d responded more aggressively. I figured it was kind of a one-off because of some other stuff going on with her medically – but once she had the second, the frequency really ramped up. I wish I’d used the CBD oil more prophylactically, and right away.

Scarlett Jo’s sound pretty pronounced, with the length of time and the eye rolling and loss of bladder/bowel control. Good luck getting to the bottom of things fast! Best wishes to her. Thanks for being a foster mom!

Some dogs with epilepsy have certain triggers that owners are able to identify ie stress around feeding time, travel in the car, etc. It is possible that hers are triggered by increased stress/excitement of being in the front yard since she goes there less frequently.

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It’s a long shot, but along those same lines have you had a blood test? My old dog had anemia in the last few weeks of her life. She could function normally most of the time, but if there was increased effort or excitement, she would have what looked like a seizure. This happened when she chased a squirrel and when the Jehovah’s witnesses came to the door. (vet suspected a bleeding tumor on her spleen but she was also old and surgery was not an option)

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Since I am searching for a new dog I came across several breeds that have genetic seizures. Unfortunately having a cross breed or AKA mutt doesn’t eliminate the risk for carrying the seizure gene or other diseases.
The things I am learning while trying to find a dog ,its truly horrible what our breeding has done to canines.

You really need to change your way of thinking. “Breeding” doesn’t cause seizures. Those defects already existed. But, when humans care for animals, they don’t die natural and early deaths like they would in the wild, nor do they get beat out for breeding opportunities because there is a better, more robust “stud” in the pack.

Certainly, breeding without being able to identify underlying genetic issues has created situations where certain defects are correlated with specific traits - e.g. deafness in Dalmations. But good breeders have worked long and hard to identify and eliminate these negative qualities.

There are really only two options – not allow breeding at all (aka PETA) and let weaker/defective specimens be purged by natural selection (which is not possible)…or, work with reputable breeders who put their time and energy into selection of healthy breed traits for their breeding stock.

Best thing you can do - don’t support crappy breeders. Those are the ones that don’t even try to eliminate the easy stuff, let alone difficult issues like epilepsy.


In Scarlett’s case I’m sure it breeding has nothing to do with it as she’s a mutt, maybe with some catahoula. She was dumped on a county road close to me. I’ve had her a little over a year.

Triggers can cause seizures. Heightened excitement can be a big one. The excitement itself or the wide down after excitement.

Does she get more excited about going out front then out back? A lot of times the back yard is regular territory and the front is for patrols. Lots of dogs look at going out front like going on an adventure.

The one dog I had with seizures had her first seizure ever during a super big fun day of excitement/play date. Like you I had no idea what was going on. Unlike yours mine had no idea who I was when she came to, freaked out and took off (she was off leash), jumping in a lake and swimming away from me. I had to strip down and jump in after her to grab her. It was a big lake and she was not coming back.

I believe that this is a common age for epilepsy to present itself in dogs. Even if you’re able to identify a trigger, if she has epilepsy then even avoiding the trigger won’t make the epilepsy go away.
What does the vet say?

Hope your foster doggie is doing ok. Any update? It is a bit weird that she has only happened to have seizures while on leash in front yard with you, and the history is a bit unclear from your post, but it sounds she is kept in outdoor run/backyard and also inside your home, too, but not often (as or very often) leash-walked and/in front yard. This suggests me that she might be having other/more seizures that you don’t observe. If she is out in her run or backyard without you , or even inside the home bufor hours a day,

sorry not sure why that suddenly posted midstream. Meant continue to say that she could be having episodes that you don’t actually see because they are only a couple random minutes out of 24/7 timeframe if that makes sense.

Also, seizures are weird and inexplicable sometimes. My bad seizure dog had his first seizure, first seizure cluster, and also most of his other random seizures and clusters primarily in the middle of the night and wee morning hours. Who knows why. Night and wee morning hours didn’t cause his seizures, of course. But that was certainly his pattern.

Certain stimulation/over-stimulations can also be a seizure trigger for some dogs. For whatever reason, some dang thing pushes them over their (lowered) seizure threshold and and bang that’s it. That could be happening in the front yard for this dog for reasons that aren’t immediately apparent. Again, it may happen to happen in the front yard, but the front yard is not actually causing the seizures, if that makes sense.

Out of curiosity, what happens when you take her on-leash to any new or otherwise stimulating or potentially overstimulating environments? If you have not done anything like this with her already, then maybe do it as an experiment to see if her seizures are by chance stimulated by those kind of novel situations. This kind of information about how her disorder manifests will help her and her future forever family longterm