Nothing in your experience as a pet owner may prepare you for the sight of your beloved friend falling victim to a seizure. These neurological malfunctions can sometimes prove highly dangerous, or even fatal, which is why you need to know that your veterinarian can provide prompt care. Here at True Care for Pets, our emergency vet clinic can treat both the seizure itself, and any underlying health threats that may be associated with it.
Understanding your Pet’s Seizure
Seizures can occur in pets for a variety of reasons. A pet with no tendencies toward a seizure disorder may experience seizures after ingesting insecticides, certain human foods, plants, rugs, medications, and other toxic substances. An injury to the brain can sometimes spark a seizure. Heat stroke is another health emergency that can include seizures among its symptoms.
Pets can also suffer from epileptic conditions, just as humans can. Some animals may be more genetically predisposed to this problem than others, including German Shepherds, Poodles, Collies, Beagles, and Labrador Retrievers. Epileptic seizure triggers can be mysterious, with some cats experiencing them even while sleeping.
Whatever the cause of your pet’s problem, it’s important to understand the types, symptoms, and risks of pet seizures. There are usually three recognizable phases of a seizure:
- A pre-ictal phase in which the pet becomes visibly nervous, upset, or confused
- The ictal phase or seizure proper, which may include full-body spasms (grand mal seizure), paralysis, leg paddling, loss of bladder and bowel control, or hallucinations
- A post-ictal phase in which many of the pre-ictal symptoms are repeated
Seizures in pets should always be considered a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment by your veterinarian in Los Angeles. Involving abnormal electrochemical brain activity, seizures may last for a few seconds or as long as 15 minutes. In some cases, signs of a seizure can be barely noticeable (slight body twitching, half-closed eyes, immobility), while other signs of a pet seizure include loss of consciousness and extreme leg flailing. If you suspect your pet is having a seizure, don’t hesitate to contact our emergency animal hospital.
What are the signs of a pet seizure?
Grand mal seizures are the most intense type of seizure, causing pets to salivate excessively, lose consciousness for several minutes, and flail and shake uncontrollably. Petit mal (focal) seizures are less acute. Pets have a petit mal seizure may not lose consciousness or shake. Instead, pet owners may only notice rhythmic movements or muscle spasms affecting one side of the body or face.
Why do pets have seizures?
When no cause can be attributed to a pet seizure, your veterinarian may refer to the seizure as an epileptic seizure, meaning a “short circuit” occurred in your pet’s brain. In about 30% of all pet seizures, the underlying reason may involve one or more of the following:
- Low blood sugar
- Kidney or liver disease
- Low blood calcium
- Ingestion of toxic substances
- Severe parasitical infections
Is a pet seizure painful?
Pets have no awareness of pain while seizing because of the enormous amount of electrochemical activity occurring in the brain, and because they’re unconscious or semiconscious. Although your pet may whine, meow, or bark during a seizure, this has nothing to do with feeling pain. It’s just your pet’s nervous system reacting to abnormal brain activity.
What’s the best thing to do during a pet seizure?
First, take note of when the seizure began and ended. Unless your pet is flailing violently longer than five or ten minutes, the best thing to do is just wait until your pet is done seizing and then take him immediately to your veterinarian. Never hold your pet or try to put something in his mouth if he is having a seizure. You could get bitten or accidentally hurt your pet .
What medications are used to control pet seizures?
If your pet develops a pattern of seizures, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-epileptic drugs such as phenobarbital or potassium bromide. Phenobarbital is typically given to smaller dogs while potassium bromide works well control seizures in large dogs. In some cases, your vet may recommend a combination of phenobarbital and potassium bromide if you have a large dog that seizes regularly.