Seizure disorders are common in dogs and are seen less frequently in cats. Pets of any breed, sex and age may be affected by seizures. Seizures may be seen with any abnormal process that alters the brain condition and induces abnormal electrical discharges within the brain.
Seizures are characterized by abnormal movements of the face, jaw, and limbs, abnormal level of consciousness, lateral recumbency, and often salivation, urination, and defecation.
Your pet is having a seizure! What can you do?
Stay calm. Do not put hands close to the mouth while the pet is seizing. Carefully move the pet away from potential sources of danger like falling in the pool or rolling downstairs when your pet is convulsing. After the seizure, transport your pet to a veterinarian for consultation. Remember, additional seizures may take place while driving to the veterinarian’s office. For your protection and to protect your pet, keep your pet confined in a crate while in a car.
There are multiple causes of seizures. The goal of the clinician is to confirm that your pet does indeed have epileptic seizures, and not another condition that may mimic epilepsy, such as fainting, narcolepsy/ cataplexy or another “vestibular disease.” The clinician will therefore establish a diagnostic plan before considering the most appropriate treatment.
Treatment can be instituted after a complete diagnostic evaluation. Consultation by your veterinarian and possible additional diagnostic tests remain the most important step in the understanding of the origin of seizures.
Pierre S. Bichsel, DVM, MS
Diplomate European College of Veterinary Neurology
Diplomate American College of veterinary Internal medicine (Neurology)