Written by Dr. Brittany Yates – Special to MyDesert
January 16, 2014
What do I do if my pet has a seizure?
First thing, try not to panic.
Next, try to grab a hold of your pet. Do not try and stick your hand in their mouth and grab their tongue. During a seizure, pets are not aware of you, and may accidentally bite you.
If you can, try to video the episode your pet is experiencing. This will help your veterinarian determine if this was indeed a seizure. Also, try to time how long the episode lasts and any characteristic things your pet does during it.
A seizure is an abnormality in the electrical activity of the brain. There can be various causes of seizures in dogs and cats, and they can sometimes be mistaken for syncope, or fainting. Fainting is a sign of heart disease, which needs to be differentiated from neurologic disease.
Pets that faint, recover much quicker than pets having a seizure.
Epilepsy of unknown origin can occur in young or middle-aged pets. Older pets suffering from seizures, with no previous history of them, may have a mass in the brain. Trauma to the head can also cause seizures, as well as common household items such as chocolate, macadamia nuts, human medications, pest-control products, even sugar-free gums that contain the ingredient xylitol.
Seizures occur in three phases.
- The first phase owners can miss because the pet is often asleep. If they are awake, pets will tend to pace and appear anxious.
- The next phase is the actual seizure where the pet may fall over, shake violently, lose control of their bladder and bowels and be non-responsive to human contact.
- The last phase is where the pet is trying to recover and may act disoriented for several hours.
After a seizure, your veterinarian should be notified and an appointment made to see your pet. At this visit your veterinarian may recommend performing bloodwork to make sure there are no obvious abnormalities or refer you to a neurologist for an MRI.
If your pet continues to have seizures your veterinarian may then start antiseizure medications.
via Ask the Vet: Dealing with pet seizures | The Desert Sun | mydesert.com.