What are seizures?
Seizures are episodes of abnormal brain activity that may result in loss of consciousness and involuntary movements.
What causes seizures?
There are many different causes of seizures. Seizures can be caused by low blood glucose, certain dietary deficiencies, toxins, congenital conditions, infectious agents, organ dysfunction, trauma, and cancer. Causes of seizures may ultimately be unknown and this is what we call “epilepsy”.
How can I tell if my pet is having a seizure?
Seizures can present themselves in many different ways. The most obvious seizures are the generalized tonic-clonic seizures that result in stiffness, repetitive muscle contractions, paddling, vocalizations, and loss of consciousness. Seizures can also be partial or focal, resulting in abnormal behaviours such as tail chasing, aggression, attacking invisible objects or abnormal movements in one part of the body.
What should I do if my pet is having a seizure?
- Make sure your pet is in a safe area and move any objects away that could cause injury.
- Keep away from your pet’s mouth, as your pet may unknowingly bite you.
- Call your veterinarian.
What will my veterinarian do?
Your veterinarian will first perform a thorough physical exam. It is helpful to record the seizure activity and show it to your veterinarian to help with diagnosis. Your vet will then likely take a blood sample to see if there is any organ dysfunction that could be causing the seizures. Depending on your pet’s condition, further testing may be recommended and could include taking spinal fluid samples or referring for an MRI.
How are seizures treated?
There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat seizures. The medication your vet chooses will be based on your individual pet’s needs. Sometimes a combination of medications is needed to get good control over the seizures.
What is the long term outlook for my pet?
The long term prognosis is really based on what the inciting cause of the seizure is. Ultimately, many pets with seizures can be managed well with regular veterinary care and live long and happy lives.
If you have any questions give our team at Mitchell Veterinary Services a call.