5 Things You Didn’t Know About Seizures in Pets

Pets

If you’ve never witnessed a seizure, it can be pretty scary to watch. If you have, you may be more likely to think of your pets are having seizures in the future than you would before.

Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, it’s important to understand seizures in dogs and cats so that you know what to do if your pet ever has one.

Here are five facts about seizures in pets that you may not have known before now.

 

1) Why Are There So Many Different Names For Seizures?

It’s probably pretty confusing for pet owners, too. The term seizure is used very generally to describe a whole host of abnormal brain activity. There are different types of seizures, but there are also different types of abnormal brain activity that may look like a seizure to an observer, but aren’t.

Just because your pet is having behavior you don’t understand doesn’t mean they are having a seizure. If you suspect your pet is having a seizure, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

Your veterinarian will be able to help determine if your pets are having a seizure and what can be done about it. 

 

2) How Many Types of Seizures Are There?

There are two basic types of seizures: focal and generalized. Focal seizures occur when abnormal electrical activity happens within a single part of one hemisphere (the side) of your pet’s brain.

Generalized seizures, on the other hand, involve both sides of a dog or cat’s brain at once. Generalized seizures are more serious because they can interfere with breathing, heart rate, and temperature regulation—three vital functions that could put your pet’s life at risk.

In addition to these general categories, there are several different types of each type of seizures. The most common include myoclonic jerks; absence seizures; clonic seizures; tonic-clonic seizures; and partial complex seizures.

The symptoms vary depending on which type is affecting your pet, but you should be able to recognize them by their telltale signs like muscle spasms, twitching, or loss of consciousness.

If you notice any of these behaviors in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately. Seizures may seem scary, but it’s important to remember that not all of them indicate a major problem.

They can also be caused by low blood sugar, liver disease, or kidney failure—conditions that may require additional treatment. To keep your pet safe from injury during a seizure, make sure he isn’t near stairs or sharp objects while seizing, and don’t try to restrain him unless he appears ready to hurt himself.

Your vet will work with you to determine what kind of seizure your pet has had, then decide if medication is necessary. Seizure medications for dogs and cats have been proven effective in reducing the frequency and severity of seizures, as well as increasing the quality of life for pets suffering from epilepsy.

While no medication works for every patient, it’s worth trying several options before giving up hope on finding something that works for your furry friend.

 

3) Most Common Signs of A Pet That Has Had A Seizure

If you notice your pet convulsing on its side or rolling around, these could be signs of a seizure. While your cat or dog could be struggling with other issues, such as a low blood sugar level, it’s still best to bring him to see a vet.

Uncontrolled seizures can lead to even more serious health problems down the road. For example, recurring seizures can cause brain damage. In addition, some animals may suffer from epilepsy after suffering from one or two seizures; for others, there may not be any long-term effects at all.

It’s important to talk to your veterinarian about your concerns and how often you should watch out for possible symptoms. Keep in mind that certain breeds are more prone to having seizures than others, including poodles, German shepherds, and Great Danes.

This is because their bodies have been bred to carry extra weight (as opposed to dogs bred for hunting). Dogs that are between three months old and six years old are also more likely to experience them.

Cats under five years old who have had head trauma or infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are also prone to having them. The good news is that most cases are temporary, lasting just seconds or minutes.

Even if they do happen regularly, though, they usually don’t cause lasting harm—and in many cases, they stop happening entirely within a few weeks or months.

The bad news? There isn’t much we can do to prevent them besides making sure our pets get plenty of exercise and eat a healthy diet.

 

4) Most Common Causes Of Fits In Our Paws And Claws

The most common cause of seizures in dogs and cats is idiopathic epilepsy. This means that they occur without an identifiable cause. In other words, we have no idea why these fits happen.

There are some breeds that are more prone to them than others, but for most pets, it’s just a matter of chance. Idiopathic epilepsy can be treated with medication, but there’s no way to prevent them from happening again once your pet has experienced one fit.

However, if you take your pet to a vet immediately after noticing any symptoms of a seizure, then chances are good that you will be able to avoid another fit or at least minimize its severity.

What To Do If Your Pet Has A Fit

If you see any signs of seizure activity in your dog or cat (stiffening muscles, twitching limbs), then it’s important to get them under veterinary care as soon as possible. It may not seem like much is going on when you notice a few small muscle spasms, but it could be a sign of something much worse.

Depending on how severe your pet’s seizure was, they may need to stay overnight at the hospital so that doctors can monitor their progress. They may also prescribe additional medications or recommend dietary changes to reduce their risk of having another fit.

 

5) Is There Any Treatment?

Veterinarians can identify your pet’s seizures by watching them closely. If your pets are suffering from seizures, they may be treated with anti-seizure medications such as Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide, but it’s important to understand that there is no cure for epilepsy.

These drugs are used to reduce symptoms, which may include muscle spasms and depression. However, there are alternative treatments you can use at home. For example, you might try supplementing your pet’s diet with Omega 3 fatty acids (found in fish oil) or melatonin (found in health food stores).

Both of these supplements have been shown to help dogs and cats with certain types of seizures. In addition, some people report success using acupuncture on their pets; talk to a veterinarian about whether acupuncture might work for your animal companion.

It’s also important to note that stress can trigger seizures in animals, so keeping your dog or cat calm is one way to keep them healthy. Finally, some veterinarians recommend detraining your pet—taking away all stimulus until they don’t react anymore—but it isn’t a proven method of treatment.

Your vet will likely suggest trying it if other methods aren’t working. But always consult your vet before giving up on training altogether!

There are many ways to live comfortably with epilepsy in both humans and animals.

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