What does a seizure look like?
Seizures can range in appearance from ‘focal’ which include signs such as facial twitching to ‘generalized’ which often involve severe muscle contractions and loss of consciousness. During this time they may salivate, vocalize, urinate, and/or defecate. After a seizure occurs the pet may seem disoriented, blind, and/or anxious.
What to do if my pet has a seizure?
Try to remain calm. If possible time and video the event. Try to avoid contacting your pet during a seizure. They will often bite without realizing it so especially keep hands away from mouths. Remove any objects upon which a pet could injure themselves and keep them away from stairs or bodies of water. Bring your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital as soon as possible.
What are causes of seizures?
Seizures can be caused by a variety of reasons. These can be split into intracranial (inside the brain) and extracranial (outside the brain) causes. Intracranial causes include brain tumors, inflammation, epilepsy, trauma, and blood clots. Extracranial causes include toxins, low blood sugar, electrolyte abnormalities, and severe liver or kidney disease.
What tests will my veterinarian want to do?
A thorough physical examination and history will be obtained to better assess the reason your pet had a seizure. Your veterinarian may want to place an intravenous catheter upon arriving so that they can administer anticonvulsant medications more easily if your pet has additional seizures. They will likely recommend bloodwork to rule out the ‘extracranial’ causes of seizures. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is an imaging technique used to examine the structure of the brain. This is ideal when brain tumors are suspected and gives veterinarians more information regarding treatment options.
What treatment options are available?
Treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Using information from bloodwork and other diagnostics, your veterinarian may decide to place your pet on oral anti-convulsant therapy. This is usually reserved for pets who have had more than one seizure within a 1-2 month period. Anti- convulsants are usually given for life and have important side effects to be aware of.