Posted on

Seizures and Epilepsy in pets – (Part I)

Social Share

What is A Seizure?

A seizure is an external manifestation (something we can see) of abnormal, intermittent electrical activity in the brain. Although seizures may only occur occasionally, the source or cause of the electrical abnormality is our top concern.{{more}} It is important that we determine, to the best of our ability, where the seizure activity comes from if we are to best help, if not cure, your pet.

A seizure is also sometimes referred to as a convulsion, a fit or an ictus. A common form of a seizure may consist of the following symptoms: the dog stiffens, loses consciousness, urinates and salivates, jerks intermittently, and paddles and then recovers. Before the seizure, the dog may run to the owner or whine as if it feels uneasy or knows something is about to happen. This is called an aura and may last a few seconds or many hours. After the seizure, the dog may pace up and down or in circles, be disoriented, lose sight or may show behavioral changes. These are called post-ictal signs and may last from a few minutes to several days. The seizure itself usually lasts from 1-5 minutes, although it may be much longer. If a seizure lasts more than 15 minutes, or if one seizure rapidly follows another, the dog is said to be in “status epilepticus.” “Status epilepticus” is an emergency situation.

Recognizing A Seizure

Depending on the parts of the brain affected by the burst of electrical activity, the signs that the dog shows during a seizure may vary. For example, if the behavioral areas of the brain are affected, then changes in behavior may be apparent. The dog may also seem to be hallucinating. Similarly, if the visceral centers are involved, the dog will urinate, salivate, defecate or vomit. Muscle spasms, twitches and paddling are the result of motor areas of the brain being affected. Loss of consciousness, disorientation and hysteria are a result of effects on the centers controlling the alert state of the dog.

Continued next week

For further information, contact: Dr. Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd. Tel: 456 4981