Like people, dogs and cats can get seizures. They can get them from when they are very young or not have their first one until they are a couple of years old.
Seizures can be a scary medical condition, so it is essential to recognize the signs and symptoms of seizures in pets.
The more information you arm yourself with, the better you will assist your furry friend should they experience this medical condition. This blog will help you understand what seizures are, the symptoms to watch out for, and how you can help!
What Are Seizures In Pets?
Seizures are neurological conditions caused by an involuntary disruption in brain activity. The brain signals are getting crossed for one reason or another. They bring on fits or convulsions, which is essentially uncontrollable muscle activity. The estimated amount of dogs affected by seizure activity is 0.75%. Pets who experience reoccurring seizures are diagnosed with epilepsy.
What Causes Seizures In Your Cat or Dog?
Idiopathic epilepsy is one of the most common causes of seizures in dogs. This type of epilepsy is not very common in cats. This seizure disorder is unfortunately inherited, and the underlying causes are unknown. Other causes of seizures include: poisons, skull injury, brain tumour, viral and bacterial infections, congenital malformations, heatstroke, parasites, fungal infections, low blood sugar in pets with diabetes, and more Once the seizure is over, your veterinarian will do a complete physical exam and blood work which will either confirm or eliminate these possibilities.
What Are The Symptoms of Seizures In Pets?
Watching your beloved pet experience these symptoms is probably the most challenging part of the whole experience. Not all seizures are alike, but they are all terrifying to watch your pet go through. Here are some of the things to look for:
- Falling over
- Paddling or jerking of the limbs as if swimming.
- Jaw movements like chomping or grinding of the teeth
- Pupils in both or just one eye may appear dilated and unresponsive as if unaware of their surroundings. Staring or altered vision. Or eyes darting back and forth in rapid eye movement
- Frothing at the mouth. Might cause salivating or drooling.
- Stiff or rigid joints
- Loss of consciousness.
- Involuntary urinating or defecating.
- Violent shaking.
- Muscle twitching or slight shaking of a limb, lose control of hindquarters.
- Vocalization through growling, whining, barking or whimpering.
How You Can Help Your Pet
Your pet feels your stress and anxiety. As scary as it is to see your lovable, active, friendly pet suddenly take on some or all of these symptoms, you must stay calm. If your pet is experiencing seizure activity for the first time, you must get them to the vet right away. The sooner your veterinarian can rule out any potential causes, the sooner you can begin treatment to help your pet.
While your pet is going through an episode, talk to your dog in a calm and loving voice. This will help soothe them. Also, time the seizure. This information will be helpful to your vet.
Please also keep your hands away from their mouth. Involuntary jaw chomping, chewing and clenching can cause serious injury to you, and then you are no good to your pet. Although it may be tempting, do not try to help them through it. There is nothing you can do.
Once the seizure is over, it may take a short time (10-15 minutes) up to several hours for your pet to appear “normal” again. It is essential to keep a log of the following information to take to your vet: What your pet was doing before the seizure started, how long it lasted, what symptoms you observed and how long after the actual episode did your pet appear normal again. Your vet will do the necessary tests to find out what may have caused the seizure. If there was a specific reason for the seizure, your veterinarian will treat the cause, hopefully eliminating any further episodes.
If your vet cannot find the underlying reason for the seizure, they will put your pet on seizure medication right away instead of asking you to keep a journal and keep them updated.
We know it can be challenging to care for a pet with medical issues. That is why we are here to help! Contact us today to see how we can assist with your pet sitting needs!
Morag is the owner and founder of York Regions most trusted premier in-home pet care and dog walking companies. In 2000 she saw a need for an alternative to kennels, catteries for family pets in the area and has always believed that pets are much happier and less stressed staying in their own familiar environment. Morag and her team are all certified in Pet 1st Aid and CPR, she also offers continuous training to her team members through online and hands on pet care and pet behaviour and care courses. Morag has earned her certificate in Professional Pet Sitting, Professional Dog Walking and Canine Attendant training. She has lived in the Newmarket/Aurora area since 1991 is a wife, a mother of 2 adult children and a grandmother of 2 delightful little balls of energy. She has also been owned by fish, birds, mice, rats, cats, dogs, gerbils and guinea pigs and is an advocate for all living creatures. In her spare time she likes to be involved in her community and events travelling, reading and cooking.