Seizures in pets are
scary, but very treatable. You feel helpless, hopeless and panicked when
watching it happen. What should you do if you suspect that your pet has had a seizure? What
are the treatment options and prognosis? When are seizures an emergency?
In some cases, your dog or cat may not need medication, but there are
things you should know about epilepsy and seizures in pets and what you
can do to keep you and your pet safe.
What is a seizure?
Although seizures are often thought of as dramatic events, there are a
number of different types of seizures, some of which may appear to be
A generalized seizure (Also known as grand mal seizure, fit or
convulsion) generally causes
an acute decrease in state of consciousness, repeated movements of the
body, excessive salivation, vomiting and often a loss of bladder and
bowel control. This event may last from 30 seconds to a few minutes. It
is generally followed by a period of drowsiness, difficulty walking or
seeing as well as changes in behavior which can last around 24 hours.
This is known as the "Post-Ictal" period.
The other main type of seizure is a focal motor seizure which is a much
less dramatic occurrence. A focal motor seizure will cause just a
repeated twitching movement in either the face or limbs and usually only
lasts a few seconds. These type of seizures may often go unnoticed
especially if they involve fairly innocuous movements like swallowing.
Seizures are one of the most frequently seen neurological problems in
pets. A seizure is also known as a convulsion or fit. It may have all or
any combination of the following:
1. Loss or derangement of consciousness
2. Contractions of all the muscles in the body, stiffness, or sudden,
muscle twitching or slight shaking of a limb.
3. Changes in mental awareness from non-responsiveness to
hallucinations, including staring and altered vision.
4. Involuntary urination, defecation, or salivation
5. Behavioral changes, including non-recognition of guardian,
viciousness, pacing, and running in circles. A seizure may last from one
to five minutes. Afterwards, the pet may seem exhausted, confused and
What causes seizures in pets?
Seizures can be caused by numerous things - poisons, skull injury, viral
and bacterial infections, congenital malformations, heat stroke,
parasites, fungal infections, low blood sugar (diabetics), and so on. By
doing a physical exam and blood work, most causes can be eliminated.
Seizures occur because of a change in the electrical activity of the
brain. This can be caused by a variety of things including diseases of
the nervous system and the brain itself such as epilepsy. Seizures may
also be the result of a blow to the head, chemicals, poisons, fever and
even nutrient deficiencies such as calcium deficiency in nursing
What are the three phases of a seizure?
Seizures consist of three components:
1) The pre-ictal phase, or aura, is a period of altered behavior in
which the dog or cat may hide,
appear nervous, or seek out the guardian. He may be restless, nervous,
whining, shaking, or salivating. This may last a few seconds to a few
2) The ictal phase is the seizure itself and lasts from a few seconds to
about five minutes. During this period, all of the muscles of the body
contract strongly. The pet usually falls on his side and seems paralyzed
while shaking. The head will be drawn backward. Urination, defecation,
and salivation often occur. If it is not over within five minutes, the
animal is said to be in status epilepticus or prolonged seizure.
3) During the post-ictal phase, there is confusion, disorientation,
salivation, pacing, restlessness, and/or temporary blindness. There is
no direct correlation between the severity of the seizure and the
duration of the post-ictal phase.
Is your pet in trouble during a seizure?
Despite the dramatic signs of a seizure, the animal feels no pain, only
bewilderment. They do not swallow their tongues. If you put your fingers
into his mouth, you will do no benefit to your pet and will run a high
risk of being bitten very badly. The important thing is to keep the
animal from falling and hurting himself. As long as he is on the floor
or ground, there is little chance of harm occurring. If seizures
continue for longer than a few minutes, the body temperature begins to
rise. If hyperthermia develops secondary to a seizure, another set of
problems may have to be addressed.
What is the conventional treatment for seizures?
Treatment for seizures is directed at the underlying cause or disease in
cases where this is known. Anti-epileptic drugs such as Phenobarbital
are commonly used to prevent seizures which are severe or occur
When should I consult my pet’s veterinarian?
Seizures are frightening to witness. Stay calm. Try to time how long the
seizure lasts. First thing to do is to stay clear. Seizing animals may
bite (without knowing it) and trying to hold them down may cause injury.
They will not 'swallow their tongue' as you may have heard. Keep fingers
away from the pet's mouth. Remove any objects in the area that can
injure the animal.
Call your vet. With the first seizure, the patient receives a
full physical exam, blood work up, and is monitored -- seizure control
medications usually wait at this point. UNLESS the first seizure is a
severe cluster seizure (several happening at once) or a continual
seizure called Status Epilepticus, this is a medical emergency. If
anything is found on physical or blood work that may cause seizures, the
underlying conditions will be addressed and treated. It is important to
seek medical care for your pet if he/she has more than one seizure per
month, has changed behavior in between the seizures (Excluding the
“Post-ictal” period directly after the seizure) or becomes generally
lethargic, has difficulty in walking or refuses food.
What should I do if my pet experiences seizures?
While the owner should keep a diary of when/where the
seizures occur, how long they last, was the animal acting
strangely/doing any activity in particular before the seizure, and how
long after the seizure did it take for the animal to be 'normal'. This
may provide clues if a pattern is noticed.
There are definite seizure triggers for some animals, and if they can be
identified, the number of seizures can be reduced if the trigger
(activity, excitement, etc.) can be avoided.
What can be done to prevent future seizures?
Veterinarians generally prescribe 1-2 weeks of anticonvulsant therapy.
If there are no more seizures during that time, the anticonvulsants are
gradually discontinued. The next treatment is determined by how long it
takes for another seizure to occur. That may be days, months, or years.
At some point, many animals have seizures frequently enough to justify
continuous anticonvulsant therapy. Since that means that medication must
be given every 12 to 24 hours for the rest of your pet's life,
veterinarians usually do not recommend that until seizures occur about
every 30 days or unless they last more than five minutes.
It is important to avoid sudden discontinuation of any anticonvulsant
medication. Even normal dogs and cats may be induced to seizure if
placed on anticonvulsant medication and then abruptly withdrawn from it.
Your veterinarian can outline a schedule for discontinuing the
A prevention plan is a simple method of enhancing the level of nutrition
and making lifestyle changes. It is an attempt to address any special
needs your pet may have.
Rule out other health problems such as Thyroid, Diabetes, Cancer, Liver
or Kidney disease. A health problem may be triggering seizures.
Until recently, once the cause was diagnosed, the only options were strong anticonvulsants that could have
serious side effects. Sometimes, these still are your only option. However, over the past decade, natural
approaches have been found to be helpful in some patients, either prior to stronger medications or in
addition to them, so that you may not need as high a dose.
Feed High Quality Food
Poor nutrition is a direct cause of many major and minor diseases.
Therefore, a commitment to optimum health and longevity for your pet
must include a high quality diet.
Research has shown that a low quality diet -- meaning a diet loaded with
stabilizers, coloring agents, sodium nitrate (found to produce
epileptic-like changes in the brain activity of rats who ate it
regularly) and by-products -- can lead to allergies, nervousness,
hypertension, diabetes, weight problems, dry skin, and many other common
Because of what goes into pet foods today and what does not, it is
important to know how to read labels, and know the history of the
company manufacturing the pet food. Judys Health Cafe has done extensive
research on many of the pet food companies and we recommend
Life's Abundance Premium Health Food for Dogs and
Life's Abundance products use high quality ingredients - healthy
ingredients that are useful to your pet's body. It is essential to
choose a high quality food.
It is also important to supplement your pet's food.
This is important, since every animal
is unique and has different nutritional needs. Even healthy dog and cat
food may not provide all of the vitamins and minerals your pet demands.
Differences in pet age, surroundings, exercise level, and genetic makeup
produce animals with widely varying needs. Some dogs and cats may need a
quality supplement in addition to a quality food. Your pet shouldn't be
the only member of the family without their daily vitamins!
Life's Abundance All Natural Wellness Food
A wonderful and effective natural remedy for prevention and control of
seizures and epilepsy in dogs and cats is EaseSure. EaseSure is a 100%
natural blend of herbal and homeopathic ingredients specially selected
to treat and prevent seizures in pets. It may be used to relieve acute
seizures of multiple causes immediately and may also be used
preventatively for the treatment of chronic seizure disorders.
EaseSure Drops may be used instead of or along with your pet's
for seizures. However, it is not recommended that you discontinue your
pet's prescription medication without consulting your veterinarian. Also
consult your veterinarian first when deciding to use EaseSure
simultaneously with prescription medication so that your pet's progress
may be adequately monitored. EaseSure is easy to administer to pets and
comes in convenient drop form.
Learn more about EaseSure, Ingredients, Dosage and
Support Your Pet's Immune System
"Nearly everything that goes wrong with us, with the exception of trauma
- i.e. broken bones etc., can be traced directly to an immune system
failure" says Rob Robertson, M.D.
Transfer Factor for Pets is
the Ultimate Immune System Booster for animals-
A Major Breakthrough in
Health Care and Prevention for your Pets.
Learn more about Transfer Factor, Ingredients,
Dosage, and Testimonials
Remove Toxins By Avoiding Flea and Tick Medications
Innocently, we try to help our pets remain free of parasites such as
fleas, ticks and heartworms and inadvertently end up putting multiple
toxins in their body. No one knows what many of these different
chemicals may do when combined in the body. These studies have simply
not been done. Some veterinary neurologists suggest that certain
heartworm medications and flea prevention products may lower the seizure
threshold of dogs and may make seizures more difficult to control.
We offer a complete line of
Flea Free All Natural Flea and Tick products
- the natural
alternative to chemicals such as Frontline, Advantage, Sentinel and
Over the past decade or so, many veterinarians have become
increasingly convinced that a
number of vaccines are doing more harm than good for our animal
companions. Some remain
necessary, even mandated by law, such as rabies. But not all the annual
have been traditionally given now appear to be necessary and they may be
Read entire article on vaccines
Epilepsy and seizures are very treatable conditions. Pets that are
diagnosed can go on to lead a long, happy life. Just make sure that you
work closely with your veterinarian and ask questions so you understand
the problem and can provide the proper care.
One can see now
that there are many natural options that can help our pets with seizures.
Any information provided here is NOT to replace a veterinarian visit;
please take your dog or cat to a vet immediately at any sign of odd
behavior or any symptoms of illness or injury. Call your vet and
describe your pet's symptoms with any of your concerns about the his/her
well-being. Your veterinarian may discover changes in your pet's health
that you have overlooked. It is always better to err on the side of