Seizures or convulsions are involuntary, uncoordinated muscle motions that can be associated with alterations of consciousness, sensations, behavior or elimination. They are caused by abnormal brain activity and a strong discharge that stimulates the muscles of pats or the whole body.
Seizures are fairly common in pets and can be a manifestation of a primary brain disorder or secondary to a systemic disease. Primary brain disorders include Epilepsy, brain tumors, parasites, abscess, hemorrhages or vascular accident (strokes), infections (encephalitis) and head trauma. Systemic diseases include liver, kidney and metabolic diseases (low sugar, low calcium). Many toxins also cause seizures.
Young and newborn dogs are prone to congenital problems such as hydrocephalus and liver shunt. Canine distemper can cause seizures in young as well as older dogs. Primary epilepsy is very common in dogs and some breeds (Cocker spaniel, German shepherd, Labrador retriever and others) are more predisposed to it.
Cats are prone to vascular causes and tumors (meningioma). Flea product and other toxicities are also common in cats. Liver diseases and renal failure are frequently seen as well.
Rabies is a very important disease of public health concern that can cause seizures in dogs and cats.
Seizures are often a medical emergency and are alarming in their manifestations. Every pet with seizures should be presented to the veterinarian immediately as they require rapid medical intervention and accurate diagnosis. It is best to rap the pet in a blanket and rush him/her to the closest clinic.
Commonly used diagnostic tools are blood tests, x-rays, cat scans, MRI’s, EEG (electroencephalography) and cerebrospinal fluid analysis.
Treatment varies depending on the underlined cause and may include medications or surgery.[Back]