Seizures affect both males and females. Some are diagnosed as children and some not until adulthood. A patient that has seizures can shake, have convulsions, have loss of bodily functions, and have mental impairments. But pets can also be at risk or have seizures themselves.
An animal that has an irritation in the brain can have a seizure; It’s almost like the brain has a short-circuit. They can experience brain damage, death, have a hard time breathing, and their body temperature can become high. In an article written by Dr. Bernier of Montreal West Veterinarian Hospital, it states that during a seizure, a dog’s legs can become rigid and make a paddling motion. And after the seizure has run its course the dog can pace and even be blind for a while.
There are two kinds of seizures; generalized or partial. Partial seizures are when only part of the brain is affected which will cause confusion, dizziness, muscle spasms or tremors. However generalized seizures affect more parts of the brain. And like humans, animals can lose control of bladder and body function. In a human it can be quite frightening but at least when the episodes are over, they are able to verbalize what they felt or what they remember prior to the incident. Animals on the other hand aren’t able to tell us anything.
Things like calcium deficiency, heart worm disease, blows to the head, or poisoning can cause a seizure. But at times, its cause cannot be determined. So if a pet owner feels that their best friend may be having seizures, a trip to the veterinarian is needed. There the doctor can run tests such as CBC, BUN, ALT, ALP, Urine Tests, Glucose and Lead levels, Skull X-Rays, or an EEG. These tests can be quite expensive and time consuming because some require fasting.
If in fact it is a seizure disorder that the pet is diagnosed with, there is treatment available. Veterinarians prescribe anti-seizure medications like Diazepam, Phenobarbital, Primidone, and Potassium Bromide. But with all medications there are side effects, so some pet owners try natural treatments like changing their pet’s diet and activity level.
Because pets are special members of the family, it’s important to keep up on their vaccinations, provide a healthy diet, and encourage regular exercise. Since they do not have a voice, pet owners have to speak for them. Keeping an eye on them should be a priority to ensure safety and a long and happy life.
Dr. Michael Bernier
Montreal West Veterinarian Hospital