A seizure or convulsion is a sudden excessive firing of nerves in the brain. It results in a series of involuntary contractions of the voluntary muscles, abnormal sensations, abnormal behavior, or some combination. A seizure can last from seconds to minutes. The severity of the seizure can vary between a far-away look or twitching in one part of the face to falling on the side, barking, gnashing teeth, urinating, defecating and paddling limbs.
Seizures are symptoms of some neurological disorder – they are not in themselves a disease. Some underlying causes include low blood sugar, liver disease, inflammatory or infectious diseases of the nervous system, poisons or toxins, brain tumor, head trauma or epilepsy.
There is no current accurate estimate of the incidence of seizure episodes in dogs. Seizures occur in both males and females with equal frequency, and many pets have one seizure and never have another.
Diagnosis and Treatment Notes:
- The underlying cause of a seizure disorder is generally diagnosed by physical examination, including a neurologic examination, history, bloodwork and urinalysis. Depending on physical exam findings, additional tests may be recommended. In some situations, an MRI or CT scan of the brain may be suggested.
- Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the seizures, the frequency of the seizures, your individual pet, and your veterinarian. Treatment will depend on if an underlying cause is determined. Some pets will benefit from surgery, special diet, anticonvulsant (seizure) medication, steroids or other drugs to help treat the condition. Discuss treatment details when your pet is diagnosed with this condition.
What to Watch for*:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Gnashing teeth
*Please notify us if you notice any of the above signs or if you have any questions!