A pet having a seizure can be very frightening. Without warning, your dog begins to shake, drool and convulse. He is having a seizure, and nothing he or you can do will abate the process. It will run its course. A seizure is like a large ocean wave. You can’t stop a seizure any more than you can stop a wave from crashing on the shore. But how you react in those tense moments can make a big difference – perhaps a life-saving difference.
Calling your veterinarian is the first and best step, once you’ve controlled the situation to the best of your ability. Seizures are just symptoms which can occur with many diseases, outside or inside the brain. Low blood sugar or a tumor of the pancreas can cause seizures. They can happen with epilepsy, diseases of the liver or kidneys, or ingestion of toxins. Lesions of the brain such as tumors, abscesses, granulomas, infections, or inflammatory diseases can cause seizures. Seizures cause the body temperature to rise and strain the heart. They can kill. But they can, in an increasing number of cases be controlled. At home, your knowledge and preparedness will prove to be his best defense.
Signs of Seizure
Generalized seizures are marked by convulsions, uncontrollable urination, legs stiffening with repetitive rhythmic jerking, rapid jaw movements and loss of consciousness. Seizures most commonly last for a few seconds to a couple minutes. Smaller partial seizures may be more difficult to recognize, but you should be suspicious of any rhythmic movements, tremors, or glazed staring. Although a “mild” seizure, the effects may be as serious as the other types. After the seizure, the pet usually enters the post ictal phase where it is dazed, lethargic, and not able to walk normally. This phase may last for minutes or hours. A pet may have one seizure and never have another, but most commonly they do recur. Testing can often determine the cause of the seizures. Blood testing, urinalysis, and liver function t tests are commonly done. An MRI of the brain or a spinal tap may also be needed.