Your usually charming puppy seems confused and unsteady. Then he flops to the floor. Even though he's unaware of what's happening, he looks like he's treading water. He's having a seizure - uncontrolled, abnormal bursts of electrical activity in his brain. The condition affects how your pet behaves and looks. Seizures may look like uncontrollable shaking and can last from a minute to several minutes. Unlike cats, this condition is widespread in some breeds like Belgian Shepherds. At Animal Health and Medical Center in Abilene, our veterinarian shares more information about pet seizures.
The two leading causes of seizures include the following:
- Intracranial causes of seizures are illnesses that cause either functional or structural changes in your pet's brain. The most common intracranial causes are genetic epilepsy, autoimmune diseases, nutritional imbalances, tumors, brain trauma, infectious diseases like rabies and canine distemper virus (CDV).
- Extracranial causes of seizures stem from anywhere in the body and can affect your pet's brain. The most common extracranial seizures include hyperthermia, hypocalcemia, hypoglycemia, liver diseases, hypothyroidism, or ingested poisons like caffeine and chocolate.
As a pet parent, it helps to know the symptoms of pet seizures, so you know when and how to handle the condition. Symptoms of dog seizures include the following:
- Stiff muscles
- Staring blankly
- Running in circles
- Going completely unconscious
- Defecating or urinating uncontrollably
- Falling to the floor helplessly instead of lying down as usual
Your vet will require a detailed history, including when the seizure occurred, the pet's behaviors during a seizure, how often the seizure has been observed, and how long it lasted. Our vet will perform a neurological and physical exam. Depending on your pet's history, laboratory tests like blood cell count, urinalysis, and blood chemistry will help determine possible causes. These tests evaluate kidney and liver function and look for blood glucose levels. In addition, our vet can order a CT scan or MRI of the brain.
Here are five potential treatment methods for pet seizures:
- Calming - Speak calmly to your puppy during a seizure, but don't pet it! They might not recognize you and can be afraid, often leading to accidental biting. They might be unable to control themselves and can bite because of this.
- Medication - Dogs that have been diagnosed with seizures are fit for seizure medication.
- Emergency Treatment - If your dog has a seizure that lasts longer than five minutes, especially in a row, it needs emergency vet treatment. This can include IV medication to stop the seizure and prevent further brain damage.
Contact Animal Health and Medical Center in Abilene, TX
Our veterinarian at Animal Health and Medical Center in Abilene strives to provide the highest quality care for our patients. Our animal clinic offers pet services like exams, vaccinations, surgery, and emergency care. Contact us today at (325) 695-7140 for the diagnosis and treatment of pet seizures.