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Pet Seizure FAQ

Seizures in pets should always be considered a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment by your veterinarian in Los Angeles. Involving abnormal electrochemical brain activity, seizures may last for a few seconds or as long as 15 minutes. In some cases, signs of a seizure can be barely noticeable (slight body twitching, half-closed eyes, immobility) while other signs of a pet seizure include loss of consciousness and extreme leg flailing. If you suspect your pet is having a seizure, don't hesitate to contact our veterinary clinic.

Pet Seizures

What are the Signs of a Pet Seizure?

Grand mal seizures are the most intense type of seizure, causing pets to salivate excessively, lose consciousness for several minutes and flail or shake uncontrollably. Petit mal (focal) seizures are less acute. Pets having a petit mal seizure may not lose consciousness or shake. Instead, pet owners may only notice rhythmic movements or muscle spasms affecting one side of the body or face.

Why Do Pets Have Seizures?

When no cause can be attributed to a pet seizure, your Los Angeles veterinarian may refer to the seizure as an epileptic seizure, meaning a "short circuit" occurred in your pet's brain. In about 30 percent of all pet seizures, the underlying reason may involve one or more of the following:

  • Tumors
  • Meningitis
  • Low blood sugar
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Low blood calcium
  • Ingestion of toxic substances
  • Severe parasitical infections

Is a Pet Seizure Painful?

Pets have no awareness of pain while seizing because of the enormous amount of electrochemical activity occurring in the brain and because they are unconscious or semiconscious. Although your pet may whine, meow or bark during a seizure, this has nothing to do with feeling pain. It is just your pet's nervous system reacting to abnormal activity in the brain.

What is the Best Thing To Do During a Pet Seizure?

First, take note of when the seizure began and ended. Unless your pet is flailing violently longer than five or ten minutes, the best thing to do is just wait until your pet is done seizing and then take him immediately to your Los Angeles veterinarian. Never hold your pet or try to put something in his mouth if he is having a seizure. You could get bitten or accidentally hurt your pet.

What Medications are Used to Control Pet Seizures?

If your pet develops a pattern of seizures, your veterinarian may prescribe anti-epileptic drugs such as phenobarbital or potassium bromide. Phenobarbital is typically given to smaller dogs while potassium bromide works well to control seizures in large dogs. In some cases, your vet may recommend a combination of phenobarbital and potassium bromide if you have a large dog that seizes regularly.

Schedule an Appointment with our Los Angeles Veterinarian

If you think your pet has had a seizure, please bring him to our Los Angeles veterinary clinic as soon as possible. To learn more about pet seizures or to schedule an appointment, call (818) 760-3882.