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Seizures in Pets

on February 17, 2016
Posted in Cats

Seizures can be very scary if they happen to your pet.  Seizures in pets are usually accompanied by thrashing, yelping crying, excess drooling, and possibly urination and defecation. They result from abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This can be caused by things outside the brain such as electrolyte imbalances, hormonal problems, metabolic imbalances, low blood sugar, low calcium, liver disease,   and high blood pressure or things inside the brain–such as tumors, inflammation, infection, parasites, trauma or “idiopathic”.  Idiopathic means that the experts do not know what is causing the problem. Both cats and dogs can seizure although seizures are more common in dogs.

In some breeds of dogs, seizures can have a genetic component.  Inherited epilepsy is common in Beagles, Dachshunds, Keeshonds, German Shepherd Dogs, Belgian Tervurens, and others. Breeds with a high incidence, but in which inheritance has not yet been established, include Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters, Poodles, Miniature Schnauzers, St. Bernards, Siberian Huskies, and Wire Fox Terriers. Even mixed breeds can be afflicted with epilepsy.

Although seizures in pets are very frightening to watch, the majority of them are mild and very short lived–less than a minute, although it seems much longer when it is your pet! It is extremely important to work with your veterinarian to determine the cause of your pet’s seizures.

If your pet experiences a seizure, a diagnostic evaluation can include:

  • Complete blood count and/or blood chemistry profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Liver function tests
  • Blood pressure tests
  • Evaluation of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Imaging studies such as a CT or MRI scan
  • In some cases, consultation with a neurologist.

Treatment for seizures will depend on the cause. If a cause can be determined for a seizure, the treatment is aimed at eliminating the cause.  If the dog or cat has an inherited epilepsy condition then things like phenobarbital and potassium bromide may be prescribed. Milk Thistle is recommended for liver support if these medications are used as they can cause stress on the liver. The link is here:

In spite of this treatment, some dogs still experience seizures.  These are the dogs that I see for alternative therapy. Alternative therapies that are commonly prescribed are homemade diets, free of pesticides, hormones, and preservatives, acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy, Food therapy or homeopathy.

If your pet has seizures, it is important to seek out the best help for your best friend.







Read also: Pet Dental Care – A Guide to Pet Oral Health

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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Milk Thistle is an effective herbal supplement to help a variety of cat liver and digestive disorders, particularly for disturbances of bile ducts.

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