pet seizure

Tips to Deal with Seizures in Pets

In Uncategorized by Cara Armour

By Arden Moore

Seizures in Pets

Seeing your dog or cat collapse and thrash about during a seizure is jarring, even frightening to witness. You may even feel powerless. But as we teach in our Pro Pet Hero classes, your best asset is knowledge – knowing what to do and what not to do.

By definition, a seizure can last a few seconds or up to several minutes. What is happening inside your pet’s body is abnormal electrical activity in his brain. This causes a disconnect between the brain and the body’s systems, resulting in unconsciousness, body shaking and sometimes, uncontrollable urination and defecation.

Veterinarians add that the actual seizure may be preceded by a phase known as an aura or a preictal phase. You may notice that your pet is acting strangely restless or may become unduly clingy or even whimper or whine. Your pet may appear to be disoriented or confused or sleepy. After the actual seizure, a pet enters the postictal phase and may appear confused, restless or very sleepy.

Possible Causes of Seizures

There are many causes for seizures. Your pet may be suffering from a brain infection or tumor. He may have suffered a concussion from striking his head against a hard object or surface. He may be experiencing a high fever due to infection or heat stroke or from eating something
poisonous. Some seizures occur in pets who may have diabetes, liver disease, kidney issues or low oxygen concentration in the blood known as hypoxemia.

Breed also may play a factor. Dogs are more prone to seizures than cats. Any dog can experience
a seizure, but these breeds are more prone to a higher predisposition to developing seizures:
 Beagles
 Bernese Mountain Dogs
 Border Collies
 Boston Terriers
 Boxers
 Cocker Spaniels
 Collies
 Dachshunds
 English Springer Spaniels
 German Shepherds
 Golden Retrievers
 Irish Setters
 Labrador Retrievers
 Pembroke Welsh Corgis
 Poodles
 Pugs
 St. Bernards
 Shetland Sheepdogs
 Siberian Huskies
 Wire-Haired Fox Terriers
Sometimes, the cause is not known – a condition veterinarians refer to as idiopathic epilepsy.

At-Home Action Plan

If your pet is experiencing a seizure, here are some key care tips to follow:
 Say the time out loud when your pet is first having a seizure and again, say the time out loud when the seizure stops. Report these times to your veterinarian.
 Resist trying to control your pet’s body from causing a seizure. You risk being bit or injured.
 Do not put your fingers in your pet’s mouth as you may get bitten. The pet is not at risk of swallowing his tongue.
 Remain calm. Do protect your pet from injury by ushering other pets out of the room and placing cushions from the sofa against the hard coffee table or other pieces of furniture.
 Do lower the blinds and dim the lights as there is some evidence to suggest that bright lights can aggravate the pet.
 Once your pet is conscious, do immediately contact your veterinarian. Share what you observed and safely transport your pet to the clinic for prompt medical treatment.

Be aware that during a seizure, severe muscle spasms can raise your pet’s body core temperature and may even lead to heat stroke if the temperature is 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Once your dog is conscious, you can attempt to lower the body core temperature by dipping his paws
in cool water or placing cool washcloths over his feet.

Common medications used to treat seizures in dogs include potassium bromide and phenobarbital as well as anticonvulsants.

Learn Pet First Aid

Learn more on ways to keep your cats and dogs safe by visiting Consider taking our veterinarian-approved online pet first aid/CPR course. Enter this code: CPR– ARDEN MOORE and receive a 10 percent discount! And, if you are interested in becoming a Pro Pet Hero instructor, please click on the BECOME AN INSTRUCTOR button on the home page for more details.