What is a seizure, and what causes a seizure?
A seizure is any sudden and uncontrolled movement of an animal’s body caused by abnormal brain activity. If you’ve ever seen your pet have a seizure, it can be very frightening. Seizures may be very severe, affecting the entire body, or more mild, affecting only a portion of your pet. During a seizure, your pet may or may not seem conscious or responsive, and could possibly urinate or have a bowel movement.
Seizures have a number of causes, including epilepsy, toxins, low blood sugar and brain tumors. If your pet has recently had or is currently having a seizure, we recommend that you bring your pet into Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital immediately. Our veterinarians can use diagnostic tools to help determine the cause of the seizure and treat the problem.
Diagnosis and treatment at the clinic
When you arrive at the clinic, your pet will be examined immediately, and a thorough neurological exam will be performed. If your pet is actively seizuring, an injection of valium or a muscle relaxer will likely be administered. Once your pet is stable, bloodwork will be recommended to help rule out metabolic disease and any possible toxins.
Some pets that have had a seizure get to go home that same day or night, but we may recommend that your pet stay with us for a longer period of time to monitor for additional seizures. We may also recommend inserting an IV catheter, so that we have access to a vein, should your pet start experiencing another seizure.
Depending on the results of the physical exam, neurological exam and bloodwork, your pet will be treated accordingly. If more advanced imaging diagnostic tools (e.g., CT scan or MRI) are needed, we may refer you to a specialty veterinary practice for further diagnosis.
What to do if your pet has a seizure
If you’re at home and your pet is having a seizure, and you are unsure whether or not to bring your pet in, please call Greenbrier Emergency Animal Hospital as soon as possible. If your animal is having a seizure, also be aware of the following recommendations:
- Protect your pet during and after the seizure. Remove your pet from heights, and keep it away from water.
- Remove other pets from the area. Sometimes, pets may act aggressively soon after the seizure has ended.
- Keep your hands away from your pet’s mouth, as your pet may unintentionally bite you during a seizure. Pets do not swallow their tongues during a seizure.
- Try to determine the length of the seizure, if possible.
- If the seizure lasts longer than 3 minutes, call Greenbrier or your family veterinarian immediately.
- If your pet has more than two seizures in a 24-hour period, seek veterinary attention immediately.
Above all, don’t panic! Call us here at Greenbrier, and our doctors and staff will be here to help you and your pet!
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