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Watching a beloved pet go through a seizure can be terrifying--and heartbreaking. Learning as much as you can about pet seizures can help you understand your pet's condition. Here's what you need to know about pet seizures, and what to do if your pet has one.
A seizure is a neurological disorder, which means it's affected by the brain. Seizures often cause pets to move involuntarily and are sometimes called fits or convulsions. Symptoms of pet seizures include falling over, paddling legs, confusion, excessive drooling, and urinating and defecating uncontrollably. Repeat seizure episodes are referred to as epilepsy.
There are many reasons for pet seizures. Some cats are diagnosed with epilepsy, although the condition is more common in dogs. The most common reasons dogs and cats experience seizures include:
Some dog breeds are prone to seizures, including Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, keeshonds, and beagles.
You may have heard that people and pets can swallow their tongues during a seizure. This just isn't true! Don't put anything into your dog or cat's mouth during a seizure. In fact, keep your hands away from your pet's mouth--he or she could accidentally bite you.
Instead, make sure your pet is safe during a seizure. If your pet is in an unsafe location, gently move him by dragging his hind legs. Time the seizure--your veterinarian will want to know how long it lasts. The average seizure length is just 10 to 60 seconds. If your pet's seizure lasts more than five minutes, it's considered a medical emergency. Three or more seizures in a 24-hour period are also considered severe.
If this is the first time your pet has had a seizure, you'll need to contact your veterinarian right away. If your vet's office isn't open, contact an emergency veterinarian immediately.
After a seizure, your veterinarian will examine your pet. They'll check for underlying conditions that may be causing your pet's seizures, which usually includes lab work. Seizures that occur less than once a month are usually not cause for concern. In some cases, your veterinarian will recommend anti-seizure medication, which must be given to your pet for life.
Although they are fairly common, seizures in dogs and cats are often a source of concern for pet owners. Arm yourself with knowledge about your pet's condition, and ask your veterinarian if you have questions. To make an appointment with the caring professionals at Hamilton Road Animal Hospital, call 614-239-0027.
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