How To Handle Seizures in Pets

how to handle seizures in petsIs your pet susceptible to having seizures? It can be one of the scariest times in any pet owner’s life. Your pet starts a seizure and you are left feeling completely helpless.

For some pets, a seizure may be a one time occurrence, but in others it may become a regular thing. Knowing how to recognize and handle a seizure will tremendously help you, and your pet, get through a seizure should one occur.

How to Recognize and Handle Pet Seizures

Recognizing the Why

It is first important to understand why the seizure is happening to your pet. Typically, there are three main causes for a seizure. The first could be environmental. Your pet may have ingested a potentially dangerous substance that is causing the seizure. Or, head injuries in animals have been known to cause seizures.

Your pet may also be suffering from a seizure because of an illness. Both liver and kidney disease, as well as blood pressure irregularities and strokes can cause seizure in pets. The last possibility for what is causing your pet’s seizure is a genetic disorder. Certain breeds are more prone to genetic epilepsy, but just like people, animals can be born with epilepsy which can cause regular seizures.

What to do During the Seizure

Typically, owners will report a “warning period” right before a seizure starts. This is a time when you may notice that your animal is scared or nervous and may stay particularly close to you. Other owners report that their animal is dazed or distant during this time leading up to a seizure. Once the seizure actually begins you will probably notice your pet on his or her side, kicking or running. Your pet may foam at the mouth and might urinate during the seizure.

It is most important to remember that your pet is not in any pain during this period and will not have any memory of what is happening to them. Never place your hands near your pet’s mouth. There is a chance that the animal can bite down while in his or her seizure and will not be able to release his or her jaw. It is also a good idea to remove anything that is near you pet that could cause him or her harm and move your pet if there is a chance he or she could fall off of a surface and injure themselves. Many owners report it is helpful to talk to your animal in a calm voice to reassure them during the seizure.

Understanding the Seizure

Typically there are two main types of seizures. The first is a grand mal seizure where the pet exhibits the typical signs of seizure with a kicking or swimming motion. The second type of seizure is called a petit mal seizure and often, can go completely unnoticed. In this type of seizure the animal may simply stiffen, tremble, or have the eyes roll in the back of his or her head. Seizures typically last only 30 seconds to a few minutes.

After any type of seizure it is very important to contact your vet immediately. It is very important to remember as many details as possible about the seizure including any environmental changes or what happened immediately before the seizure occurred. Depending on your animal’s medical history your vet may want to perform blood work to see if they can determine a cause for the seizure. If your pet’s seizure become regular, it can often be managed quite successfully with daily medication.

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