Seizure disorders are common and there are many causes. The most common cause of seizures in dogs between one and five years of age is primary (idiopathic) epilepsy. Primary epilepsy is generally treated with various anticonvulsant medications. Although not always required, a complete seizure workup may be recommended and could include: bloodwork to screen for metabolic or infectious causes, brain imaging (MRI) to search for structural problems, and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for signs of inflammation.
A seizure is composed of three phases: preictal, ictus, and postictal; not every seizure includes all three phases. Thorough description (e.g. video) of a possible seizure can help the veterinarian determine the type of seizure and how it can best be treated.
Seizure types can be separated into the following categories:
- tonic-clonic/grand mal
Both types of partial seizures can spread resulting in secondary generalized tonic-clonic seizures.
Pets thought to have seizures should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. The condition of rapidly recurring seizures without recovery between episodes is called status epilepticus and is considered a serious medical emergency.
The following list includes some of the more common signs associated with seizures and is not all-inclusive.
- sudden/violent shaking
- dilation of pupils
- loss of consciousness
- involuntary urination/defecation
The following list includes some of the more common diseases associated with seizures and is not all-inclusive.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
- feline immunodeficiency virius (FIV)
- feline leukemia virus (FeLV)
- breed-specific encephalitis
- small dog encephalitis
- pug dog encephalitis (PDE)
- metastatic neoplasias, e.g lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, adenocarcinoma, melanoma
- heavy metals
- head injury
- storage diseases
- thiamine deficiency
- portosystemic shunt
- hepatic microvascular dysplasia
- liver failure/hepatitis
This information is meant to be a guide and not a substitute for veterinary care.
Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.