Seizures in Animals

There are many causes of seizures. Most common cause is Idiopathic epilepsy most common in dogs, this is an inherited disorder, other causes include liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumours, brain trauma or toxins.

What types of seizures?

Absence Seizures formerly known as petit mal, a seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain which leads to sudden but short-lived changes in animals’ behaviour and / or movement.

Loss of voluntary control, often seen with convulsions jerking or shaking movements and muscle twitching.

Irregular attacks that start and finish very suddenly

Attacks that appear very similar each time and have a repetitive clinical pattern

Tonic-Clonic or convulsive seizures formerly known as grand mal these seizures involve both tonic stiffening and clonic which is twitching or jerking phases of muscle activity. These start with a simple partial seizure, the animal may experience changes in sensation, mood or emotion leading up to the tonic clonic seizure.

Atonic Seizure known as drop attack, type of seizure that causes sudden loss of muscle strength, these seizures are also called akinetic seizures where the animal falls to the ground usually conscious and may not always fall.

Clonic Seizure means fast stiffening and relaxing of a muscle that happens repeatedly.

Myoclonic Seizures Quick, uncontrolled muscle jerks, Jerky or rhythmic movements, unusual clumsiness.

What is the long-term impact of a Seizure? If a pet has a prolonged fit or many convulsions within a short space of time, there is a higher chance that they could suffer brain damage and a risk that the body temperature will rise and cause damage to other organs if the seizure lasts a long time.

What to do when an animal has a seizure? Prevent the animal hurting itself during a seizure keep them away from stairs, cushion their head, gently hold and comfort them until they begin to regain consciousness.

What will the vet prescribe?  Depending on the severity of the seizure they will advise an antiepileptic drug (AED)

How Long do Seizures last? Usually last from a few seconds to a few minutes, with a focal seizure, abnormal electrical activity happens in only part of the brain. Focal seizures can cause unusual movements in one limb or one side of the body. Sometimes they last only a couple of seconds

What can trigger a seizure in a cat? The most common cause of a seizure is a toxin exposure, flea and tick medication, sprays, dips, and shampoos that contain chemical called pyrethrin that can cause a cat to have a seizure.


Is my cat in Pain?  No, your cat is not in pain this is a result of abnormal brain activity communication between the brain and the rest of the body goes temporarily haywire.

Some Recommendations: Essential Fatty Acids. Pet owners and veterinarians alike recommend routinely introducing fatty acids into a dog's diet. ...

  • Dietary Changes
  • Homeopathic Oils
  • Acupressure
  • Melatonin
  • Honey
  • Scuttelaria Laterifolia – Skullcap

Scuttelaria laterifolia (Skullcap)
 is a well-known calmative and antispasmodic herb and will help to reduce over-stimulation that can lead to seizure occurrence.

Vitamin B12 recommended findings suggest that folic acid and vitamin B12 supplements should be included in epilepsy treatment. The study, “Effects of antiepileptic drugs on the serum folate and vitamin B12 in various epileptic patients,” was published in Biomedical Report

Scullcap and Valerlan: Is a natural herbal treatment which has been used for centuries to control seizures.

Natural Calm Care which has Ashwaganda extract which is good for seizures and stress and behavioural issues. Also, Valerian Root Extract and Magnesium may exhibit calming and soothing qualities.  

Drugs such as potassium bromide or phenobarbital can help control seizures. As always, ask your veterinarian for recommendations for your dog's specific problem. Alternative therapies are sometimes helpful. Some owners report a drop-in dog seizure activity after using acupuncture but, again, check with your vet first

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