Seizures. My pet has had a seizure, what should I do?


Seizures are extremely common in dogs, less so in cats. I would say we will see or treat a dog for seizures every week in our veterinary clinic. A seizure is not a disease in itself – it is a symptom of a disease. Many different conditions can cause seizures but one of the most common is a condition called idiopathic epilepsy.

Other causes include

1. hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)

2. toxins/ poisoning – slug pellets are a common household poison which can cause your pet to seizures

3. trauma

4. Inflammation of the central nervous system

5. Lungworm – a parasite called Angiostrongylus Vasorum, usually contracted by eating slugs and snails.

6. Brain tumours

7. Liver problems (hepatic encephalopathy

What you should do if your pet has a seizure…

If your pet has a seizure don’t panic – they usually don’t last very long. In most cases pets have stopped having seizures by the time they reach our clinics. What you should do if your pet has a seizure is make sure they are in a safe place. Do not try to put anything in their mouths – you may get bitten…

Make a note of when the seizure starts and how long it lasts. If possible video the event as more often than not the episode will be over by the time you reach the nearest vet clinic. Contact your nearest clinic for an appointment as soon as possible. If you suspect your vet has ingested some poison please bring the packaging with you.

Our veterinary clinic details are Lodge Vet Hospital, Lodge Road, Westport, Co. Mayo 353 (0) 98 26006

What we will do when you get to us….

If your pet is still having a seizure or an episode we may have to admit him or her and administer medication to get the situation under control.

More commonly the pet will have recovered when we see them.

In this case your vet will take a detailed history and do a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. We may also want to run some routine blood tests to check for any less obvious causes of the seizure. There is no specific test for idiopathic epilipsy (which is the most common cause of seizures in dogs). Usually the diagnosis is made by clinical signs, history and a process of elimination.

We will then decide on what treatment, if any, is needed.

Dogs diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy typically go on to require long term treatment, however it would be unusual to put a dog on long term medication based on a single seizure.

In most cases the condition can be well managed and these patients usually lead a normal happy life.