Seizures in Dogs & Cats

Seizures in dogs and cats can be a frightening experience for both the pet and their owner. Seizures are episodes of abnormal electrical activity in the brain that can cause involuntary muscle contractions, changes in behavior, and altered consciousness. Here are some key points to understand about seizures in dogs and cats.


Idiopathic epilepsy: This is the most common cause of seizures in dogs, especially certain breeds like Border Collies, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. It typically manifests between the ages of 6 months to 6 years.

Structural brain abnormalities: Tumors, strokes, head trauma, infections, and congenital malformations can all lead to seizures.

Metabolic disorders: Conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, hypoglycemia, or electrolyte imbalances can trigger seizures.

Toxicities: Ingestion of certain toxins, such as antifreeze, certain plants, or medications, can lead to seizures.

Infections: Infectious diseases like distemper or meningitis can cause seizures in dogs and cats.

Autoimmune diseases: Conditions like granulomatous meningoencephalitis (GME) or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) can lead to seizures.

Other factors: Heat stroke, low oxygen levels, or severe dehydration can trigger seizures.


Seizures can present in various ways, including twitching, convulsions, loss of consciousness, drooling, paddling of limbs, urination, or defecation.
Some pets may exhibit unusual behaviors or aura (pre-seizure signs) before the seizure occurs.


Diagnosis often involves a thorough physical examination, blood tests to check for metabolic abnormalities, and imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans to evaluate the brain.

Additional tests may be required based on the suspected underlying cause.


Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the seizures.

Antiepileptic medications such as phenobarbital, potassium bromide, or levetiracetam may be prescribed for pets with idiopathic epilepsy.

Treatment for other underlying conditions may include medications, surgery, or supportive care.


Pets with seizure disorders require ongoing management and monitoring.
Keeping a seizure diary can help track the frequency and severity of seizures, which can aid in treatment adjustments.

Preventive measures may include avoiding potential triggers, providing a stable environment, and ensuring proper nutrition and medication adherence.

If your pet experiences a seizure, it’s essential to remain calm and keep them safe from injury by removing any nearby objects. Contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance and further evaluation. Seizures can be a symptom of a serious underlying condition, so prompt veterinary care is crucial for proper diagnosis and management.

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