Epilepsy has a permanent solution neither in pets nor in humans. But that doesn’t mean one cannot live a happy and healthy life. With some extra love and caring, our pets can survive through the most difficult of times!
Our pets are simple creatures. They enjoy their walks, naps, and love to eat all kinds of food, even the ones that are not healthy for them. But on the other hand, just like us, their bodies are complex too. Blood, nerves, kidney, stomach, everything needs to function in a rhythm to keep them healthy and happy. But at times even after all the love and caring, things go downhill and our pets end up falling sick. One such illness is epilepsy. TheHealthSite.com spoke to Dr. Dilip Sonune is the Director Veterinary Services at Wiggles.in to understand more about this condition and what are the various symptoms and risk factors associated with this disease.
What Is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition and genetic disorder caused due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. It is a common abnormality reported in many dogs and cats. Epilepsy is also commonly known as getting seizures, fits, or convulsions. While a seizure is a single episode of temporary brain disturbance, epilepsy is a term used to define multiple or repeated episodes of seizures.
Seizures are highly unpredictable. It can occur one at a time or there can be multiple episodes in a single go. The timing and duration are also unforeseeable. While in some cases, a seizure can last somewhere between 30 to 90 seconds, some pets have to suffer for a longer duration. The same can vary in different pets.
What Are The Symptoms of Epilepsy?
The first symptoms of seizures or epilepsy are when your happy-go-lucky pet starts stumbling all of a sudden. They look confused and lost as if they don’t have any control over their body. More often than not this goes unnoticed but if you see anything like this happening to your pet, know that this is a sign of a seizure.
Some Other Symptoms of a Seizure Are –
- Stiffening and involuntary movement of muscles
- Twitching uncontrollably
- Loss of consciousness or partially conscious
- Excessive drooling
- Chomping, tongue chewing
- Foaming at the corners of the mouth and vomiting
While going through a seizure, pets may also fall to their side and start paddling-like motions with their legs. In some cases, they also end up involuntarily peeing and pooping. Since they are not aware of what’s happening to them, they look confused, dazed, unsteady and it seems like they are staring off into space. Once the end of the seizure, they will try to stand but due to its after-effects, they will be wobbly and disoriented. Because of confusion, they may walk in circles and bump into objects. Once they are fine, they may also try to hide out of fear of the incident.
What Causes Epilepsy?
Epilepsy can arise in pets due to neurological genetic disorders and issues. But it’s not always the brain. Pets can suffer from seizures due to multiple reasons like:
- Consuming anything poisonous like medicines, animals, plants etc
- Liver disease
- Hypoglycemia (low blood pressure) or hyperglycemia (high blood pressure)
- Kidney and renal disease
- Electrolyte disturbance
- Toxins in the body
- Cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) disease
- Head injury
Sometimes there are no clear reasons or causes behind a seizure attack. This is termed idiopathic epilepsy. This is the most common form of epilepsy in pets. There is no identifiable cause like infection, toxin, injury etc.
Can My Dog Suffer From Seizures?
While epilepsy can affect any pet of any breed and age, some breeds are unfortunately more vulnerable to it.
- Saint Bernards
- German Shepherds
- Golden Retrievers
- American Cocker Spaniels
- Miniature Poodles
If your pet is showing signs of seizures, please visit your vet as soon as possible. An early diagnosis, tests and medications will bring back normalcy in your pet’s life. While the medications are likely to continue for a lifetime, timely intervention, changes in lifestyle, diet and regular vet visits will be of immense help.
Is a Seizure Attack Painful For My Pet?
A pet parent’s biggest fear and cause of concern is that a seizure attack is painful for their fur baby. But on the contrary, it is not physically painful for pets. While it definitely looks scary and can easily cause panic, pets have no awareness of pain due to the enormous amount of activity happening in their brain. Pets may whine, bark or meow constantly during a seizure attack but it’s not because they are feeling pain.
Unfortunately, epilepsy doesn’t have a permanent solution neither in pets nor in humans. But that doesn’t mean one cannot livea happy and healthy life. With some extra love and caring, our pets can survive through the most difficult of times!
SOURCE: Written by Satata Karmakar on thehealthsite.com