National Pet Day: Guide to pets’ seizures and epilepsy

National Pet Day: Guide to pets’ seizures and epilepsy

Just like we humans require a good bit of looking after to stay physically and emotionally healthy, so do our animal companions. All pet parents know that keeping their furry friends healthy and free of diseases and injuries requires several things – proper food and nutrition, timely vaccinations, regular exercise and checkups, and above all, being vigilant for any symptoms. However, if a pet has any seizure-like symptoms or an illness like epilepsy, care and treatment can be a lot more complicated, and require a better understanding of the condition.

Epilepsy in Pets

Epilepsies and seizures are neurological conditions occurring because of abnormal electrical activities in the brain, usually because of a genetic disorder. While a single episode of a fit is known as a seizure, multiple episodes of seizures are together called epilepsy. They are almost completely unpredictable, highly traumatizing, and could last for anywhere between 30 to 90 seconds, thereby requiring special care in consultation with an experienced veterinarian.

The most dangerous aspect of epilepsy is that there is no known cause for it. While accidents and underlying conditions can cause epilepsy and seizures, they can also occur without any seemingly evident root cause or incident. Hence, they may require multiple modifications to the prescription, as the veterinarian adjusts the dosage and medicines based on several tests and the symptoms, to minimize the frequency and severity of the seizures, as much as possible. Before the medication is prescribed, pet parents must also discuss with their vet any underlying diseases or concerns, potential side effects, ease of administration, and affordability.

Drugs to treat Epilepsy

A common question of many pet owners is whether human medicines for treating epilepsy and seizures can be used for our animal companions. However, unless prescribed specifically by a veterinarian after a proper dose calculation and selection of combinations of salts, human medicines can be completely ineffective or extremely toxic for them. They are created based specifically on the physiological make-up and characteristics of humans, which are completely different from other species.

Drugs and medicines used to treat epilepsy could have several long-term side effects including behavioural fluctuations, drowsiness, gastrointestinal disturbances, or complications in pets with kidney issues. Hence, whenever any symptoms appear, it is always advised to visit a certified and experienced veterinarian for a deep diagnosis. This will help ascertain the actual underlying cause, which can even reveal an early onset of a serious long-term issue. The subsequent treatment and medication would then be completely specific to the issue, which would also determine the medication needed, as well as its exact ratio.

Advice for pet-parents

With no foolproof cure for seizures and epilepsy till now, it is especially important to keep watch for any symptoms, ensure regular checkups by an experienced veterinarian, and have their accurate medical history at hand. However, we have also made vast strides in medical science and equipment today, especially when it comes to healthcare for pets. As such, with timely attention, care, and treatment, it is absolutely possible to mitigate the impact of seizures and epilepsy, and help our animal companions live a long and healthy life!


SOURCE:, Dr. Vinod Sharma