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Seizure Disorders in Dogs

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Diagnosis

Diagnostic tests are needed to determine the presence of an underlying disease or cause for the seizure disorder. Seizures for which an underlying cause cannot be determined after thorough diagnostic evaluation are called idiopathic. Tests may include:

  • Complete medical history

  • Thorough physical exam, including a complete neurologic examination and complete examination of the back of the eyes ( "fundiscopic" examination)

  • Blood tests to determine your pet's general health and the presence of an underlying disease that may be causing the seizures.

  • Urinalysis

  • Fecal examination

  • Other diagnostic tests as needed based on the results of the history, physical examination and initial laboratory tests.

    Treatment

    Results of the history, physical examination and initial laboratory tests will determine the need for further diagnostic tests and will help determine the appropriate treatment for your pet's seizure disorder. Treatment will be dictated by the underlying cause. When possible, the specific underlying cause of the seizure disorder should be treated.

    Home Care

    If your pet has a seizure, call your veterinarian promptly.

    During a seizure, concentrate on observing the characteristics of the seizure while keeping him from harm. Do not attempt to open your pet's mouth or manipulate his tongue – you may get bitten inadvertently. Protect your pet from injury by moving hazardous objects like furniture with sharp corners, or protecting him from falling down stairs. Loud or sharp noises may prolong or worsen the seizure.

    After the seizure, give your pet sufficient time to recover from the seizure. Speak calmly and try to comfort your pet. Arrange to have your pet seen by your veterinarian as soon as possible after the seizure is over.

    If the seizure episode lasts more than 10 minutes, you should arrange to be seen by your veterinarian or emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.

    Preventative Care

    Prevention is aimed at keeping your pet calm and safe. Avoid exposure to poisons and toxins that can cause seizures – do not allow your pet to roam unsupervised. Keep him in a safe environment for when a seizure does occur. Keep your pet in a fenced yard or on a leash when going for a walk.

    Make sure your pet receives all of the appropriate vaccinations so as to prevent known infectious causes of seizures like distemper and rabies.

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