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Seizures

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This information is provided by PetCareRx.com
 
Background:
Seizures are caused by altered electrical activity in the brain, usually in one of the cerebral hemispheres. They may be caused by epilepsy, as well as by a number of other diseases of the internal organs or the nervous system. Epilepsy generally describes a condition in which an animal has recurrent seizures without evidence of other metabolic or neural diseases. Grand mal seizures, or generalized seizures, involve most or all of the body. The seizure may start with head-twitching and will spread throughout the body. Grand mal seizures cause impaired state of mind, erratic movements of the limbs, and other signs. They may last up to two minutes. These seizures are often preceded by a period of aura, in which pets may vocalize, act restless or seek attention. Following a grand mal seizure, pets often have difficulty walking, or may act dull or sleepy for up to 24 hours. Focal seizures are those that only involve a portion of the body, such as the head or a single limb. These are more commonly associated with a specific dysfunctional area of the brain. These types of seizures may also be characterized by odd behavior such as tail chasing, biting at the air, repetitive swallowing or floor licking.

Clinical Signs:
Depending on the type and cause of the seizure, clinical signs can range from very mild to extremely disturbing. Seizures may include some or all of the following clinical signs: unfocused behavior, twitching of the face or limbs, biting movements, salivation, vomiting, urination, defecation, vocalization, collapse and limb paddling.

Diagnosis:
A careful history is necessary to help your veterinarian determine the cause of seizure activity. In order to rule out the possibility of liver or kidney failure, as well as low blood sugar or potential toxicity, your veterinarian will most likely obtain and send a blood sample for laboratory testing. A complete neurologic test will be performed to determine whether the problem rests in the brain or spinal cord. Depending on the findings of these tests, your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic tests to pursue the cause, including x-rays, computerized tomography or an electroencephalograph.

Treatment:
Dogs with single isolated episodes and normal diagnostic results may go untreated after the first seizure episode. However, your veterinarian will advise you to monitor your pet very carefully. Dogs diagnosed with underlying diseases will be treated appropriately. In dogs with presumptive epilepsy, long term treatment usually involves oral medications such as phenobarbital. Blood levels of phenobarbital will be monitored regularly to ensure the levels are adequate to control the seizures. Oftentimes, the seizures will only be reduced in frequency and severity. In very severe cases, other medications may be added to your petís treatment protocol

 

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