I recently had a friend call me late one night because her dog was having a seizure, something he had never experienced before. This is terrifying for a pet owner! Seizures can vary from very mild, with head twitches or disorientation, to very severe, similar to grand mal seizures in people.
Seizures in our pets can have many different causes. Younger dogs can develop a form of idiopathic epilepsy with no known cause. Other causes in both dogs and cats can include diseases of other organs, including the liver and kidneys. Our pets can develop tumors in their brain causing seizures or infections can be present, including a common fungal infection in our region called Valley Fever. We can also see seizures develop following trauma to the brain or exposure to different toxins that our pets may be exposed to.
When possible, the underlying cause of seizures should be investigated with lab work, radiographs, an ECG and, in some cases, a visit to a veterinary neurologist for advanced imaging including an MRI or CT scan and testing of the cerebral spinal fluid. Whether or not a definitive cause is found, anti-seizure medication is often started if the episodes are frequent or are becoming more severe over time. The seizures alone can be damaging to the brain and should be controlled if possible, regardless of the cause.
If your dog has experienced seizures or other abnormal behavior, call Valley Verde Veterinarians for an appointment at 520-393-7387.