Epilepsy in Dogs and Cats

Epilepsy in Dogs and Cats

A seizure is a specific event in time, which causes abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Epilepsy refers to multiple seizures occurring over a long period of time with no underlying structural brain lesion or other neurological signs. Most dogs with epilepsy suffer their first seizure between 1 and 5 years old, but seizures can occasionally start before 6 months or as late as 10 years old. Any breed, including  mixed- breed can be affected. There are two different types of epilepsy: generalized-onset seizures and focal- onset seizures.

Generalized-onset seizures:

Generalized-onset seizures are those in which affects both sides of the brain (or both cerebral hemispheres). The most common type is generalized tonic-clonic seizure or also known as a grand mal seizure. The first part of the seizure is the tonic phase, during which there is sustained contraction of all muscles. The dog or cat usually loses consciousness and falls to its side with limbs extended. Autonomic signs such as salivation, urination, and defecation are common. Once the tonic phase is over then the clonic phase begins. During the clonic phase, there is rhythmic contractions of muscles, like paddling or jerking of the limbs and chewing movements.

Focal-onset seizures:

Focal- onset seizures are those in which affect only one region of the brain. Focal motor seizures consist of abnormal movements of a body part, such as turning the head to one side, rhythmic contractions of a limb or facial muscles. Focal-onset seizures cause abnormal sensations and the sensations are subjective and can be difficult to recognize sensory seizures in animals. “Fly-biting” seizures may form with visual hallucinations. Focal autonomic seizures cause predominantly autonomic signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and apparent abdominal pain.

Diagnosis and Evaluation:

Our veterinarians will ask the frequency and duration and the patient’s behavior between seizures. The goal of treatment is to reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures to a level that does not substantially compromise the quality of life for the pet and family while avoiding serious side effects. To achieve this goal, we will choose the appropriate drugs and doses, and monitor treatment. The key to a successful treatment of epilepsy is client compliance.

If you have any questions, give us a call at 505-869-2627 and we will be happy to assist you!