Pet care advice about The Fitting Dog
Has my pet had a fit?
There are many different types of fits. The most serious of these is a seizure, and most likely to occur when your pet is relaxed.
During a seizure the animal may show the following signs:-
- Your pet may lose consciousness and be unaware of surroundings
- Shaking and convulsions
- Lying on their side, scrambling or 'paddling' with their paws
- Loss of control of motions and urine
- Stiffness of the body
- Arching of back
- Loss of balance
- Foaming at the mouth
- They may also act strangely before or after the fit
- They will take 10-15 mins to recover once they have come round from the seizure
The fit may last for 30 seconds to a few minutes, however:-
If a seizure lasts longer than 5 minutes then call the vet, THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!
What to do if your pet has a seizure
1. Don't panic.
2. Time the seizure. Take note of the length of the seizure, as this is important information for your vet. It is likely to seem like an eternity when it may only be 20 seconds, so try and get an accurate time.
3. Avoid injury to your animal during the seizure. Keep them away from hard furniture, areas of water, stairs and sharp objects. If possible, place a pillow under their head to prevent head trauma.
4. Make good observations of what your animal is doing physically during the seizure. What type of muscular activity is happening? What kind of abnormal behaviour? Your vet will ask you questions about your animal's specific seizure behaviours, so try and be accurate.
5. Do not attempt to open your animal's mouth and pull out their tongue, nor put anything in their mouth, including your hand, as you may get bitten.
6. Call your vet immediately if the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes. Also contact them if more than 2 seizures occur within 24 hours, or more seizures begin before your animal has recovered from the previous seizure.
What to do after the seizure is finished
1. Observe your pet's behaviour.
2. Keep them away from possible injury in a quiet, dark area.
3. Offer water to drink.
4. Offer comfort and support to calm your animal, as they will likely be confused and may fret after the seizure.
5. Contact your vet if your animal has not fully recovered after 30 minutes.
When should epilepsy be treated?
This is best discussed with your vet, however, some guidelines for treatment are:-
1. If fits occur more frequently than once every 4 - 6 weeks.
2. If fits occur in clusters (several in one day).
3. If fits last longer than 5 to 10 minutes.
There are also other types of fits that may be confused for a seizure:-
Petite Mal - this is less severe than a grand mal seizure, and you may not even notice it has occurred. Brain activity is only mildly disrupted. Your animal will still have some control of their movement, only appearing slightly uncoordinated. They may stagger about, lose focus, tremor and drool.
Syncope - This is defined by the animal passing out, remains unconscious for a few seconds, then gets up immediately. Syncope is usually associated with exercise, but can occur when resting. Your pet may urinate, also brief stiffening might be seen, but no paddling or vocalisation (unlike a seizure). Minor twitching may be seen all over. Syncope is a circulatory problem not epilepsy but both conditions can look very similar.