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How to Care for Your Pet During A Seizure

There is no way to predict whether a pet will begin to have seizures, and no real way to prevent them from happening. Your perfectly happy and healthy dog or cat may just fall down one day and begin to show strange behavior. At Urgent Pet Care Omaha we've treated many pets with seizures, with a wide variety of causes. While the shaking and other symptoms aren't themselves dangerous, there are dangers to your pet's health if they ever encounter a seizure. Bringing it to our office is crucial to make sure we treat your pet to prevent further seizures from happening.

golden retriever getting massage

A Variety of Causes

While some breeds of dogs, such as Australian shepherds, Labradors, beagles, and collies, are more likely to develop a seizure or epilepsy, it can happen to any breed of dog or cat. Some of the more common causes of seizures are:

  • Liver disease
  • Anemia
  • Head injury
  • Stroke
  • Eating poison
  • High or low blood sugar
  • Brain cancer
  • Electrolyte troubles

Seizure Symptoms

Before your pet has a seizure it may give you a period of warning, known as an aura. This can include behaviors like looking worried or frightened, hiding, or looking for attention from you. It may have problems with limbs contracting, or may lose control of its bowels or urination.

Once the seizure begins, pets often collapse onto their sides on the ground. They then can show one or many symptoms, including jerking, drooling, chewing or chomping, paddle with their legs, or foam at the mouth. 

Once the seizure begins to subside, your pet will probably stand up, but can be temporarily blind, wobbly and unable to walk straight, or walk in circles or bump into things. There may be blood in its mouth if it bit its tongue, and it may even try to hide.

What to Do if Your Pet Has a Seizure

The first time your pet has a seizure it can be a frightening experience. Know that, in most cases, your calm efforts are all your pet needs right now to get through the experience safely. The most important thing is for you to remain calm. If your pet is near something dangerous like the stairs or a sharp table, gently slide it away.

Stay away from your pet's head and mouth. It's a myth that pets can swallow their tongue during a seizure, so there's no need to put anything in its mouth. Sticking your fingers near your pet's mouth can irritate it, and you might get bit.

Time your pet's seizure if at all possible. If it lasts for more than two minutes, your pet could be in danger of overheating. Put cold water on its paws, and aim a fan toward it to help cool it off.

Talk to your pet gently during the seizure, and pet it gently on its back and sides. Once the seizure is over, call our office. If the seizure lasts more than five minutes, or if your pet has several seizures in a row without completely coming out of them, bring it to our office immediately. The longer the seizure goes on, the higher the risk for overheating, which can cause brain damage if left untreated.

Looking for an Emergency Veterinarian in Omaha?

While most seizures aren't dangerous to pets, it's important to make sure nothing more serious is going on. It's important for you to bring it to our emergency veterinarian in Omaha as soon as possible. Call for an appointment today. You can reach us in Papillon at 402-597-2911, or in Millard at 402-991-9444.