Brain, a beautiful organ which controls our body! Every tiny minute microscopic cell is managed effectively by this amazing organ – brain. We all know the importance of brain and how crucial it is for our Survival. Without our brain’s optimal functioning, we cannot breathe properly, nor can we even exist in a nutshell! No words can emphasize enough the importance of this God’s wonderful creation – Brain 🧠
Brain has the ability to control the spinal cord as well as certain chemical substances called as the Neurotransmitters which helps in transmission of nerve impulses which in turn acts upon our tissues and cells to bring about the desired actions. Sometimes however, there’s malfunctioning of these Neurotransmitters, along with nerves which leads to certain conditions and diseases – Epilepsy being one of them.
Today, let’s discuss about a serious condition which affects our pets. Let’s read more about epilepsy –
WHAT IS EPILEPSY?
Epilepsy is a disorder in which nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, causing seizures.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder which causes the brain to malfunction and trigger seizures. This condition is also alternatively termed as “Seizures Disorder”. We can say that Epilepsy is a broad umbrella term and the causes (what triggers this) are many. However, Epilepsy is a chronic condition or disorder, wherein there are recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Your Veterinarian will diagnose your pet with epilepsy if they have two unprovoked seizures in a short span of time back to back that were not caused by some pathological condition or disease causing microorganisms. Sometimes, Idiopathic epilepsy, [which is the most common cause of seizures in the dog] is an inherited disorder.
Epilepsy can occur at any age, and any species of dog can be affected. However there are some breeds which are specifically prone to it (yet, it’s a debatable topic).
A seizure is also commonly called as fits. There is loss or derangement of consciousness, alterations in mental awareness from non-responsiveness to fainting, Involuntary urination, defecation or salivation, non-recognition of owner etc.
WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF EPILEPSY?
Epilepsy should be looked upon as an umbrella term like mentioned before since there are many conditions which may trigger it. Let’s look into the causes –
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Traumatic injury to the head
- Imbalance of Electrolytes
- Blood Sugar fluctuations – High or low blood sugar
- Encephalitis, Meningitis etc.
- Idiopathic reasons
WHAT EXACTLY HAPPENS DURING A SEIZURE? HOW WILL I NOTICE IT?
A typical seizure consist of three components:
- Pre-ictal Period
- Ictal Period and
- Post-ictal Period.
A. PRE ICTAL PERIOD
Pre-ictal refers to the state or period immediately before the actual seizure.
It is a period of altered behavior. You may notice your dog acting or behaving oddly. You may notice your dog – hiding away, Seeming/looking confused, anxious or nervous, trying to come near you(owner) because they’re afraid of something. They may be restless, nervous, whining, shaking, or salivating.
This may last for a few seconds. This period usually precedes the ictal period (seizure period).
B. ICTAL PERIOD (PERIOD OF SEIZURE ACTIVITY)
It is the period of seizure itself. It lasts for about a few seconds to five minutes. During this period, all of the muscles of the body starts contracting strongly. The dog usually falls on his/her side and seems to be paralyzed while shaking, jerking legs/paddling. The head will be drawn backward. Uncontrolled or involuntary Urination, defecation and salivation with frothing often occur. If it is not over within five minutes, or if your pet shows continuous seizure back to back, the dog is diagnosed with status epilepticus or prolonged seizures.
C. POST- ICTAL PERIOD
This period succeeds Ictal period. There is often confusion, disorientation, salivation, restlessness. You pet often is confused as to what happened?
This entire incident is a bit strange to observe and may even look scary to you as the owner, yet no, epileptic seizures are not painful for them, however they do feel a bit weird, and shaken by the incident.
TYPES OF SEIZURES –
There are various different types of seizures they are –
- Grand Mal Seizures :
They’re also known as “generalized” seizures. They are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain.
Focal means ‘foci’ or ‘a particular point/region. When only one side or region of the brain is affected and has abnormal activity, then only one side of the dog will be affected with seizure. However it’s common to notice that focal seizures develops into generalized seizures or Grand Mal Seizures.
- Psychomotor Seizures :
This type of seizure is a bit odd or different than the rest as they usually don’t result in a dog collapsing to the ground. Instead, they retain their consciousness. In this type of seizure, you may observe your dog exhibiting strange behavior, like running around and biting at imaginary objects/air or excessively chasing their tail or chewing their paws.
It can be very difficult to determine whether your pet is just acting goofy and silly or whether they’re having a problem.
- Idiopathic Epilepsy Seizures :
This term is used to describe seizures that have no known cause, unknown origin or reason for convulsions. Certain breeds are more at risk for idiopathic epilepsy, including:
Australian shepherds, Beagles, Collies, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers
HARMFUL EFFECTS OF SEIZURES :
A single seizure is rarely dangerous or deadly to the dog. An apt Diagnosis is very crucial. Since a single seizure could have been caused by any reason (poisoning, Liver dysfunction, Kidney dysfunction etc.) However, if the dog has multiple seizures and that too within a short period of time, or if a seizure continues for longer than 5 minutes, the body temperature begins to rise, and this increase in body temperature needs to be addressed quickly.
If status epilepticus occurs, you must seek treatment by a veterinarian immediately.
Whenever you notice such strange action in your pets, immediately contact your vet without any delay. As it is a serious condition and we need to control it immediately to prevent your pet suffering long term.
If the seizure are lasting for longer time i.e. more than a few minutes, then there is a risk your dog could get hyperthermia or increase in body heat. Quickly turn on a fan, blow cool air and place a partially wet or damp cloth around their paws to help them cool down considerably and do record the time period (i.e. For how long is this Seizure lasting?, What do I observe in my pet) so when you do visit your veterinarian after this incidence, you can easily explain and convey your doubts while your vet can easily diagnose and understand.
- BLOOD TEST
CBC (complete blood count), LFT (Liver Function Test) AND KFT (Kidney Function Test)
A routine complete blood check would provide confirmatory diagnosis of infection, if occuring. As we read above, Liver dysfunction and Kidney Dysfunction too may cause seizures and it may not be related to Brain at all! A CBC will help to establish a confirmatory Diagnosis since many etiology can be successfully ruled out or ruled in.
An apt history given by you- the owner is very important.
– Whether your pet have eaten something bad, rotten from the garbage, perhaps some kind of poison like rat bait, Insecticide etc.
– For how long your pet is showing the symptoms of seizures
– Is your dog suffering from any blood related infections, etc.
- MRI SCAN
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create a detailed view of brain. Your Vet may be able to detect lesions(abnormalities) in your pets brain that could be causing seizures.
TREATMENT OF EPILEPSY
Your Veterinarian will generally begin by treating epilepsy with medication right away to control convulsions. Finding the right medication and dosage can be a complex process. Your Veterinarian will consider your pets condition, the frequency of seizures, Pet’s age and other factors when choosing which medication to prescribe.
Generally, anti-epileptic drugs that controls seizures will be advised.
NEUROMATE for PET, A Unique formulation for neurological disorders in pets, used as an adjunct therapy for abnormal activity of brain and neurological disorders including epilepsy. It is based on the homeopathic principles ie. ”Similliasimilibuscuranter” Like to be treated by like. You can always manage epileptic condition with the help of your Vet and this wonder drug Neuromate for pets along with traditional allopathic medicine.
Epilepsy is a really tough disorder and to observe a Seizure activity in your pet is really shocking. However there’s no need to worry as seizures could just be because of a simple infection or even if they’re because of a neurological dysfunction, there’s always medical help which you should seek at the earliest for optimum care of your beloved pets.
Yes, quick Diagnosis will lead to quicker Treatment protocol to be undertaken by your vet, allowing your pet to have a normal life back at the earliest.