Fight­ing fits

Pets (Singapore) - - Ask The Expert -

My four-year-old Jack Rus­sell Ter­rier had a seizure a week ago. Af­ter pass­ing out and wak­ing up dis­ori­ented, she was back to her nor­mal self. It was the first and only time it has hap­pened so far. What could be the possible causes of a seizure in a nor­mally healthy dog, and what should I do when it hap­pens?

Aseizure is a neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­der that re­sults in un­con­trolled mus­cle ac­tiv­ity. There are three parts to a seizure episode:

1. Pre-ic­tal phase: This is when the an­i­mal might have a change of be­hav­iour, as if it knows that some­thing is about to hap­pen. This be­hav­iour may last for seconds to hours and is not easy to spot.

2. Ic­tal phase: This is the seizure it­self, whereby the pa­tient typ­i­cally falls to the side with a loss of con­scious­ness and his/her muscles con­tract spas­ti­cally. The head is usu­ally drawn back­wards and uri­na­tion/defe­ca­tion nor­mally oc­curs. Own­ers of­ten de­scribe this as the pa­tient paddling and swim­ming on the ground. This phase usu­ally lasts for seconds to ap­prox­i­mately five min­utes. Some dogs may have pro­longed seizures and this is con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous.

3. Post-ic­tal phase: This comes af­ter the seizure episode. Pa­tients will typ­i­cally be dis­ori­ented, tired and con­fused.

Causes of seizures

The most com­mon cause of a seizure is id­io­pathic epilepsy. Other causes in­clude a possible head in­jury, in­ges­tion of tox­ins, or an un­der­ly­ing dis­ease of the in­ter­nal body or­gans, such as the liver, kid­ney, etc.

Ac­tions to take dur­ing a seizure Al­ways en­sure that your pet is in a safe en­vi­ron­ment when the seizure episode hap­pens. Make sure that its air­way isn’t ob­structed, and avoid touch­ing your pet as it may in­ad­ver­tently bite you. Most im­por­tantly, stay calm and take note of the in­ci­dent and du­ra­tion if possible so your vet has all the in­for­ma­tion he/she needs. If possible, record a short video for your vet to see.

Af­ter the episode

Con­tact an emer­gency clinic to seek advice. A ve­teri­nary ex­am­i­na­tion will be nec­es­sary to find out why the seizure hap­pened, and man­age­ment of po­ten­tial fu­ture episodes will be dis­cussed.

EX­PERT: DR CHONG LIP REN BVSc (Sydney) Ve­teri­nary Sur­geon Pets Av­enue Ve­teri­nary Clinic

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