Posts Tagged ‘idiopathic epilepsy’

Blogathon 2010 – Seizures in Pets

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Seizures are scary, no matter how many times you have seen them, or if you know your friend is going to be ok, or even if you have the medical knowledge to understand exactly what is going on and that it will end.

When Ernie Dog (Mom and Dad’s tiny Poodle) was one year old, he had a general seizure secondary to carbon monoxide poisoning.  (SO scary – Mom was there too, and they are both fine nine years later!)

All Four Pounds of Ernie Dog!

Some dogs will develop a seizure disorder secondary to liver disease or a brain tumor or something equally ominous.

Usually the pets I have treated for seizures have a disease called Idiopathic Epilepsy.  This is a disease of exclusion – if we can rule out the scary stuff with examination (a general physical exam and a neurological exam, where the veterinarian focuses in on the nervous system) and testing (blood tests, sometimes imaging, even including CAT scans or MRI’s at speciality hospitals), we diagnose Idiopathic Epilepsy.  Remember what idiopathic means?  ha!  No, though it has the same base as idiot!  It means unknown cause!  And once we get to that diagnosis, seizures are much less scary and can be handled with medication, regular check-ups and bloodwork.

Our first dog, Benji, had idiopathic epilepsy.  He was well-managed on oral phenobarbital twice a day.  He had a few “breakthrough” seizures (seizures that occur even when epilepsy is well-controlled).  And like I said, seizures are scary no matter how used to them you are.  I always hated seeing Benji seize, but it did not phase him a bit.  Pets vary quite a bit in their pre-ictal (before the seizure) signs and post-ictal (after the seizure) signs.  Benji’s pre-ictal and post-ictal phases (that I saw) were always pretty subtle.  Some dogs will become agitated before seizures and very sleepy afterwards.

Have you dealt with seizures in your own pets?  Or patients, veterinary types?  Next up…the smallest epileptic patient I have ever had!  WAY smaller than Ernie Dog himself!

Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥