Attacks in dogs and cats
Seizures are defined as involuntary behaviors that occur due to abnormal brain activity. Basically, one abnormal impulse “provokes” a number of other abnormal impulses and activities in the brain. The severity and duration of an attack depend on the amount of signals that propagate through the brain, as well as the speed and ability of the central nervous system to bring the whole process under control and stop the attacks.
Seizures involving parts of the brain can lead to complete loss of consciousness and loss of control over the body. In that case, any muscle in the body can move involuntarily and without control. The attack is often accompanied by jaw cramps, “rowing” of the legs, involuntary urination and defecation, vocalization. Such an attack is called a generalized attack or “Grand mal”.
Abnormal brain impulses, which are retained in limited parts of the brain, lead to “rowing” of the legs, twitching of the facial muscles or involuntary movement of the head. These are partial attacks. They can turn into a generalized form.
There are also psychomotor forms of attacks when the animal has abnormal behaviors – trying to catch non-existent objects in the mouth, “clicking” teeth, growling, howling, moving in a circle. These attacks are difficult to distinguish from behavioral disorders and can also escalate into generalized attacks.
When you bring in a dog or cat that you suspect or know has or has had seizures, the most important steps are:
- Stabilization of the patient if the attack is still ongoing, as well as preparation for new future attacks;
- Determining whether the patient has an attack or behavior similar to attacks (syncope, behavioral disorders);
- Determining the cause of the attack (Taking a detailed history from the owner after stabilizing the patient is important to assess the cause of the attack. It is important to assess and include or exclude all potential systemic diseases that can lead to an attack. To do a detailed neurological examination of the patient.);
- Determining adequate therapy (will depend on the frequency of attacks, the duration of the attack, the presence or absence of systemic diseases as a cause, the age of the animal).
If you suspect that your dog or cat has an attack, do not try to pull his tongue out of the oral cavity, as this can end up injuring either you or the animal. Also, if it is possible and safe for you and the animal, you can put something soft under it. You need to consult a veterinarian and take the recommended steps. Frequent seizures, seizures that occur one after the other or the animal does not wake up from an unconscious state between attacks are reasons for urgent intervention and hospitalization of the patient.