Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Breath Fresheners
Chews & Treats
Rinses & Water Additives
Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Ear Cleansers
Ear Infection Remedies
Ear Mite Treatments
Antibiotic Anti-Infective
Artificial Tears & Lubricants
Eye Inflammation
Tear Stain Removers
Flea & Tick Prevention
Heartworm & Flea Control
Home & Yard Treatments
Immediate Relief
Oral Flea Treatments
Tick & Flea Collars
Canned Pet Food
Dry Pet Food
Raw Pet Food
Adult Pet Food
Glucose Balance
Digestive Health & Support
Grain Free
Joint Support
Kitten Food
Puppy Food
Senior Pet Food
Skin Support
Small Breed Dog Food
Weight Loss & Management
Pet Food Storage
Joint Pain
Joint Supplements
Lifting Harness
Orthopedic Beds
Steps & Ramps for Mobility
Allergy Relief
Compound Medications
Cough Relief
Digestive Health & Enzymes
High Blood Pressure
Hormonal Endocrine
Insulin & Glucose Balance
Motion Sickness & Nausea
Seizure Disorder
Urinary Tract & Kidneys
Bowls & Elevated Feeders
Car Seats & Pet Carriers
Cat Litter
Cesar Millan Training Aids
Crates & Kennels
Drinking Fountains
First Aid
Furniture Protectors
Grooming Tools
Leashes & Harnesses
Outdoor Cat Pens
Pet Cams & Monitoring Systems
Pet Food Storage
Stain Removers
Steps & Ramps
Training Aids
Wireless Dog Fences
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Fly Control
Grooming Tools
Hairball Remedies
Itch Relief
Ringworm Treatments
Shedding Control
Skin Care Supplements
Skin Medications
Digestive Enzymes
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Liver Support
Senior Support
Whole Food Supplements
Pet Health Topics
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Seizure (Epilepsy) Symptoms in Dogs and Cats


Symptoms of Seizures in Dogs and Cats

The signs and symptoms of dog and cat seizures vary markedly. Although it's easy to recognize convulsive grand mal seizures, many do not recognize the signs of petit mal seizures. Signs can also be missed because many seizures occur while pets are resting or sleeping.


Grand Mal Seizures:

  • Aura or period with anxiety, hiding, or attention seeking
  • Convulsions with paddling, drooling, urinating, or defecating
  • Recovery period with disorientation, aggression, hunger, or confusion

Petit Mal Seizures:

  • Dazed
  • Disoriented
  • Drooling
  • Imaginary gum chewing, tail chasing, or flank sucking
  • Vocalizing

A cat having a petit mal seizure may appear dazed or disoriented, and sometimes the symptoms are missed because they usually occur while pets are resting.

Symptoms of Grand Mal Seizures in Dogs and Cats

Grand mal seizures occur in three stages:

  • Before the seizure is the aura: a period of anxiety, hiding, or seeking attention
  • During, or after the seizure (postictal phase): convulsing, falling down, paddling, urinating, and defecating
  • After the seizure (postictal phase): disoriented, aggressive, hungry, and confused.

Cats that have grand mal seizures have more violent episodes than dogs with grand mal seizures.

Recovery during the postictal phase can take hours or days. Pets do not act like themselves during this period, and aggressive attacks may occur without provocation.

Symptoms of Petit Mal Seizures in Dogs and Cats

Cats and dogs with petit mal seizures are dazed or disoriented. They stare into space for a few seconds or a few minutes. Then, they act normal. Many pet guardians do not interpret these events as a seizure and may think their pet is having a "senior moment" or "spaced out." Dogs with petit mal seizures chew imaginary gum, snap at imaginary flies, gaze up at imaginary stars, chase their tails, or suck their flanks. Even when dogs engage in these activities, pet guardians may not realize their pet is having a seizure.

Cats may also display petit mal seizure activity that is difficult to recognize. For example, they may meow, drool, sit down, or run around as if crazed. The pupils in their eyes may change size rapidly by dilating and contracting (hippus). Cat owners may assume the signs are caused because their cat is psychotic, anxious, or has some form of behavior problem rather than realize their cat is having seizures.



Diagnosis of Seizures (Epilepsy) in Dogs and Cats

Diagnosing the existence of seizures is easier than diagnosing the cause. The presence of seizures is clear if your pet has convulsions, and the presence of seizures is suspected if the pet has significant "spaced out" periods—with or without unusual behavior such as fly snapping. Of course, your veterinarian will confirm that the "spaced out" periods is not caused by brain hypoxia (low levels of oxygen) from respiratory or heart disease.

Diagnosing the cause of seizures can be difficult because:

  • Many expensive tests can be necessary to determine the cause and many pet guardians cannot afford to have them done.
  • We do not know enough about the brain to identify the cause of some seizures, so we say the disease is primary or idiopathic and assume it has a genetic cause.

Unusual Behavior That is Not Seizure Activity: Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Cats can develop a hyperesthesia (hyper = extremely and aesthesia = sensation) syndrome when an area along the back becomes so sensitive it is painful. This is also called "twitchy cat syndrome" and "neurodermatitis." If your cat has feline hyperesthesia syndrome, the muscles along your cat's back twitch or ripple, and your cat vocalizes as though in pain. Some cats lick imaginary skin, bite and harm themselves or become aggressive toward others. These behaviors may appear so similar to psychomotor or petit mal seizures that it is difficult to tell whether the problem is seizures or not. Some veterinarians believe these are truly behavior problems; others believe they are neurologic; still others believe this behavior is caused by flea bite sensitivity.

Tests Used to Diagnose Seizures (Epilepsy) in Dogs and Cats

Tests used to diagnose seizures include the following:

  • Neurologic exam that tests each of the 12 cranial nerves
  • Electroencephalogram or EEG for brain wave irregularity
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and CAT scans for brain tumors, hemorrhage, or malformations
  • Cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) analysis for infections, parasites, white blood cells (granulocytes), and toxins
  • Routine blood tests to measure red blood cells, white blood cells, electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium), liver function, kidney function, and thyroid levels
  • Blood sent for identification of heavy metals and infectious agents
  • Stomach contents sent for identification of heavy metals or poisonous plants
  • X-rays to identify swallowed metal objects such as pennies
  • Urine tests for ketones, crystals, specific gravity, and sugar
  • Blood pressure for kidney disease, heart failure, or intracranial tumor
  • EKG for cardiac disease that could cause lack of blood flow to the brain

Seizure Diary

In addition to all the laboratory tests, pet guardians are asked to keep a diary that tracks the phase of the moon, physical illnesses, activity, sleep depravation, stressful events, heat cycle, and medication dosages. If a seizure occurs, describe what happened before, during, and after the event and how long it lasted. A well-kept diary helps identify triggering events so that medications can be increased prior to these events.


Related Info on Seizures (Epilepsy) in Dogs and Cats

Help / Customer Service
My Account
PetMeds® Sites
PetMeds® Programs
Our 100% Guarantee
About Us
Contact Us
PetMeds® Help
Privacy Policy
Printable Order Form
Site Map
Vet Directory
Request a Catalog

Email Preferences
Easy refill
Track my order
My Account Page
My pet has passed away
PetMeds® Blog
PetHealth 101®
PetMeds® Charitable Causes
1-800-PetMeds® Careers
PetMeds® Investor Relations
pet meds
Pet Meds Photos
Pet Meds News
Pet Health Articles
Affiliate Program
Shelter & Rescue Program
Join our Social Network
    PetMeds® on Facebook
    PetMeds® on Twitter
    PetMeds® on YouTube
    PetMeds® Google+
    PetMeds® LinkedIn
    PetMeds® on Instagram
Copyright © 2014 PetMed Express, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Vet-VIPPSVETERINARY-VERIFIED INTERNET PHARMACY PRACTICE SITES(CM) Online Veterinary Pharmacy Services has earned Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(CM) (Vet-VIPPS(CM)) accreditation through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®).
Verisign Secured Click for the BBB Business Review of this Pharmacies in Pompano Beach FL
Live Chat Share Website Feedback