What Is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy refers to repeated seizures. Epileptic fits (seizures) are a result of electrical impulse disruptions in the brain. Hereditary epilepsy in cats is highly unusual. In dogs, epilepsy shows a strong genetic connection, especially in certain breeds. The most likely causes are diet and/or environment.

Risk Factors

  • Obesity
  • Toxic metal exposure (lead, mercury, aluminium)
  • Genetics

Common Seizure Triggers

The following is a list of common seizure triggers. This does not mean that your pet will have a seizure each time it comes in contact with one of these items. Some of these factors are impossible to avoid but are listed here for your reference:

  • Stress
  • Trauma to the brain
  • Hair Spray – avoid spraying when your pet is in the same room
  • Wool
  • Heartworm pills
  • Cigarette smoke
  • BHA/BHT – preservatives commonly used in grocery brand pet foods
  • Sodium nitrate
  • Some carpet powders
  • Air fresheners/scented candles
  • Some brands of fabric softeners
  • Dryer sheets
  • Salt (in excess)
  • Sugar
  • Plastic bowls that may contain harmful chemicals
  • Low quality commercial dog biscuits & treats
  • Low quality dry/canned food
  • Fumes from common household cleaners
  • Dust or mould
  • Eating cat or dog feces
  • Certain vaccinations
  • Worm infestation
  • Lead
  • Paint fumes
  • Overheating
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Stress
  • Loud noises
  • Inconsistent routine
  • Blinking lights
  • Red food dye

Treatment

For the epileptic pet, diet should be chemical and preservative free, low carb and portion controlled. In some cases it has been proven that by switching a dog to a holistic, all natural (raw) diet, the epileptic seizures are drastically minimized.

Anti-epileptic drugs do not cure epilepsy, they simply control seizures.

How To Respond

In most cases, the proper response to a seizure is to prevent the pet from self-injury:

  • Move them away from sharp edges and harmful objects
  • Never place objects in the mouth during a seizure – it is not possible for a pet to swallow their own tongue during a seizure
  • The pet may start snoring loudly following a seizure – this indicates that the pet is beginning to breathe properly
  • After a seizure it is typical for the pet to be exhausted and confused
  • Pets should not eat or drink until they have returned to their normal level of awareness

DID YOU KNOW… THE MOST COMMON TIME FOR A DOG TO HAVE A SEIZURE IS WHEN THEY ARE RELAXED AND QUIET?