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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > The Causes Of Epilepsy And Seizures In Pets

The Causes of Epilepsy and Seizures in Pets

PetSmart Banfield, The Pet Hospital®

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Abnormalities in the central nervous system (CNS), or brain, can cause seizures and seizure-like episodes. The abnormalities can be caused by epilepsy, brain tumors, head trauma, toxins, cancer, compromised blood flow, infections and poorly functioning internal organs that cause build up or body wastes in the blood.

Clinical signs of seizure type activity can range greatly in severity. Mild episodes may be barely noticeable and consist only of staring ("star gazing") or repetitive jaw movements (chewing gum seizures). Severe seizure episode activity can range up to extremely violent thrashing and complete loss of body control and awareness.

Diagnosis is based on symptoms, medical history, examination findings, blood and urine tests and sometimes x-rays or other imaging tests. Treatment and prognosis varies greatly depending on the underlying disease.

Epilepsy is a disturbance in normal brain function that causes recurrent seizures and/or behavioral changes. There are no specific tests for epilepsy. Diagnosis is based on age, breed and tests to rule out other causes for seizures.


In many cases, epilepsy can be adequately treated by anti-convulsant medication. These Pets will need to have periodic blood tests to check the level of anti-convulsant drug in their systems. Health of internal organs will need to be monitored.


Important points:

  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian
  • Accurate dosing schedules are very important to help control seizure activity
  • It is helpful to your pet's veterinarian to track any seizure activity in a "seizure log"
  • Contact your veterinarian whenever your pet has a seizure
  • Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him/her rechecked as recommended by your veterinarian

    If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your vet or Banfield hospital today. 


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