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Seizures in Dogs and Cats

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Q. My dog is experiencing seizure-like episodes but my vet found nothing after a physical and blood work.  What are the common signs of a seizure?

A. When an animal, dog or cat, presents to a veterinarian for “seizure-like” symptoms the animal’s symptoms are first and foremost controlled.  Next, a very detailed history must be taken and a thorough physical exam performed in an attempt to answer a fundamental question: Is the root source of these symptoms intracranial (in the brain / central nervous system; idiopathic – no known cause) or extracranial (from within the body, as could be the case with a middle / inner ear infection or liver issue [portosystemic shunt])?  The clinical signs you detailed in your girl – weakness in the hind limbs, dizziness, urinary incontinence and dyspnea (heavy-breathing) may well be the signs of a mild, if not full-blown, seizure.  An epileptic seizure is delineated by three specific time periods – pre-ictal (prior to the seizure), ictal (during the seizure) and post-ictal (after the seizure), and it definitely seems as though she is having at least mild / partial seizures based on your description.

Credit: Reviewed by Dr. Andrew Streiber, DVM
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