Seizures in dogs and cats | Pet Acupuncture San Mateo

Seizures in dogs and cats | Pet Acupuncture San Mateo

Pet Acupuncture San Mateo with Inna Veterinary Acupuncture. If your pet is having seizures, please contact me for a free consultation.



Seizures in dogs and cats are one of the most frightening scenes for a caregiver to see in their loved one. Often times pets may fall over, salivating, whining, paddling with their feet and are totally out of control. Its also not uncommon to see loss of orientation and even blindness for a short period of time after a seizure episode. One feels helpless and panicked when watching it happen.

The conventional differential diagnosis for seizures include idiopathic epilepsy, congenital hydrocephalus, meningoencephalitis, hypoglycemia, hepatic encephalopathy, toxicities and brain tumors.

Dr. Roger Clemmons, a renowned professor of neurology and neurosurgery estimates that nearly 1% of our dog population has some form of seizure disorder. Certain breeds with hereditary epilepsy may have as high as 15-20% incidence. This is normally called “idiopathic” epilepsy, in other words, we are not sure what caused it. Breeds that appear to be more susceptible to epilepsy include Cocker Spaniels, Collies, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Dachshunds, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, Saint Bernard’s, Siberian Huskies.

One big step in prevention is not to breed dogs that have a predisposition for epilepsy. If you are looking for a purebred pup, make sure to check that a history of seizures doesn’t run in the breeding line.

In cats, hereditary epilepsy is not common. Normally, one can find a particular cause. These include infection diseases such as feline leukemia virus(FELV), feline infectious peritonitis(FIP), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) , chemical toxins, brain tumors, head trauma such as after being hit by a car as well as various problems with the liver and kidneys.

If a dog had a history of intermittent seizures for six months or more and has normal neurological examination and clinicopathological tests, then idiopathic epilepsy is the most likely diagnosis.

From a conventional medicine standpoint, the most common therapeutic options are anticonvulsants such as Barbiturates and Bromides,Unfortunately, these drugs may carry unwanted side effects such as anxiety, lethargy, weight gain, depression, increase in drinking, urination and liver toxicity.

Over the past decade, natural approaches have been found to be helpful in patients, either instead of stronger medications or in addition to them so that you may not need as high of a dose.

Seizure signs can vary quite a bit. Sometimes you barely see anything except chomping of the teeth and salivation. Other small seizures may resemble what is known as “fly-biting behavior” .

Seizures may only last a minute or two or may continue for longer periods of time. Occasionally, they will go into what is known as status epilepticus, where they will not stop seizuring on their own, but will continue until strong medications are administered, you should see your veterinarian or an emergency clinic immediately, as this could be life threatening.

Before initiating medications, a comprehensive physical and neurological examination should be performed as well as blood tests, radiographs (x-rays) and evaluation of liver functionality tests . There are many causes besides hereditary epilepsy. These include head trauma, allergic reactions to environmental allergens , food or medications, severe ear infection, poisonings, low blood sugar, liver and kidney disease as well as brain tumors to name few.

Once you have a diagnosis and it is not something that you can cure by elimination, you realize that you and your furry companion may have to live with and manage seizures for life.

Today there are different options, including nutritional supplements, acupuncture, homeopathy and herbs as well as conventional medications.

When looking into a more holistic way to control seizure, the first step is to consider a more natural diet such as cooking a home made balanced diet with the purpose of removing any possibility of chemical sensitivities to different food additives, preservatives or chemicals.

The next step is to try to remove as many other environmental toxins from our furry friends. Some veterinary neurologists suggest that certain heart-worm medications and flea prevention products may lower the seizure threshold of dogs and may make seizures more difficult to control. I also strongly suggest avoiding all organophosphate insecticides which tend to be neurotoxic.

Integrative veterinarians today look for ways to treat illness on a deeper, constitutional level, many times bringing long standing underling imbalance rather then temporarily palliating the symptoms and causing more imbalance due to toxic side effects.

At Inna Veterinary Acupuncture, I offer acupuncture, aqua-acupuncture (injection of vitamin B12 ) usually combines with Chinese herbs and nutritional supplements to restore the underlying imbalance and resolve seizures. This could be done with or without the use of conventional medications.

A session takes about 20-30 min once a week and is recommended for four to six weeks and then taper off treatments to once every month or two for maintenance.

It is also very important to minimize stress in your pets life. Try to avoid sudden loud noises, stressful situations and sudden changes in their environment.

Western herbs that could be beneficial in treating seizures include chamomile, valerian root, milk thistle, skullcap. One may need to lower the dosage of other anticonvulsants when using herbs and supplements.

Pet Acupuncture San Mateo | If you would like to schedule a consultation or for any additional information, please contact us at Inna Veterinary Acupuncture.