Seizures (Non-Epileptic)

The primary difference between an epileptic seizure and a non-epileptic seizure is their underlying cause. Non-epileptic seizures are usually focal-motor seizures and are caused by an abundance of electrical activity in the brain due to a brain lesion, such as an abscess or tumor. During a focal-motor seizure, a pet convulses or twitches, but that twitching is limited to a specific part of the body.

If your pet has a seizure, you must take them to see a veterinarian immediately to be sure that brain damage has not occurred and that no major health issues are the cause. During your pet’s exam, try to inform the veterinarian of as many details about the seizure as you can remember. After a thorough diagnosis, the veterinarian will be able to determine and treat the underlying cause.

Common causes of non-epileptic seizures: 

  • Brain abscesses
  • Brain injury
  • Brain tumors
  • Concussion (seizure typically occurs weeks to months after injury)
  • Distemper
  • Encephalitis
  • Heartworm disease
  • Heat stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Poisoning
  • Stroke

Treatment of non-epileptic seizures

If seizures are recurring over a period of several days, anticonvulsants might be prescribed for a period of 1 to 2 weeks after the initial seizure. If medication is needed beyond that, the veterinarian will reevaluate levels and write a new prescription. If a more serious medical condition exists, such as heartworm or liver failure, and is determined to be the underlying cause of the seizures, the veterinarian will address the larger health issues at hand.

In a majority of the cases, non-epileptic seizures end up being a one-time occurrence that disappears once the causal illness is treated. If the ailment takes an extended period of time to treat, multiple seizures can occur which is why prompt treatment is essential.

If you have questions about seizures in domestic pets, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.


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