According to Dr Gyan Chand, veterinary officer, Wiggles.in, a seizure can look like a “very concerning sight”, but many treatment options are available to control, reduce and treat them. “When your pet has multiple seizures, they are diagnosed with epilepsy. Epilepsy could have several causes, some of them are idiopathic disease, infectious and inflammatory disease, metabolic disease, brain cancer, brain injuries, ingestion of poison, kidney failure, liver disease and trauma. To control seizures, your vet may prescribe medications like phenobarbital, potassium bromide or levetiracetam,” the doctor explains.
He adds that often there are secondary conditions involved and just epileptic medications may not be enough. Hence, for pet parents, the doctor mentions a few important things to keep in mind; read on.
1. Make your home a safe zone
Prevention is the best method to safeguard your pet from injuries. Cover any sharp edges of furniture, don’t leave glass bottles or hazardous items such as ashtrays or medicines on the table; create a dedicated safe space with blankets, cushions and puppy pads. This will minimise the risk of your pet getting hurt when having a seizure.
2. Learn basic first-aid
Sometimes, no matter how careful you are, your pet could get hurt. Learn how to do basic first-aid so you can tend to their wounds. Keep an emergency kit handy, stocked with essential medicines and wound healing spray, gauze and SOS medicines. Keep the vet’s number on speed-dial along with the number of an emergency pet clinic.
3. Make changes in their diet
Incorporating long-term lifestyle changes can prove to be helpful in treating seizures. Ketogenic diets that are high in fat and low in carbs have been found to be helpful for pets who have epilepsy, as high fats can decrease neuron excitability. Supplements like fish oils that contain omega 3 fatty acids help brain regulations and processes. Depending on your pet’s condition, your vet may prescribe supplements with essential fatty acids. Before making any changes to their diet, speak to a vet or a pet nutritionist.
4. Learn about your pet’s medications
Epilepsy is a lifelong condition and your pet may be on long-term medications. Some medications can cause severe side effects, so make sure you speak with your vet and learn as much as you can. It’s a good idea to speak about holistic treatment options like CBD oil, acupuncture and supplements. CBD oil has shown significant improvement in reducing the number and severity of seizures in pets without side effects.
5. Maintain a diary
Keeping a diary would serve three purposes.
* To keep track of the frequency and severity of seizures. It is recommended to track the duration, time of the day and number of times your pet experiences seizures. Recording a video can help your vet with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plans. This will also help measure the progress your pet has been making and determine further treatment plans.
* Identify certain situations that trigger an epileptic episode. For example, a stressful situation like guests coming over could trigger this response. Maintaining a diary will help identify these stressful situations and avoid the triggers.
* Over time you will realise certain things work for your pet when having an epileptic episode. Write down these specifications and tips. Ensure you also write down their medicine and triggers. This handy information will be helpful for pet sitters, walkers and anyone else who looks after them in your absence.
6. Be there for them
Assure your pet you’re there for them. Be patient and calm when they have their episodes, especially bathroom accidents. Give them their space and hold them close if that’s what they need. Epileptic pets can live a long, healthy and happy life with your support.