How to Recognize if a Pet Is Going Through a Seizure or Stroke

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Your veterinarian can help diagnose a stroke or seizure.
Your veterinarian can help diagnose a stroke or seizure. (Image: Dean Golja/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Recognizing the symptoms of seizure and stroke in your pet can help save its life. There are two primary types of stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by a clot disrupting blood flow to your pet's brain. A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when bleeding develops, leading to a lack of blood circulation. Seizures can be the result of medical conditions such as epilepsy. Epilepsy is more common in some breeds than others, and the ailment is often inherited, according to the Pet Education website.

Stroke Symptoms

Watch for symptoms, which may include loss of bowel or bladder control, a tilting head or walking in circles.

Call your dog by name and observe if it walks toward you. If your dog walks in the wrong direction, this can indicate a possible stroke, according to the Vet Info website.

Watch your dog for unusual behavior.
Watch your dog for unusual behavior. (Image: Photos.com/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Look into your cat's eyes. Notice if your cat has one pupil larger than the other, Vet Info suggests.

Notice any difference in pupil dilation.
Notice any difference in pupil dilation. (Image: Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Observe your pet for any other changes in behavior, such as falling down, losing its balance, fatigue, disinterest in food or confusion.

If your pet is more tired than usual, this can be a sign.
If your pet is more tired than usual, this can be a sign. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Seizure Symptoms

Notice if your pet has a sudden lapse in mental awareness. Your pet may feel a seizure coming on and exhibit a change in behavior, notes Dr. R.M. Clemmons of the University of Florida’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Your pet might start pacing or become sleepy prior to a seizure.

Look out for an increase in salivation. Your pet may also urinate and have bowel issues. Initial symptoms can also include meowing or whining, showing an increase in affection and nervousness.

Be aware if the animal loses consciousness, has convulsions or begins to thrash around wildly. Try to protect the animal from hitting its head on furniture or other nearby objects. Do not try to move the animal, and keep your hands away from its mouth. Dogs will often snap or bite during seizures.

Avoid waiting to take your pet to the vet.
Avoid waiting to take your pet to the vet. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Observe how long the seizure lasts. A seizure can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Seizures lasting longer can be life threatening and require prompt medical attention.

Notice if your pet experiences disorientation, which often occurs after a seizure. Some pets may also experience temporary blindness after a seizure.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your dog has multiple seizures within a 24 hour period, take your dog to the vet immediately warns Vet Info.

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