What Is the Difference Between a Pet Seizure and Syncope?

Did you know there is a difference between a pet seizure and syncope? No pet owner wants to think of a pet suffering a collapse, but basic knowledge of the two terms will be helpful. Take a look at some information from PetMD—and consult your veterinarian if your pet has a seizure-like event.

Pet seizure
A pet suffering a seizure may fall on its side, salivate excessively, become stiff, chomp its jaw, or make paddling motions; see PetMD for other symptoms. Before a seizure, a pet may appear worried or frightened; after a seizure, a pet may be confused and disoriented. Pet seizures have several potential causes, including blood and organ issues, genetic abnormalities, tumors, toxin exposure, and trauma.

If you suspect your pet is having a seizure, take the following steps recommended by PetMD: Stay away from your pet’s mouth and head, and don’t attempt to hold him down; he may unintentionally bite. If possible, remove any nearby objects that could injure your pet. Keep track of when and how long the seizure lasts so that you can relay this information to the veterinarian. Seek medical attention immediately if the seizures occur in clusters or if the seizure lasts more than a few minutes.

A veterinarian will likely conduct a physical exam and recommend lab work; he or she may prescribe medication to control the seizures. Remember not to abruptly discontinue any epilepsy medication.

Pet syncope
Syncope is the clinical term for fainting. Typically, syncope causes only a temporary loss of consciousness, but it’s a good idea to consult your vet to determine any underlying conditions.

Syncope is commonly caused by a lack of nutrients and oxygen due to interrupted blood flow to the brain. Potential causes include excitement, emotional stress, low glucose, heart disease, or certain drugs. Again, a veterinarian’s diagnosis is important.

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, pet, Pet Health

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