Posts Tagged ‘phenobarbital’

Convulsions: Animal Epilepsy and Holistic Seizure Therapy for Dogs

If your pet occasionally displays brief moments of unconsciousness,  sudden stiffening, or outright seizures your pet may be epileptic.

The most common causes for the above symptoms and  history  are:   1) a “petit mal”  or “grand mal” seizure  or  2) a syncopal episode.   Now When most people think of an epileptic seizure they think of a “grand mal” seizure. This is a seizure where the entire body becomes rigid, the neck arches backward, the teeth are clenched shut, and the whole body trembles violently. There is, however, another  type of epileptic seizure which is much quieter and less violent.  This type of seizure is called a “petit mal” seizure and is characterized by a momentry loss of consciousness. The cause of an epileptic seizure, grand or petit,  is the misfiring of neurons in the brain.

Syncopy or a “syncopal episode” may be mistaken for a “petit seizure because it causes a momentary loss of consciousness but unlike seizures it is caused by a heart problem producing a momentary loss of blood to the brain.

Regardless of which of the two above possibilities is the actual cause of the problem it is very important that you take your pet to your veterinarian to have a diagnostic workup performed so that he or she can come to a definite conclusion and treat the specific diagnosis accordingly. Both of the possible causes can develop into life threatening conditions and therefore you should not wait until the problem becomes worse before seeking veterinary care.  Your veterinarian, after performing a detailed physical exam, will most likely want to send a sample of your pet’s blood and urine to the laboratory for  a general diagnostic screen and urinalysis.  He will , no doubt,  also perform an electrocardiogram (ECG) in an attempt to distinguish any heart condition that may be the basis of the problem.  He may even decide to take chest and abdominal radiographs.

If the blood report, urinalysis,  the ECG, and the radiographs all turn out to be normal then your veterinarian will, through a  process of elimination, diagnose your pet with epilepsy.  If the diagnosis actually is epilepsy then oral anticonvulsant will be prescribed.  If the problem turns out to be a heart related problem such as an “arrhythmia” a medication to regulate the heart rate and rhythm will be prescribed.

Because anti-convulsant drugs such as Phenobarbital often cause pets to change personality and appear drugged pet owners often stop the therapy or reduce the dose to below therapeutic levels.  Consequently the seizures are poorly controlled.   Pet owners should know that there are alternative, non drug methods of preventing epilepsy.  Herbal therapy, neuro transmitter therapy and nutritional supplements  can be used alone or in combination with drugs to help control seizures, lower drug dosages and minimize  drug related behavioral effects.   Acupuncture and gold bead implantation under the skin of the pets head and ears are additional ways of controlling seizure.


Woodside Animal Clinic is a unique, very personal,  one doctor practice where, for over 35 years, Dr. Simon has been healing dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, rodents, and reptiles with both conventional and alternative medicine.  Dr. Simon is certified in Acupuncture, Chiropractic and Stem cell therapy.  He is the author  of 4 pet care books, a past president of the Oakland County Veterinary Medical Association and a regular contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine

Woodside Animal Clinic sees pets from all over Michigan but primarily from the greater Detroit  area  including Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Washtenaw counties.   Cities in these counties include:  Royal Oak, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Detroit, Redford, Livonia, Hazel Park, Madison Heights, Warren, Centerline, Clawson,  Troy, Sterling Heights, Southfield, Birmingham, Lathrup Village, Bingham Farms, Franklin, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Novi, Wixom, Brighton, Livonia, Plymouth, Commerce, Ann Arbor, Ortonville, Waterford, Union Lake,  Rochester,  Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, Utica,  Grosse Pointe,  Romeo and Flint, Hartland,  Lansing, Okemos, Flint ,Howell,  Brighton, White Lake, Romeo, Saline, South Lyon, Windsor Canada, Toledo Ohio