The ansWers you need


What are the risks of not treating my pet ?

It is important to ensure that any animal with epilepsy is diagnosed by a vet and treated early with anti-epileptic medication.

If the animal is left untreated, the size of the epileptogenic zone (the area that initiates the seizures) in the brain may grow or new zones may appear, causing the epilepsy to get worse and your pet is likely to experience more frequent and/or severe seizures.

Epilepsy is a chronic condition with no cure. Whilst epilepsy medication rarely stops seizures altogether, it can stabilise your pet’s condition by:

  • Reducing the number, intensity and duration of the seizures.
  • Shortening the recovery time needed after each seizure.
I think my pet is experiencing side effects. Should I stop treatment ?

Suddenly stopping treatment for an epileptic pet is not recommended, as it can trigger more seizures. Some dogs experience side effects shortly after starting treatment, however, they usually resolve without stopping the medication.

However, it is important to tell your vet of any change in your pet’s behaviour or health.

Depending on your pet’s condition, the vet may decide to adjust the treatment (by reducing the dose or suggesting an alternative treatment plan).

My dog takes a lot of tablets every morning and evening for their epilepsy. Is it too many?

No. The number of tablets is not important. What matters is achieving the right amount of drug in the bloodstream. Your vet can check this by taking a blood sample. Every pet is different - some animals need to take more tablets than others in order to achieve this correct level and some require multiple medications to manage their epilepsy. If you have any concerns about your pet’s treatment regime then speak to your vet.

If my pet is sick or regurgitates after taking the tablets, should I give them again?

If your pet vomits after the medication, before giving another dose, consult your vet. They will assess the situation and advise you whether to give it again or to skip a dose depending on the risk to your pet.

The internet says there is another drug that works better. How can I swap treatments?

Unfortunately, there is no miracle cure; what works for one animal may not work for another. Any change of treatment is risky and could make the epilepsy worse. If you have discovered an interesting alternative, it is advisable to talk to your vet.


Anti-epileptic drugs all work by reducing the excitability of neurons in the brain, dampening down the excessive electrical stimulation in order to lower the risk of a seizure.

The medication will first be given at a starting dose, which will then be adjusted based on how your pet responds. Your pet will likely have to take their medication twice per day, preferably at the same time each day (give or take an hour).

The treatment starts to work immediately. However, it may not be fully effective until drug levels within the blood have stabilised and this can take anywhere from one week to several months of treatment (depending on the drug). This is called Steady State.


The only way to truly determine the cause of the seizures is with further testing.

What tests your pet needs varies between individuals and so to help them select the most appropriate treatment, the vet may advise one or more of the following tests:

Blood tests for a complete blood analysis and to make sure your pet’s internal organs such as the liver and kidneys are working properly and to assess your pet’s suitability for certain treatments.

CSF tap: this is where a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is taken. This is the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. This is usually performed by specialist veterinarians under a short general anaesthesia. This is to help detect any inflammatory or infectious cause of the seizures.

MRI scan: This is an instrument/tool used to take images of the entire brain in a painless and non-invasive manner.

By looking at the images, the vet can see if there is any abnormalities within the brain e.g. tumours, inflamed areas or congenital problems that could be causing the seizures.

The procedure is usually performed by specialist veterinarians and under a short general anaesthesia.


As with most long-term conditions, regular blood tests are needed to check that the internal organs are working correctly. Your vet may also be able to check the amount of the medication in your pet’s blood.

Daily life

What should I do before taking my epileptic pet on holiday?

Think about the mode of transport: The best forms of transport are ones where you can stay close to your pet, such as cars and trains.

Plan ahead: Make sure you have enough medication for the entire trip. It may be helpful to locate the closest vet to where you are staying, in case of emergency.

Don’t forget the bring your pet’s food – this is to avoid any changes in diet as this can affect some epilepsy medications and reduce their efficacy or result in adverse effects.

See travelling with an epileptic dog…or travelling with an epileptic cat

Can I leave my animal on their own? If they have a seizure, I won't be there...

Yes, it is encouraged that owners of epileptic pets live their lives as normal and it is impossible to be with your pet 24/7.

Although at first it may seem scary to leave your pet alone, it is important you continue to live a normal life. Remember that the vast majority of seizures usually only last for less than 2 minutes and typically stop by themselves.

When you go out, just make sure to leave your pet somewhere suitable, free of hazards. There are also ways to check on your pet remotely, such as smart cameras connected to your phone.

When the clocks go back for winter, will this affect my pet’s treatment?

There is no need for a transition period when the clocks change, you can continue to give your pet their medication at the same time each day. If you are worried about the difference in time, contact your vet for advice.


No anaesthetic is without its risk, but your vet will adjust the protocol for your pet to make it as safe as possible.

See our pages on anaesthetic in epileptic dogs and cats.


A seizure can be scary for anyone who witnesses it. It would be sensible to talk about it with your children, pet sitters, or friends.

Tell them the main facts about the condition:

  • How and why seizures occur, it might be useful to show them the explanations provided in this website.
  • Explain that your pet will probably have seizures throughout their life but with treatment, hopefully they won’t happen very often.
  • Despite the seizures, your pet can live a normal and happy life.

Even though they are not responsible, it is important to tell the breeder and enquire about the existence of epilepsy in the pet’s ancestors, offspring or litter mates.

The fact that in some breeds the condition is genetic, the breeder can take the information you provide into account when breeding.

If your pet is registered with the Kennel Club, you can also contact them to advise of the possible risk within the breeding line.


It is serious if I forget to give a dose?

It is important not to forget your pet’s treatment. If you miss a dose and realise it within 2 hours, you can give the forgotten dose straight away. Otherwise, continue with the next dose as normal.

Depending on what drugs your pet has been prescribed, a missed dose may result in a seizure, so it is always best to contact your vet for advice.

If my pet is off-colour one day, can I reduce the dose?

No. This will have the opposite effect and could risk causing a seizure. You should continue to give the prescribed dose and contact your vet for further advice.

Can I adjust the dose of my pet’s treatment?

It is extremely important to follow your vet’s instructions and not make any changes to the treatment yourself, otherwise you risk triggering another seizure. The most appropriate treatment and dose can be found by combining a detailed history from you, paired with your vet’s experience and diagnostic findings. If you think a dose change may be required, using a seizure diary can help you to record pertinent information and aid discussions with your vet.

My pet accidently received the medication twice, what should I do?

A one-off overdose is unlikely to have any serious consequences. Your pet may exhibit some temporary side effects such as drowsiness or wobbliness. In cases of overdoses it is important to speak to your vet for further advice.


Treatment can take several weeks or even months to reach their full effectiveness.

You should therefore wait before concluding it’s not working. If it does not work as well as expected, your vet will probably look to increase the dose before trying/adding in something else.

You should never stop or change your pet’s treatment without checking with the vet first.


Dealing with epilepsy can be difficult and frustrating. A seizure can be scary and shocking to see, the treatment can take time to get right. The disease is unpredictable. It is impossible to predict seizures, and long periods of calm are often followed by a relapse without anything having changed.

Over time, you will learn how best to manage the condition and be able to cope with your pets seizures.

Remember that you cannot stop a seizure, even if you could watch your pet 24/7.

Giving your pet their medication as prescribed is the best thing you can do to help your pet. With appropriate management, your pet can live a long and healthy life.

  • Give the treatment as instructed by your vet.
  • Keep an accurate record of all seizures and other symptoms.
  • Attend the check-ups with your vet.
  • Give your pet love and support.
  • Protect your pet during seizures and don’t feel guilty if you can’t be there.
  • Be patient and confident.
  • Talk to your vet and other people going through the same thing.
  • Remember the 3 C’s during a seizure.

Yes, as far as possible. However slight variation in the timing is acceptable.

Treatment is often given in several doses throughout the day. It is important to stick to this regimen.

MY DOG TAKES multiple tablets every morning and evening. IS THAT A LOT?

No. The number of tablets is not important. What matters is achieving the right levels of drug within the blood. Your vet can check this by taking a blood sample.

Some animals need to take more tablets than others in order to achieve this.


My animal is hungry all the time, what should I do?

Epilepsy medications can cause increased appetite, particularly in the first few weeks of treatment and usually subside on their own. Despite their hunger, your pet does not require any more food than normal and it is important that you do not overfeed your pet or suddenly change their diet.
If your pet continues to be hungry, there are nutritionally balanced, high fibre (filling), low calorie diets that may help to satisfy your pet. It is important to seek the advice of a vet or a veterinary nutritionist to make the most appropriate dietary choices for your epileptic pet and how to transition to a new diet safely.

Can I give table scraps? or treats?

Avoid giving your pet anything high in salt or calories if they are receiving epilepsy medication as this can affect the treatment or cause your pet to gain weight.

Alternative options include reserving some of their daily portion of their normal food to use as treats, using low calorie, low salt treats, such as carrots, or using other forms of reward, such as a high value toy.

Speak to your vet for specific advice regarding the best treats for your pet.


What can trigger a seizure?

Often there is no clear cause and it is very unusual to find a particular trigger. Anything over stimulating may increase the likelihood of some pets to have a seizure, this includes things like; physical overexertion, overheating, loud noises (storms, fireworks), flashing lights …etc.

Keeping a diary may help you to identify if your pet has a specific trigger.

Will the seizures stop altogether?

It is very rare for seizures to stop altogether, even with epilepsy medication. Instead, treatment aims to reduce the severity and frequency of the seizures whilst allowing you and your pet to have a good quality of life.

What is status epilepticus? What is a cluster seizure?

Status epilepticus is a seizure that lasts 5 minutes or longer, or when two seizures occur with incomplete recovery in-between.

Cluster seizures are when several seizures are experienced within a short time frame (e.g., over a day or two).

Both of these represent severe seizure types and are medical emergencies. It is important to contact your vet immediately to arrange an emergency appointment.