What is epilepsy?

Can my epileptic pet still lead a long and happy life?

Yes – With effective treatment, an epileptic pet can lead a long and happy life.

Epilepsy is a condition that causes your pet to have multiple seizures or ‘fits’. This can be due to a structural problem in the brain, a genetic cause or sometimes due to unknown reasons.

It can be quite distressing to witness seizures, but it may help you to know that your pet is unaware of the event and not in pain.

Completely stopping epileptic seizures from occurring is unfortunately a rare achievement. Instead, the aim of treatment is to reduce seizure occurrence as much as possible whilst ensuring you and your pet have a good quality of life.

Genetic epilepsy or epilepsy of unknown origin (called ‘idiopathic epilepsy’) most commonly starts between the ages of 6 months to 6 years.

Structural epilepsy can occur at any age.

Certain breeds are suspected to be more at risk of idiopathic epilepsy due to inherited genetics.

Find out more about epilepsy in your pet by selecting their species below.

Epilepsy in Dogs

Epileptic seizures are a result of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Canine epilepsy can manifest itself in many ways, depending on the location and strength of the abnormal electrical signals. There are three main reasons why this abnormal activity can occur; reactive seizures, structural or idiopathic epilepsy. Although the true cause of idiopathic epilepsy is unknown, in many dogs it is considered to have a genetic origin, with certain breeds more at risk than others.
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Epilepsy in Cats

Seizures and epilepsy are a common neurological problem in cats. The causes are broadly similar to dogs (structural and idiopathic) however epilepsy due to genetic causes are thought to be rare in cats. There are different manifestations of epilepsy in cats. Speak to your vet if you’re concerned.
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