Everyone can usually tell a tale of someone who walks or talks in their sleep. Have you ever seen some of the YouTube clips of pets moving their legs or lips when they are sleeping? – It’s pretty funny!
However sometimes pets show unusual behaviour, and it’s not always easy to tell if the behaviour is normal or not – for example, a seizure. If the pet is sleeping and has some muscle twitches or seems to be making a few leg motions, that behaviour is most likely normal. You should be able to call their name or make some noise, and they should be able to respond or wake up. Signs such as whole body tremors, sudden loss of consciousness or acting sick beforehand are much more severe and can mean that your pet is experiencing a seizure.
Seizures can be very mild and affect only one body part briefly or can happen over and over again. If you see these signs – your pet is behaving in a very unusual manner and cannot seem to stop or will not respond to you – call your vet right away.
In the meantime, make sure that the pet is in a safe place. Keep calm, stay nearby and remove any nearby objects, food or water. You can offer soothing words of reassurance – it’s hard to know how much your pet can hear, but it would be nice to listen to the voice of someone familiar. Once the incident has stopped, your pet should be seen by the vet right away.
If however the seizures continue to happen or the seizure does not stop after 1 minute (yes, do start a timer!), you may require assistance to transport your pet to the hospital. Do not give your pet anything by mouth unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian. If you are able, get a video clip of your pet’s incident as seeing the clinical signs can be very helpful for the doctor.
Being informed about what to look for, and what to do, will make you more prepared to help your pet. It’s okay to be nervous – as long as you’re not on your last nerve!
Written by Dr. Rhonda Boulter, DVM