Animal health care is so vast and complex, and the central nervous system in particular is still largely uncharted territory. Diseases of the nervous system are, fortunately, rare, and sadly often severe.
The commonest neurological problems in cats and dogs are due to road accidents and other forms of head injuries, chemical poisoning, and infections such as rabies. Any of these can induce fits, or seizures, as part of the picture.
Seizures (fits) tend to be seen as uncontrolled shaking, although other sorts of fits with the dog going vacant can also occur.
It is important to try to find the cause of the fit. There may be signs of injury from car accident or fight. Evidence of having ingested poison may or may not be obvious - antifreeze with ethylene glycol is particularly dangerous, causing seizures.
Always call or take your animal to a vet. Your vet is essential in helping you to work out what the cause of the symptoms are. Neurological problems are so complex that even they may not be able to find the cause. Be guided by your vet on management.
If your cat or dog has a seizure: Keep away from your cat or dog's mouth, as he or she may bite you accidentally. Try to move your animal away from hazards. If electricity is involved, use a stick or some other non conducting material. It may help to put a soft cushion or blanket under its head. If the fit lasts more than 6 minutes, immediate veterinary care is needed. Prolonged seizures may be fatal for animals as with humans.
After a fit an animal may be sleepy but also anxious and confused. Comfort it; Rescue Remedy, healing and massage may be helpful here. If this is your animal's first fit, take it to the vet anyway to try to find the cause. Also see you vet if you have any concerns, or there are changes to the pattern of fitting.
It is important that anyone who spends time looking after your pet for you is aware of his or her tendency to have fits, and how to manage a seizure if one occurs. Make sure that your friend has a list of actions to take, as above, as well as the emergency phone number of your vet, or a nearby vet if your pet is being cared for further from home.
As with most illness, being calm and prepared in a crisis makes it easier for all concerned.
Copyright (c) 2008 The Naturally Healthy Pet.com
Dr Alison Grimston, a holistic doctor and animal healer, has a natural animal therapy website. If you are a pet owner or therapist, sign up for her free report on keeping your pet healthy naturally, by logging in at http://www.TheNaturallyHealthyPet.com .