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Canine Seizure Study 1

Canine Seizure Study

Emergency Care and Pain Management

Ellen Yacobi

Tarleton State University

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Chase is a 3-year-old Springer Spaniel. His owner, Mr. Castro, contacted his veterinary

clinic because Chase has been experiencing a seizure for the past 2 minutes. The best advice his

veterinary clinic can give over the phone about helping Chase and protecting himself is to get

Chase into the clinic as quickly as possible. It should be suggested to Mr. Castro that if he can

lay Chase on a flat surface to transport him and while transporting Chase elevate his cranial end

at about 30 degrees.

It should be expressed to Mr. Castro that in this instance since Chase has never

experienced a seizure, then this situation should be treated as an emergency. Seizures are defined

as an abrupt modification of behavior due to a momentary change in the electrical functioning of

the brain and the cortex (Powell, 2012, p. 270). Seizures are brought on by either extracranial

causes such as metabolic disorders, toxicities, environmental disturbances, and nutritional

disorders while intracranial causes are neoplasia, congenital, infectious, immune-mediated,

traumatic, and vascular disorders (Powell, 2012, p. 270).

The acronym LOC stands for Level of Consciousness and is defined as a measurement of

a patients stimulated and responsiveness to stimuli from the environment. The level of

consciousness and mentation are described by many terms, that include depressed meaning a

patient in this state can be stimulated with little struggle (Powell, 2012, p. 274). Another term

that can describe the mentation is obtunded meaning a more depressed level of consciousness

and cannot be entirely provoked but have phases where they are stimulated (Powell, 2012, p.

274). A coma is another form of mentation that means the patient has a failure to make any

focused response to the environment (Powell, 2012, p 274).

The term seizure has several synonyms, but one of the more common terms used to call a

seizure episode is a convulsion. A second term used interchangeably with seizure is ictus which
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is also a phase of a seizure where visible symptoms are seen such as the convulsions. When a

cluster of continued seizures or convulsions occur, it is considered a status epilepticus.

Now that Mr. Castro has brought Chase to the clinic, Chase is no longer thrashing and

kicking but he is still experiencing uncontrollable muscle movements and seems disoriented.

Chase is currently experiencing the postictal stage. During this stage, the body begins to relax

and effects from the seizure are starting to set in. The patient will experience partial paralysis,

confusion and disorientation, a continued loss of bladder and bowels, pacing, and partial

blindness. This stage of the seizure last as long as it takes for the body to recovery and varies

from patient to patient (Ward, 2008).

During Chases physical exam, some vital signs were obtained. Chase has a heart rate of

140 beats per minute with a respiratory rate of panting and a temperature of 103.8 degrees

Fahrenheit. Chase weighs about 45.0 pounds and is still experiencing signs. From the

convulsions, Chase caused scrapes on his left shoulder, hip, and muzzle. He is dirty from having

urinated and defecated on himself. During this period, it might be more difficult to obtain a

thorough neurological physical exam. It might be difficult for several reasons. One of which is

the fact that during a neurological exam, the patients reflexes, coordination, limb strength, and

cranial nerve responses are being recorded. While a patient is still experiencing a seizure, the

neurological exam will interpret the seizure and what the body is currently experiencing but not

the disorder that is causing the episode. The second issue is the fact that the patient is recovering

from a seizure and attempting to pace, experiencing disorientation and blindness, so the patient

will not be very cooperative and tolerable to series of steps involved in the neurological exam.

With Chase having a high temperature and experiencing hyperthermia, a cause of this

clinical sign could be from the seizure and electrical activity affecting the hypothalamus with is
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in the forefront of the brain and controls the bodys temperature. But while monitoring the

seizure patient, the technician should obtain a regular set of vitals that not only include a

temperature but also heart rate, respiratory rate, mucus membrane color, capillary refill time, and

cranial nerve function (Powell, 2012, p. 273).

Mr. Castro agrees to leave Chase with the clinic for observation, blood work, and IV

fluids. Chase has an IV catheter in his cephalic vein, is cleaned up, and resting comfortably in a

kennel where he can be seen. An hour after settling Chase in, he has another seizure. The doctor

set an order for Chase to receive diazepam if another seizure was observed. The recommended

dose of diazepam is 0.5 to 1.0 mg/kg IV (Powell, 2012, p. 271). With the seizure seen, Chase

received 2.0 ml IV and waiting 30 seconds to 1 minute for the medication to take effect. Once

Chase began recovering, he was immediately assessed and vital signs were obtained. Chases

temperature was 105.0 degrees Fahrenheit. As a technician, there are interventions that can be

performed at that level including applying alcohol to Chases pads, pulling all bedding out of his

kennel, placing a fan in front of him, and if that does not work bathing Chases in cool water.

With a high temperature, it has the potential to initiate another seizure so time is of the essence.

As Chase is monitored over night, he appears not to have any more seizures. But other

parameters that should be monitored are the patients blood pressure for hypotension which can

be detrimental to the brain with increased cranial pressure (Powell, 2012, p.273). Chase also

needs to be monitored for adequate oxygenation and ventilation depending on how sedate the

dose of diazepam makes him. This is to prevent hypoxia, cerebral edema and damaging the brain

(Powell, 2012, p 273). The patient should also be monitored for the level of consciousness to

ensure his arousal level is normal. This is to ensure the patient is not progressing to a loss of

consciousness and needing more aggressive therapy (Powell, 2012, p. 274).

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After Chases blood work was completed, all values were within normal limits and show

no signs of toxins or trauma. Chase has been diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. Now, the Chase

has been started on phenobarbital, Mr. Castro needs to be educated on what to expect. Chase

must remain on anticonvulsant medication for life. If ever he is taken off, he runs the risk of

inducing further seizures (Ward, 2008). Chase also need to have blood work performed twice a

year to check liver and kidney levels as well as phenobarbital levels to sure all is healthy. If

Chase continues to have seizures, the vet needs to be notified and dosing might need to be

adjusted to a more appropriate dose.


Powell, S. R. (2012). Neurological Emergencies. In C.L. Norkus (Ed.), Veterinary Technicians

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Manual for Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care (pp. 263 282). West Sussex,

UK: Wiley and Sons.

Ward, E. (2008, December 11). Seizures General for Dogs. Retrieved from