Fits and seizures in small mammals can be very serious and life-threatening. It’s important to recognize the signs of a fit or seizure, so that your pet can receive prompt medical attention. Common signs of a fit or seizure include sudden collapse, their limbs stiffening, rapid breathing, uncontrollable muscle twitching, salivation, loss of consciousness and possibly urinating or defecating. Seizures can also be associated with strange behavior like twitching, paddling their limbs and chomping motions.
If your small mammal is showing signs of a fit or seizure, it’s important to take them to the nearest veterinarian immediately. In some cases, fits and seizures in small mammals might not need medical attention if they are mild and do not last longer than a minute. If their fit or seizure lasts for more than a few minutes, medical attention is necessary.
Symptoms of Small Mammal Fits and Seizures
Symptoms of Fits and Seizures can vary depending on the cause and severity of their condition. The most common symptoms include:
- Sudden collapse
- Limb stiffening
- Rapid breathing
- Uncontrollable muscle twitching
- Loss of consciousness
- Possibly urinating or defecating
Other signs that may be seen are strange behavior such as twitching, paddling of the limbs and chomping motions.
Diagnosing Small Mammal Fits and Seizures
Diagnosing fits and seizures in small mammals can be difficult because the signs of a seizure may not always be obvious. Your veterinarian will take a detailed history of your pet’s medical history and then physicaly examine your pet. To confirm their diagnosis, they could also recommend diagnostic tests such as blood work, imaging (X-rays or ultrasound), and a urine analysis. These tests can help determine the cause of the seizure and rule out other potential causes.
Stages of Small Mammal Fits and Seizures
Fits and seizures typically progress through three stages: pre-ictal (before the seizure), ictal (during the seizure) and post-ictal (after the seizure).
During the pre-ictal stage, your pet could have signs of anxiety or agitation such as pacing, trembling or vocalizing. They might also have strange behavior like hiding or chewing on objects.
During the ictal stage, your pet will have a loss of consciousness and uncontrollable muscle twitching. This stage can last for several minutes or up to an hour depending on the severity of the seizure.
The post-ictal stage is when your pet begins to recover from their seizure and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, during this time they could be disoriented and have difficulty walking.
Treating Small Mammal Fits and Seizures
Treating fits and seizures in small mammals will depend on the underlying cause. If the seizure is caused by an electrolyte imbalance or a toxin, then it will be necessary to treat the underlying condition. In some cases, medication can be prescribed to help reduce the frequency and severity of their seizures. It’s important to follow your vet’s advice regarding treatment and take steps to reduce stress in your pet’s environment as this can help minimize the risk of further seizures.
Preventing Small Mammal Fits and Seizures
There are several steps you can take to help prevent fits and seizures in small mammals. These steps include giving your pets a safe and stress-free environment, making sure your pet is getting enough exercise, feeding them a balanced diet, and ensuring they receive regular check-ups with their veterinarian. It’s important to be aware of any environmental toxins that could be present in your pet’s habitat and to avoid giving them any medications without consulting your vet first.