How Do Seizures Differ in Cats and Dogs?

July 19, 2018

There are different parts of the brain that can have a seizure onset in a cat compared to a dog.

"Seizures in cats and dogs actually are quite similar in their onset, how they appear, how they can spread through the brain," says Heidi Barnes Heller, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), clinical associate professor of neurology/neurosurgery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine. But she also says there are several differences.

"There are different parts of the brain that can have a seizure onset in a cat compared to a dog that we don't see as commonly in dogs.

I would parallel this with humans in cats more than I would parallel dogs to humans with their seizures. So, humans tend to have temporal lobe epilepsy fairly commonly, and that's something we rarely see in dogs but are seeing more and more commonly in cats and likely will be diagnosing more and more commonly in cats. It's just a challenging diagnosis to make ante-mortem-before death. And so, the source of the seizure is coming from a different place in the cat brain compared to the dog brain. But the reason for the seizure: a brain tumor, head trauma, epilepsy, something like that could be the same between dogs and cats."