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Seizures: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options as well as Disease Prevention



A seizure is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness and control of motor function. Seizures may be mild to severe, partial or generalized, frequent or infrequent; and may involve twitching or convulsing. The patient may appear disoriented and unable to stand.

When a seizure occurs, the patient may vocalize, lose consciousness,or stiffen the body. Fortunately, many patients will recover from a seizure and slowly regain their ability to control their movements.

Generalized seizures are more severe. The patient loses consciousness, vocalizes and moves the arms and legs uncontrollably. Partial seizures are characterized by a continuous twitching of an arm or a leg.

Possible Causes:

  • Toxicities:
    • Heavy Metal Poisoning (often lead or zinc poisoning)
    • Tobacco
    • Exposure to pesticides can lead to nonspecific signs of poisoning, including gastro- intestinalproblems, tremors, weakness, dyspnea, seizures or sudden death. B

  • Nutrition / Malnutrition:
    • Dehydration - once the patient is properly hydrated, the seizures usually stop. If not corrected, dehydration will lead to death. Note: the cause of the dehydration needs to be found, unless it obvious (lack of water). Often a dehydrated patient is suffering from an infection or some disease that causes the dehydration.
    • Low blood sugar. Possible symptoms: Increase in thirst and urination; weakness, collapse, seizures. Please refer to diabetes.

  • Trauma / Accident / Brain Damage

  • Infectious diseases that may have neurological symptoms

  • Brain tumor

  • End-stage liver disease: Toxins build up in the bloodstream, resulting in central nervous systems signs, such as disorientation or seizures

  • Hyperthermia / Heat exposure - An overheated bird will begin panting, and with panting, will also begin getting dehydrated. If the bird's body temperature rises high enough, it will suffer a seizure and die.

  • Metabolic diseases (hypocalcaemia, hyperglycemia)

  • Problems with the uropygial gland


The patient shoudl be taken to the doctor immediately. They may provide supportive care, including a warm, quiet, safe environment, fluids, nutritional support, antibiotics (whenever appropriate) and anticonvulsants. .

Blood tests will be taken to try to determine the cause of the seizure. Antibiotics, fluids and glucose may be administered to stabilize the patient.

A baseline complete blood count and chemistry (CBC) will reveal whether anemia, inflammation or infection is present. Blood chemistries provide an indication of liver and kidney function and the electrolyte status of the patient. The vet may test for certain infectious diseases.

If the cause of the seizures can be found, treatment is generally directed specifically towards correcting the underlying problem. Lead and zinc toxicity, for example, may be treated by chelating drugs and removal (if possible) of the lead or zinc particles. .

Hypocalcaemia may be treated by supplying calcium and vitamin D3 and correcting the deficient diet.

Metabolic problems should be corrected whenever possible. If hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is present, glucose / dextroxe should be provided to normalize blood sugar. Liver disease, if present, should be treated.

Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.

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