Margaret A. Wissman, DVM
Posted: August 5, 2013, 1:30 p.m. PDT
Seizures are abnormal electrical activity in the brain, causing the brain cells to fire erratically. There are partial and generalized seizures and they may occur individually or in groups.
A seizure causes muscle twitching, spasms, blinking eyelids, and rhythmic contractions of the limbs and neck. Abnormal vocalization and loss of consciousness for a period may also be signs of a seizure.
Problems in the cranium or brain can cause seizures, such as a tumor, abscess, trauma or crebrovascular accident may cause. Problem outside the cranium can also cause seizures, such as toxins, including cigarettes, lead toxicosis, insecticides, zinc toxicosis, mycotoxins, chocolate, salt, overheated PTFE. Lack of oxygen to the brain, low-blood calcium levels, low-blood sugar levels, heat stress, liver disease, emboli, medication overdose and infectious diseases are other examples of factors that may cause a bird to have seizures.
Seizures may be caused by idiopathic epilepsy, which some birds are more prone to (e.g., peach-faced lovebirds and red-lored Amazons).
If your bird experiences a seizure lasting more than one minute, the situation has become dangerous, as the bird’s body temperature can rise due to the seizure activity. They bird should be taken immediately to a vet for emergency treatment. If your bird experiences a single seizure that is not triggered by something, such as a bump on the head, watch it closely and if it has another, take it to an avian vet to get a full work-up (blood count, plasma chemistry, Chlamydophila testing, protein electrophoresis, body x-rays, Gram’s stains).
If a work-up by a vet determines the cause of your bird’s seizures, treat the problem appropriately. If testing does not reveal anything the bird may need to be prescribed medication to help reduce its seizures. Many of these medications make a bird groggy, but their body will eventually adapt. The nutritional supplement DMG (dimethyl glycine) is helpful for seizure birds, Wissman said, and is used in conjunction with other seizure medications.
Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Health section is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.