What Causes Seizures?

What causes seizures in horses? Is there anything we can do?
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My eventer has recently been diagnosed with seizures. However, despite blood tests, we have no idea what causes them. The episodes last for approximately two minutes, and once they are over, he is completely normal again. He has never had them while being ridden, and they mostly occur in the paddock.

We’ve moved three times in the last few years, and his food has been altered, so those shouldn’t be causes. He has never been injured or hurt before, and this illness has been a nasty shock. What causes this? Is there anything we can do?

AThe problem with your horse fits the description of an adult animal with acquired epilepsy, or more specifically idiopathic epilepsy, assuming there has been no history of brain damage or current disease.

In general, if the seizures are predictable (typical signs appear ahead of the main event), and you feel comfortable about not riding when a seizure is coming on, I feel your horse’s clinical signs are not severe enough to warrant treatment

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A. C. (Woody) Asbury received his DVM from Michigan State University in 1956, then spent 21 years in California in breeding farm practice and at UC Davis. He joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1977 and was involved in teaching, research, and administration until 1996. Asbury was a long-time member of The Horse’s advisory board. He died in 2011 after a lengthy illness.

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