Idiopathic epilepsy in dogs, neurological disorders, canine seizures caused by trauma, a toxin, a brain tumor, an infection, or an issue with your. Abstract. Canine idiopathic epilepsy has an estimated prevalence of per cent in primary veterinary practice (Kearsley-Fleet and others ) and as such is. Age at the onset of seizures is an important piece of information in the patient history. Idiopathic epilepsy is usually seen in dogs between the.
Epilepsy Dogs Idiopathic in
Some owners may see their pet twitch or kick their legs while asleep, and become fearful that they might be having a seizure. Animals experiencing a seizure cannot be easily woken, and seeking help from a veterinarian may be necessary.
The ictal phase is the actual seizure itself, and can last anywhere between a few seconds to five minutes. During this phase, the animal may lose consciousness, or have a change in mental awareness. During a full-blown seizure, or grand mal , all of the muscles in its body will contract erratically and spastically. According to Ernest Ward, DVM, the animal will typically fall over on its side and begin to paddle its legs, while seeming to be otherwise paralyzed.
After five minutes, if the seizure has not ended, the animal is considered to be in status epilepticus, or a prolonged seizure, and help from a trained medical professional should be sought.
Unlike humans, most animals do not swallow their tongues during a seizure. If you insert your fingers in its mouth, it will be of no help, and you will likely get bitten or injure the animal. The safest place for your dog or cat is an open area on the floor, which decreases the chances of further injuries associated with falling down. The time period immediately after a seizure is referred to as the post-ictal phase , during which there is typically confusion, disorientation, salivation, pacing, restlessness, and even temporary blindness.
Currently, there is no direct correlation between the severity of the episode and the duration of the post-ictal phase. If you have concerns regarding your dog or cat and seizure symptoms, and you need to locate a board-certified internal medicine veterinarian, use the VetSpecialists. We now better understand that idiopathic epilepsy in dogs most likely has an underlying genetic cause. In spite of this strong evidence for a genetic cause, the association of specific genetic variants with epilepsy in most breeds has remained elusive.
The prevalence of epilepsy is significantly greater in purebred dogs versus mixed breed dogs. Male dogs are more commonly affected than females. The majority of epileptic dogs have their first seizure between 1 and 5 years of age, and dogs in that age range are more likely to be diagnosed as idiopathic epileptics, although about one-third of dogs years old will be diagnosed with a structural or metabolic cause.
Seizures in dogs with epilepsy can be either generalized or focal in onset. A generalized seizure consists of tonic stiffening and clonic paddling types of movement and the animal loses consciousness. A focal seizure may consist of abnormal movements in one part of the body with or without a change in consciousness. Importantly, a dog with epilepsy is neurologically normal in between the seizure episodes. The severity of seizures may worsen over time. Sometimes the seizures may last for more than five minutes status or occur one after another within a short time period cluster.
Both situations require immediate management by a primary care veterinarian. Idiopathic epilepsy is diagnosed by ruling out other acquired diseases that also can manifest seizures. A minimum database that includes a complete blood count, biochemical analysis and urinalysis is useful to exclude other underlying systemic diseases outside of the brain. These diagnostic testing procedures also assist in ensuring the animal is healthy for anesthesia. Magnetic resonance imaging is the preferred imaging technique for presumptive diagnosis of epilepsy by ruling out other diseases that are identified by structural lesions such as inflammation or a brain tumor.
Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid can aid in diagnosis and ruling out inflammatory disease. The decision to start antiepileptic drug treatment is based on a number of factors, including the cause of the seizures, risk of recurrence, seizure type and side effects of the medication.
In dogs, long-term seizure management is most successful if therapy is initiated early after onset of seizures, especially in dogs with frequent seizures and in dog breeds known to have severe epilepsy. Although a variety of drugs are used for management of epileptic dogs, there are no evidence-based guidelines regarding the choice of a first-line drug for long-term management of seizure control in dogs.
In principle, administration of a single drug is preferred because it avoids drug interactions and it is more convenient for the owner. Phenobarbital and potassium bromide have been used as first-choice sole drugs for long-term treatment of epilepsy in dogs based on their long-standing history, widespread availability and low cost.
During the past 20 years, many newer antiepileptic drugs with fewer side effects and drug interactions have been developed for treatment of human epilepsy. Many of these same drugs have been determined to be safe also in our veterinary patients, such as levetiracetam, zonisamide, gabapentin and pregabalin.
Symptoms and Safety Procedures for Pets with Idiopathic Epilepsy
There are many causes of seizures. Idiopathic epilepsy, the most common cause of seizures in the dog, is an inherited disorder, but its exact cause is unknown. The term idiopathic means a disease of unknown cause. We now better understand that idiopathic epilepsy in dogs most likely has an underlying genetic cause. Your vet may suspect that your dog has epilepsy if they have at least two Idiopathic epilepsy usually affects young to middle age dogs (6 months to 6 years .