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Seizure Disorders in Dogs

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Diagnostic tests are performed to identify underlying diseases that may be causing the seizures. Diagnostic tests may include:

Complete medical history and physical examination including neurological examination and ophthalmologic (eye) examination. Routine laboratory tests to evaluate the general health of your pet and to identify potential underlying causes of seizures, including the following:

  • A complete blood count (CBC or hemogram)
  • A serum biochemical profile to evaluate for low blood sugar, low blood calcium and abnormalities of liver function
  • Bile acid determinations to evaluate liver function
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal examination

    The need for additional diagnostic tests is determined based on the results of the medical history, physical examination and initial laboratory tests. These tests may include:

  • X-rays of the abdomen to evaluate liver size
  • Ultrasound examination of the abdomen to evaluate liver size, assess other internal organs and identify tumors that may be present
  • Electroencephalography (EEG) to record electrical activity of the brain
  • X-rays of the skull
  • Blood lead determination if lead poisoning is suspected
  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis

    Brain imaging consisting of either computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI is more sensitive than CT for examining the brain but cost and availability may limit its use.

    Your veterinarian may recommend additional diagnostic tests based on the results of initial examinations. These tests may help diagnose other concurrent medical problems or allow your veterinarian to better understand the impact of the underlying disease on your pet. Such tests ensure optimal medical care and are selected on a case-by-case basis.

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