Treatment of Epilepsy in Dogs
The goal of treatment is to reduce the severity and frequency of the seizures while avoiding unacceptable side-effects. It is rare to completely eliminate all seizures in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. your veterinarian may choose to treat the disorder with anticonvulsant medications.
Drug Therapy for Seizures
At home, follow your veterinarian’s recommendations regarding drug administration and monitoring, and maintain a complete seizure log with information regarding the seizures, any medication change, veterinary visits and illnesses.
Haphazard drug administration or abrupt changes in medication may be worse than no treatment at all and may cause status epilepticus, a condition characterized by persistent seizure activity for a period of more than 30 minutes or repeated episodes of seizure activity without recovery in between.
Blood tests will be required to monitor your dog’s response to therapy and guard against toxic effects from the seizures as well as the anti-convulsants.
The diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy is not a death-warrant; epilepsy is a chronic disease that can be managed in the vast majority of cases. There is help for you and your dog. Work with a veterinarian with whom you feel a good rapport. Educate yourself on seizures and their treatment.
In-Depth Information on Epilepsy in Dogs
Epilepsy is a condition characterized by recurrent seizures. Approximately 2 to 3 percent of dogs are epileptic and the age at which dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have their first seizure is usually between 1 and 5 years of age. Many pets can have one seizure without ever having a second. The seizures can be generalized or partial.
Partial or focal seizures indicate activation of a limited number or group of neurons. Generalized seizures indicate a synchronous discharge of a large number of neurons in both sides of the brain. The majority of dogs (50 to 60 percent) with idiopathic epilepsy have generalized seizures.
Seizures usually appear suddenly and end spontaneously. Seizures can last from seconds to minutes. Generalized seizures that last more than 30 minutes or multiple seizures that occur so rapidly as to prevent complete recovery are considered emergency situations that require immediate intervention as permanent brain damage may occur after this 30 minutes.
Some dogs exhibit the following three stages of seizures. However, not all dogs have the exact type of seizure stages.
Several different diseases may cause seizures (convulsions). The term idiopathic epilepsy refers to a seizure disorder the cause of which remains unknown despite a thorough diagnostic evaluation. Treatment and prognosis (outcome) of seizures depend on their underlying causes. The following are the most significant causes of seizures in dogs and cats: