What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is brain disorder characterized by repeating seizures with no apparent brain abnormality. The brain is normal in structure but NOT in function. Epilepsy must be differentiated from other brain or physiological disorders that cause seizures
How does my dog get Epilepsy?
The manner in which epilepsy develops is uncertain but there are certain breeds that have a higher predilection (see below) and thus a genetic transmission is suggested.
How do I know if my dog has Epilepsy?
The onset of seizure activity is usually between ages 6 months and five years. Seizure activity is most common when the pet is resting or asleep, thus early morning or at night. They may be the more severe grand mal seizures with full convulsions or mild with no loss of consciousness, subtle in-coordination, and only subtle mental abnormalities noted. Severe seizures will include a stiff body, chomping of the jaws, extreme salivation, loss of bladder and bowel control, vocalization, and paddling, or any combination of the above. After the seizure, there will be periods of confusion and disorientation, pacing, and apparent blindness. It may take minutes or hours for full recovery. The seizures may be infrequent and progress in frequency over time.
Your veterinarian will do a complete examination of your pet and a series of blood tests to ensure that there is no other condition going on. MRI and CAT scans are available to help in the diagnosis. Epilepsy is frequently a condition diagnosed by ruling out all other conditions including brain tumors, viral infections, poisonings, etc.
What can I do about Epilepsy?
Once diagnosed, epilepsy may be treated with a variety of different medications used to decrease the frequency and severity of the seizures and prevent them all together. Multiple drugs may be needed in more difficult to control cases. If seizures prove to be difficult to control or do not respond to medication, looking for non-epilepsy causes of seizures may be needed. During a seizure, it is imperative to make sure your pet doesn’t harm himself or herself. Treatment is for the life of the pet.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting Epilepsy?
Other than careful breed selection, there is nothing you can do to prevent a dog or cat from getting epilepsy.
Are there certain breeds that get Epilepsy more often?
Beagle, Belgian tervuren, border collie, boxer, cocker spaniel, collie, dachshund, German Shepherd, golden retriever, Irish setter, keeshond, Labrador retriever, poodle, saint Bernard, Shetland sheepdog, Siberian Husky, Springer spaniel, Welsh corgi, Wirehaired fox terrier.