Idiopathic Epilepsy in Your Canine

by on 02/10/15 at 11:26 am

The first seizures that are noted at home can be traumatic for both you and your canine.  There are many causes associated with the seizure / seizure-like activity.  Younger animals tend to have better prognosis.  Unfortunately, older animals (geriatric) tend to have poorer prognosis due to a higher risk of intracranial disease / tumors.  An initial database is needed to begin to rule out metabolic and endocrinopathic causes for the seizures.  A thorough history is indicated to determine possible toxin exposure, disease risk factors, medication reactions, genetic predispositions, etc.  MRI / CT can be performed to help rule-out anatomical causes (ie. a mass).

A young canine that is recently diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy can be managed many ways.  Sometimes, the infrequency of seizure activity may result in no medications at all.  Other times, multiple medications are indicated to control seizure activity.  A journal is usually kept to record all seizure / seizure-like activity.  It is generally recommended not to attempt to restrain your pet unless he/she is in danger of hurting himself/herself or other as he/she may bite without knowledge of the event.  An attempt to digitally record any further seizure-like activity is recommended.  The log should be a record of the activities immediately prior to, during and following any seizure-like activity.  Should the seizures begin to cluster (3 or more in 24-72 hours) then usually considerations for anticonvulsive medications are recommended.

The medications are also monitored for effective levels in the blood stream.  It is not as simple as give these medications and they will control seizures.  Some of the medications will need adjustment over time.  Other medications will need to be monitored for potential side-effects.  Prolonged exposure to phenobarbital can lead to liver problems.  Excessive zonisamide can interfere with thyroid synthesis.  Epilepsy is a dynamic disease process and your veterinarian should be able to guide you through clinical management of your pet.


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