Epilepsy is the most common neurological disorder seen in dogs and has been estimated to affect approximately 0.75% of the general canine population. The term epilepsy refers to a heterogeneous disease that is characterized by the presence of recurrent, unprovoked seizures resulting from an abnormality of the brain. The condition can be inherited (genetic or idiopathic epilepsy), caused by structural problems in the brain (structural epilepsy), or stem from an unknown cause (epilepsy of unknown cause).
Determination of an appropriate treatment regimen for canine epilepsy depends on an accurate diagnosis of the type and cause of seizures, only after which appropriate therapeutic options can be identified. While there is no accepted classification system for seizures in dogs (as there is in humans) the International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force recently proposed this one for dogs:
Canine seizures can be thought of as either generalized or focal.
- Generalized seizures involved both side of the brain.
- Focal seizures can progress to be generalized.
The Foundation has supported the efforts of the AKC Canine Health Foundation’s Epilepsy Research Initiative. For further details on signs, symptoms, diagnostics, and treatment of epilepsy in dogs AKC CHF has a great article on Understanding Epilepsy.