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What happens when a dog suffers from epilepsy?

What happens when a dog suffers from epilepsy?

Idiopathic epilepsy is a chronic disease of unknown cause and therefore “there is no curative medication”. Although most patients need lifelong treatment, “a high percentage respond well to therapy and achieve a quality of life similar” to that of healthy dogs. In principle, it does not involve a great economic effort for the owner, because the drugs are not very expensive, although when it is necessary “advanced diagnostic imaging tests may involve a higher cost”.

“Advanced diagnostic imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging, have made it possible to improve diagnosis,” the specialist points out. In the coming years, he predicts that “electroencephalography will make it possible to make a more precise diagnosis and deepen our knowledge of this disease”.

In general, “most general veterinarians can diagnose and treat” cases of epilepsy in dogs. In cases where patients do not respond adequately to medication or “advanced imaging tests are necessary”, a referral to a neurologist should be made.

When an animal has an epileptic seizure it is best not to try to open its mouth. Dogs lie in lateral recumbency, “so there is no risk of airway obstruction”. The danger lies in involuntary chewing movements, which “can cause severe injury” to the person. On the other hand, although it is a rare mistake, Espino reminds us that “changing the medication regimen can have severe consequences”.

“It is important to stress to owners the need to try to record videos of any episodic epileptic events their pet has experienced,” the neurologist stresses. When a patient arrives at the clinic, one of the biggest difficulties the veterinarian faces is “being able to confirm that the seizures described by the owner are epileptic seizures”. The video is an element that provides a great deal of information “that can be key in the correct diagnosis and management of the case”.