Young Dog with Seizures
Over the past four months, our three-year-old dog has had three seizures. Our veterinarian said it is time to test Misty to see if she can find the cause of the problem. She suspects epilepsy. What test is there for epilepsy? Isn’t Misty young for something so serious?
The signs do seem to point to epilepsy as the source of Misty’s seizures. The disease typically shows up with seizures between one and three years of age. And, like Misty, affected dogs seem normal between seizures.
There is no particular test to verify the presence of epilepsy, defined
as a disease characterized by recurrent seizures. Rather, the diagnosis
is based on clinical findings and ruling out other known causes of seizures.
Your veterinarian will want to perform blood tests and possibly radiographs to rule out potential causes like diabetes, liver or kidney disease, low calcium levels, signs of previous head trauma (such as a skull fracture), cardiovascular or bone marrow abnormalities. If the seizures are secondary to one of these, they often can be stopped by treating the underlying problem.
If the tests indicate that epilepsy is the reason for Misty’s seizures, you should understand a few facts about the condition. Epilepsy means is that Misty’s brain, for some as yet unknown reason, releases nerve impulses in a sudden, excessive, disorderly fashion. Many times we use the word idiopathic to describe such a situation where no one knows the cause.
Misty probably will be on an anti-convulsant drug for the rest of her life. These drugs do not cure epilepsy but they do reduce the severity of the sudden, disorderly nerve discharges from the brain. In other words, if used on a constant basis, they may at best prevent all seizures. In more severe cases of epilepsy, the best we can hope for would be for them to increase the number of days between seizures.
We hope that whatever treatment regimen is followed will be helpful for Misty!