Leading a happy life with canine epilepsy14 January 2016
TREATMENT

Whilst epilepsy is not curable, in most dogs, it can be well managed so that you and your dog can lead a full and happy life together. There are medications available for long-term use which will not stop seizures altogether, but can reduce the number of seizures your dog has. Treatment is highly individual, so it is best to speak to your vet about this. There are a few steps to finding the right treatment.

1. Dog health assessment

Before prescribing any medication, your vet will need to know how often your dog has seizures and how severe they are. You and your vet may decide that your dog’s seizures are too mild or occur too infrequently to warrant life-long medication. Whether your dog is on treatment or not, it is important to keep an accurate seizure diary (See “Practical tools”).

2. Starting treatment

If your dog is prescribed anti-epileptic treatment it is worth remembering that it may take some time to find the best medication and dose to suit your dog. For the first few weeks your vet will probably need to check your dog frequently. If you have any concerns about your dog or its treatment you should contact your vet for advice.

3. Giving medication

Most medication is administered orally, via liquid or tablets. It must be given regularly and at roughly the same time every day. DO NOT change or stop any medication without first speaking to your vet. Suddenly stopping medication can cause your dog to have a seizure that may require emergency treatment.

4. Routine check-ups

Once your dog has been receiving treatment for a while, your vet will need to see your dog for routine check-ups. At these check-ups, they may suggest running some blood tests. Ask your vet if they would like to see your dog before, or after, you have given them their medication. Remember to take your dog’s seizure diary with you.

5. Stopping or switching medication

NEVER stop or change medication without speaking to your vet first. Usually medication for epilepsy is required for the rest of your dog’s life. Increasing the dose without careful monitoring may cause side-effects, whilst reducing the dose or stopping the medication(s) can trigger a seizure. Other medications can be affected by epilepsy treatment so ALWAYS check with your vet . Any change in your dog’s medication or management should be recorded in your dog’s seizure diary.

KEEP AN ACCURATE SEIZURE DIARY

You should take this with you every time you visit your vet. The diary and graph will help your vet monitor your dog’s condition and make recommendations that best help your dog.