Leading a happy life with canine epilepsy14 January 2016
DIAGNOSIS

Dogs with primary epilepsy are healthy and normal in the periods between seizures. It is highly likely that when your vet examines your dog, there will not appear to be anything wrong.

Therefore, the most important information for your vet is what you tell them. Providing your vet with a video of your dog having a seizure, as well as a diary of the seizure episodes, can greatly help your vet to get all the information that they need to help your dog. See “Practical tools” section to find out more.

DIAGNOSING PRIMARY EPILEPSY

A diagnosis of primary epilepsy is made by ruling out other potential causes of seizures.

After examining your dog, your vet may suggest running some tests to check for any underlying health issues. The most common test that vets will perform is a blood test. Blood tests will allow your vet to check that your dog’s liver and kidneys are functioning normally and that there are no signs of an infection or low blood sugar levels. The initial blood tests will also give your vet baseline data which may be important if your dog needs to start any medication.

Other tests that may be recommended by your own vet or by a specialist include a CT or MRI scan of your dog’s brain, a spinal tap (checking the fluid around your dog’s spinal cord and brain) or an EEG analysis which produces a brain wave trace.

SPEAKING TO YOUR VET

As your dog is very unlikely to have a seizure in front of your vet, you can help by describing the seizures in detail. Keeping an accurate record in a seizure diary will help your vet See “Practical tools” section to find out more. Your vet will want to know:

  • How long the seizure(s) lasted
  • What time of day the seizure(s) occurred
  • What your dog was doing before and after the seizure(s)
  • Details of the seizure(s) itself. Recording a video of your dog’s seizure(s), for example on a smartphone, can also greatly help your vet

See “Practical tools” section to find out more

FACT

It is common for dogs with primary epilepsy to have normal blood test results.