previous page: 05  Stages of a Seizure
page up: Canine Epilepsy FAQ
next page: 07  Treatment

06 Diagnosing Epilepsy


This article is from the Canine Epilepsy FAQ, by Alicia Wiersma-Aylward with numerous contributions by others.

06 Diagnosing Epilepsy

What do you do if you think your dog has had a seizure? Veterinarians
have a number of diagnostic tools at their disposal.

For dogs who have had only one isolated seizure, a complete physical
and neurological examination is in order. Owners will be advised to
watch for further seizures if no abnormalities are found. Medical
treatment will not be instituted until future activity can be noted.

For every patient having more than one seizure, a minimum data base
should be developed. The data base contains the patient's profile,
history, results of complete physical and neurological examinations,
and basic tests. The profile consists of the dog's breed, age, and
sex. Pertinent history includes vaccinations, potential exposure to
toxins, diet, any illnesses or injuries, behavioral changes, and
whether seizures occurred in any animal related to the dog.

Owners are also asked to give a complete description of the seizures:
frequency, duration, and severity, as well as any behavioral
abnormalities associated with them. An accurate description is
important because there are other conditions with symptoms that mimic
seizures, such as cardiac and/or pulmonary disease, narcolepsy,
cataplexy, myasthenia gravis, and metabolic disturbances.

Among the recommended tests are: CBC, urinalysis, BUN, ALT, ALP,
calcium, fasting blood glucose level, serum glucose level, serum lead
level, fecal parasite or ova examination, and others if indicated.
When the results of the examinations and tests have been analyzed, one
of three conclusions will be drawn: a definitive diagnosis, a
potential cause of seizures requiring further tests to confirm, or no
suggestion of a cause.

When further tests are required a complete date base should be done.
This may include computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging;
CSF analysis (cell count, protein levels, pressure), skull
radiographs, and an EEG.


Continue to:

previous page: 05  Stages of a Seizure
page up: Canine Epilepsy FAQ
next page: 07  Treatment