Seizures in dogs under primary veterinary care in the United Kingdom: Etiology, diagnostic testing, and clinical management

Erlen, Alexander ORCID; Potschka, Heidrun; Volk, Holger A.; Sauter-Louis, Carola GND; O'Neill, Dan G. ORCID

BACKGROUND:Although seizures are common in dogs, limited published information is available on the classifications of seizures, diagnostic approaches, or clinical management of seizure-affected patients in the veterinary primary care setting. OBJECTIVES:Explore seizure etiology, diagnostic testing, and clinical management of seizure-affected dogs in the primary care veterinary setting. ANIMALS:A total of 455 553 dogs in VetCompass. METHODS:Cross-sectional analysis by cohort clinical data. RESULTS:From 2834 incident seizure cases, we identified 579 (20.5%) dogs with epilepsy based on the International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force (IVETF) classification system, including 484 (17.1%) with idiopathic epilepsy, 95 (3.4%) with structural epilepsy, and 179 dogs (6.3%) with reactive seizures. In their clinical first opinion records, 245 (8.6%) cases were recorded with epilepsy. Overall, 1415 (49.9%) cases received diagnostic evaluation equivalent to or higher than IVETF Tier 1 diagnostic testing. Being <12 years of age and being insured were risk factors for receiving IVETF Tier 1 or higher diagnostic evaluation among seizure cases. Anti-seizure drug (ASD) treatment was not prescribed for 1960/2834 (69.2%) dogs in association with the incident seizure event. Of the remainder, 719 (25.3%) dogs received 1 ASD, whereas 155 (5.5%) an ASD combination. CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE:The differences between seizure classifications in the clinical records and those retrospectively assigned by the researchers support the need for clearer diagnostic guidelines in clinical practice. Insured dogs and dogs <12 years of age were more likely to receive advanced diagnostic evaluation, suggesting that financial and perceived prognostic factors influence case management.

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Erlen, Alexander / Potschka, Heidrun / Volk, Holger / et al: Seizures in dogs under primary veterinary care in the United Kingdom: Etiology, diagnostic testing, and clinical management. 2020.

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