Utrecht University conducts study after quality of life for dogs with epilepsy | Dogzine

Utrecht University conducts study after quality of life for dogs with epilepsy

Dierenarts (stockfoto)

Utrecht University started a very specific research project on epilepsy in dogs: it concentrates on the quality of life for affected dogs. Questions on how owners see the quality of life in the epileptic dogs and how the owner’s life is influenced by the disease are major, as well as the way vets see these issues. The research is led by mr Paul Mandigers, who is a specialist in European Veterinary Internal Medicine and Neurology Specialist.

Epilepsy means repeated fits, often on a regular basis of about once a month. As soon as the incidence is higher medication is needed.

Fits emerge when specific signals in the brain are not attenuated. In a normal conditionthe brain receives many stimuli which are processed and automatically end up in the right places. In case of epilepsy, the processing goes wrong. One could say the stimuli build up and the moment the amount is getting to large, it erupts: the epileptic seizure is a fact. The dog hardly notices it, everybody around it certainly does.

Two types of epilepsy are recognized and the first type, known as primary epilepsy, is heritable. Primary epilepsy is also known as idiopathic, genetic or ‘true’  epilepsy. The diagnosis is made by excluding all other possible causes. Primary epilepsy usually arises between the age of 6 months and 5 years (average age is 3 years).

Primary epilepsy occurs on a regular basis in dogs (0.5-1.0%). It is seen in both pedigree dogs and in cross breeds, although in certain breeds the rates seem higher, like in Golden retriever, Springer spaniel, Border collie, Boxer, keeshond, Drentsche partridge dog and Berner Sennen dog  In several breeds in heritability is proven. The incidence per breed varies enormously.In some populations the number is as high as 17%.

These facts clearly show it is wise to not use epileptic dogs in breeding. Contact with breeder and/or breed club is a good choice, since it may be wise to exclude the bloodline of the epileptic dog from breeding.

Secondary epilepsy is characterized by an apparent cause that causes the seizures. Many causes are known and the goal of the treatment in these cases is to remove the cause. Sometimes that is difficult because some causes are hard to find. Liver- and brain inflammations are often reported as causes for secondary epilepsy. Hepato-encephalopathy often occurs in either very young dogs (< 1 year) or older dogs (> 6 years). In older dogs hepato-encephalopathy is often causes through av=cute hepatitis.

The research that has recently started will be conducted among:

Owners of dogs suffering from epilepsy and treated by non-specialized vets.

Owners of dogs suffering from epilepsy and treated by specialist at “De Wagenrenk) (clinic of dr Paul Mandigers) or UKG Neurology team (University Utrecht)

Vets and/or specialists that are professionally involved in the treatment of epilepsy

Owners can conduct through this link

Vets can conduct through this link

The video shows an epileptic seizure, not very pleasant to see but good to be able to recognize it.

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