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Epileptic brain damage in dogs and cats: myth or reality?
  1. Luc Poncelet, DMV, DScV, DECVN
  1. Anatomy/Embryology, CP619, Faculty of Medicine, Free University of Brussels, Route de Lennik, 808, B-1070 Bruxelles, Belgium
  1. e-mail: lcponce{at}

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OUR views on canine and feline epilepsy are currently moving at a swift pace. For years, idiopathic epilepsy (usually presenting as generalised seizures and where a genetic basis is suspected) was considered as the most frequent form, even if some investigators claimed that partial seizures were far from uncommon (Holliday 1980, Podell and others 1995, Heynold and others 1997). Carefully designed questionnaires, videotaping, modern brain imaging and stringent use of epileptology definitions have changed that view (Berendt and Gram 1999). Generalised epilepsy is now thought to account for less then one-third of seizures in dogs while partial (focal) epilepsy (with or without generalisation) accounts for the rest. These focal or focal-onset seizures are classified as symptomatic or cryptogenic, depending on the evidence of structural brain lesions or absence of any identifiable changes.

Among symptomatic epilepsies, limbic structure lesions associated with epilepsy remain a subject of controversy in dogs. Does Gowers' century-old adage that ‘seizures beget seizures’ in people also hold true in dogs and cats? Are there interspecies differences in the sensitivity …

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