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Investigating the efficacy of medical management for canine structural epilepsy
  1. Frances Eleanor Norona1 and
  2. Holger Andreas Volk1,2
  1. 1 Department of Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, UK
  2. 2 Department of Small Animal Disease, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Frances Eleanor Norona, Department of Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire NW1 0TU, UK; fnorona5{at}


Background Structural epilepsy in dogs is often treated medically with a combination of antiseizure drugs (ASDs) and other concurrent therapies for the primary condition. Unlike idiopathic epilepsy, there have been few studies on the efficacy of medical management in structural epilepsy. This study investigated factors affecting treatment outcomes in dogs medically managed for structural epilepsy.

Methods Cases of 71 dogs diagnosed with structural epilepsy were identified from a referral hospital database and data were analysed retrospectively. Efficacy of treatment was assessed by survival time, seizure-free period after diagnosis and overall seizure control.

Results Results showed that the most significant prognostic indicator was the occurrence of status epilepticus (SE) before diagnosis, with these dogs having reduced survival times, shorter seizure-free periods after diagnosis and overall worse seizure control. Cluster seizure history showed similar, although not statistically significant, trends in treatment efficacy. Treatment outcomes were not significantly impacted by ASD therapy used or by specific diagnosis, with the exception of meningoencephalitis of unknown aetiology cases surviving longer.

Conclusion Overall, medical management of canine structural epilepsy achieves the best treatment outcomes when the patient has no history of SE. This study may provide a basis for future investigations into the treatment of canine structural epilepsies.

  • epilepsy
  • seizures
  • dogs
  • neurology
  • treatment
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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study received ethical approval from the Royal Veterinary College’s Social Science Research Ethical Review Board (ref SR2017-139).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data stored in public, open access repository (Open Science Framework, OSF):

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