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Investigating the potential for seizure prediction in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy: owner-reported prodromal changes and seizure triggers
  1. Sarah Louise Finnegan1,
  2. Holger Andreas Volk1,2,
  3. Lucy Asher3,
  4. Monica Daley4,5 and
  5. Rowena Mary Anne Packer1
  1. 1Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, UK
  2. 2Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany
  3. 3School of Natural and Environmental Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK
  4. 4School of Biological Sciences, UC Irvine, Irvine, California, USA
  5. 5Structure and Motion Laboratory, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Rowena Mary Anne Packer, Clinical Science and Services, Royal Veterinary College, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK; rpacker{at}rvc.ac.uk

Abstract

Background Canine idiopathic epilepsy (IE) is characterised by recurrent seizure activity, which can appear unpredictable and uncontrollable. The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential for seizure prediction in dogs by exploring owner-perceived seizure prediction abilities and identifying owner-reported prodromal changes (long-term changes in disposition that indicate forthcoming seizures) and seizure triggers (stimuli that precipitate seizures) in dogs with IE.

Methods This is an online, international, cross-sectional survey of 229 owners of dogs diagnosed with IE, meeting the International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force tier I diagnostic criteria.

Results Over half (59.6 per cent) of owners believed they were able to predict an upcoming seizure in their dog, of whom nearly half (45.5 per cent) were able to do so at least 30 minutes before the seizure commenced. The most common ‘seizure predictors’ were preseizure behavioural changes including increased clinginess (25.4 per cent), restlessness (23.1 per cent) and fearful behaviour (19.4 per cent). Nearly two-thirds of owners reported prodromal changes (64.9 per cent), most commonly restlessness (29.2 per cent), and nearly half (43.1 per cent) reported seizure triggers, most commonly stress (39.1 per cent).

Conclusions The relatively high prevalence of owner-reported prodromal changes and seizure triggers shows promise for utilising these methods to aid seizure prediction in dogs, which could open a window of time for pre-emptive, individualised drug interventions to abort impending seizure activity.

  • epilepsy
  • dogs
  • neurology
  • seizures
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Footnotes

  • Twitter @dogsbodyrvc

  • Funding RMAP is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant number BB/P010881/1. HAV is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council grant number BB/P001874/1.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval The study was approved by the local ethics committee (RVC Animal Welfare and Ethics Committee; ref: URN SR2017-1234). This manuscript was approved for submission (ref: CSS_01906).

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

  • Data availability statement Anonymised participant data are available upon reasonable request to the corresponding author.

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