Investigating the potential for seizure prediction in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy: Owner reported prodromal changes and seizure triggers. 2020.

Raising awareness of seizure triggers and pre-seizure behaviour changes in dogs

02 April 2020
2 mins read
Volume 11 · Issue 6
When owners of dogs with epilepsy report either pre-seizure changes or potential triggers they should be taken seriously, and owners can be encouraged to keep records of when seizures occur to help identify patterns.


A new study by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has identified pre-seizure behavioural changes and potential seizure triggers that may help owners predict when a seizure is going to occur. The RVC's animal behaviour scientist Dr Rowena Packer explains.

Owners of dogs with epilepsy are often expert record keepers; whether it is via lists, calendars or smartphone apps, keeping track of their dog's seizures and anti-seizure medication regimen can be an onerous task, with seizure-free streaks becoming an important marker of success in their dog's management.

Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological condition in dogs and is currently estimated to affect around 70 000 of the 11.6 million dogs kept as pets in the UK (0.6%). Owners can feel distressed, devastated, and dejected when seizures occur, often compounded by feelings of unpredictability and lack of control over their dog's seizures. As such, the Canine Epilepsy Research Team at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are motivated to find ways to make seizures more predictable.

From studies of human epilepsy patients, it has been shown that up to half (47%) of people with epilepsy can identify changes in their mental or physical state before a seizure, with this pre-seizure period known as the ‘prodrome’. Prodromal changes can occur hours to days before a seizure occurs. In addition, many other patients were able to identify ‘triggers’ for their own seizures, stimuli that when they were exposed to, reliably led to a seizure. Finding whether these phenomena existed in dogs with epilepsy is of high priority as a potential way of improving epilepsy management.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting The Veterinary Nurse and reading some of our peer-reviewed content for veterinary professionals. To continue reading this article, please register today.