A Word from Dr. Plasse - Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a potentially deadly neurological condition fairly common in dogs. The first episode usually occurs between the ages of 1 and 3. Unfortunately, this is a lifelong disease and almost all patients will eventually have to take medication each and every day. There are side effects such as sedation, behavioural change and liver dysfunction. Regular blood tests are required to verify the effect of the drug on the organs and its concentration in the blood. This condition therefore has an impact on the quality of life of the patient and of its guardian.
Certain breeds such as the boxer, the Bernese mountain dog and the border collie are more susceptible to epilepsy.
A typical seizure usually lasts less than 5 minutes. Following an episode, the dog is disoriented and wants to be comforted. A dog who has had several seizures can sometimes feel one coming and want to be comforted before it starts.
Since electroencephalography is inaccessible in veterinary medicine, the diagnosis is achieved by exclusion through the elimination of conditions which mimic epilepsy.
A new diet is now available to help control this debilitating condition. Research based on an Atkins-type diet used in children suffering from epilepsy has shown that a specific medium chain fatty acid has a notable effect on the excitability of affected brain areas.
When used in combination with medication, this diet reduced the frequency of seizures by 71 %, reduced the number of seizures by half in 48% of the dogs and put an end to the seizures in 14 %. Unfortunately, this diet is expensive but if your budget allows, it becomes a MUST.
If your canine companion has epilepsy, talk to your veterinarian.