Investigating the potential for seizure prediction in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy : owner-reported prodromal changes and seizure triggers
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.
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.
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).
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.