Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Owners and veterinary practitioners’ viewpoint of the future direction of research in canine epilepsy


Epilepsy is the most common neurological disease in dogs with a reported prevalence of about 0.6–0.7%. It is a disorder that has a greater impact than seizure activity alone, affecting areas such as behaviour, lifespan and quality of life of both dog and owner. The objective was to investigate how owners of dogs with epilepsy, and vet- erinary practitioners, rank future research priorities for canine epilepsy through an online survey.


Owners of dogs with epilepsy (n = 305), primary care vets (n = 84) and neurology specialists (n = 28) were asked to complete an online survey to rate 18 different broad areas of future research priorities related to canine epilepsy. Responses were analysed with a mixture of parametric and non-parametric statistical tests.


Seizure control through anti-epileptic drug (AED) therapy (both existing and new) was the most important future research priority. However, there was disagreement between the different stakeholders about the other priorities. Neurology specialists and primary care vets ranked priorities with a clinical element such as diagnos- ing epilepsy and seizure classicisation as more important. In comparison, owners ranked the effects of epilepsy on their dog’s anxiety and physical capabilities as more important than both veterinary stakeholders.


These findings show that there are both similarities and differences between stakeholders’ future research priori- ties. In particular, veterinary practitioners may need to widen their focus from seizure control and the goal of complete remission, to think more widely of what is also happening outside the consulting room regarding canine epilepsy.


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