Risk Factors for Survival in a University Hospital Population of Dogs with Epilepsy


Although a common neurological disorder in dogs, long-term outcome of epilepsy is sparsely documented. The objective of this study was to investigate risk factors for survival and duration of survival in a population of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy or epilepsy associated with a known intracranial cause. One hundred and two client owned dogs; 78 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and 24 dogs with epilepsy associated with a known intracranial cause were observed in the study.Methods

This was a retrospective hospital based study with follow-up. Dogs diagnosed with epilepsy between 2002 and 2008 were enrolled in the study. Owners were interviewed by telephone using a structured questionnaire addressing epilepsy status, treatment, death/alive, and cause of death.

The results showed the median life span was 7.6 years, 9.2 years, and 5.8 years for all dogs, and dogs with idiopathic epilepsy or dogs with epilepsy associated with a known intracranial cause (P < .001), respectively. Survival time for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy was significantly (P = .0030) decreased for dogs euthanized because of epilepsy (median: 35 months) compared to dogs euthanized for other reasons (median: 67.5 months). Neutered male dogs with idiopathic epilepsy had a significant (P = .031) shorter survival (median: 38.5 months) after index seizure compared to intact male dogs (median: 71 months). Treatment with two antiepileptic drugs (AED′s) did not negatively influence survival (P = .056).

In concluson, dogs with idiopathic epilepsy can in many cases expect a life span close to what is reported for dogs in general. In dogs where mono-therapy is not sufficient, the need for treatment with two AED′s is not linked to a poor prognosis.

Click here be directed to the study in the Journal of Internal Medicine.