02931: Assessment of Frequency of Seizures and Antiseizure Drug (ASD) Efficacy by Electroencephalography (EEG) for Dogs with Epilepsy

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $83,318
Fiona James, DVM, MS; University of Guelph
September 1, 2021 - August 31, 2026

Sponsor(s): American Chinese Crested Club, Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute, German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America, Inc., Health & Rescue Foundation of the Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen Club of America, Toby's Foundation

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Epilepsy Initiative
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One Health: Yes


Epilepsy is the most common brain disease encountered in dogs. Epilepsy can be caused by several underlying problems responsible for the recurrent seizures seen with epilepsy. Accurate seizure control has an impact on the quality of life and survival time in epileptic dogs as well as on their caretaker’s quality of life. Several other conditions such as movement disorders can be mistaken for epilepsy and there are several types of seizures that can go undiagnosed, thus missing an opportunity to improve the dog’s quality of life and neurological deficits. The accuracy of epilepsy diagnosis and how veterinarians choose the most appropriate treatment for epileptic dogs potentially delays finding the best therapy because it is currently unknown which antiseizure drug (ASD) is more appropriate for which type of seizures.

As in human medicine, electroencephalography (EEG) evaluates brain function and is the only way to confirm seizure activity and further classify different types of seizures. Another important use of EEG in people is to evaluate, objectively and in a non-invasive manner, the efficacy of an ASD. However, unlike human medicine, the diagnosis of epileptic seizures in veterinary medicine is solely based on subjective information (e.g. owner description or visualization of an episode) which have been shown to be highly unreliable. As such, EEG should be used to obtain objective data in order to diagnose and treat epileptic dogs accurately.

The goals of this study are to confirm the seizure under-reporting phenomenon in canine epilepsy and estimate ASD efficacy for different seizure types in dogs. Investigators will record EEG from dogs with epilepsy and evaluate the number and type of seizures seen on EEG in comparison to what their caregivers see. Their EEG data will further be examined with respect to what ASDs they are receiving to understand the effects of these drugs on their seizures. These findings have the potential to revolutionize the veterinary approach to canine epilepsy through the provision of an objective measure of treatment success and, hopefully, a way to predict management outcomes for dogs.

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