Types of Animal Epilepsy
While only a veterinarian can effectively diagnose canine epilepsy, owners play an important role in the process. There are three divisions of epilepsy: Idiopathic or primary seizures, has no underlying cause; secondary fits, the result of an intracranial illness or injury to the brain; reactive epilepsy, a problem with the animal’s metabolic system.
As humans, we can provide the physician with significant information vital to the proposed treatment. We should compile a complete medical history, taking detailed notes when attacks occur. Note, what the dog has eaten and come in contact with are important events to include. As patterns ultimately develop, the episodes will occur in one of three phases:
The Pre-Ictal Phase is just before the event; an Ictal Phase occurs during the contortions, leaving the result to the Post-Ictal Phase. The primary period resembles restlessness to unresponsiveness; the second, sparks teeth grinding, loss of bodily functions, thrashing, extended head and thrashing. Finally, post-trauma yields increased appetite, confusion, disorientation, loss of sight and hearing.
Testing for Canine Epilepsy
Veterinarians may diagnose reactive and secondary afflictions through the testing phase, but no test exists for idiopathic emergencies. Along with the medical and pattern history, the process of elimination makes the diagnosis. One expected test is the complete blood count or CBC. Among other things, it can detect a metabolic problem. A cerebral spinal fluid test or CSF can detect any abnormalities or lesions in the nervous system.
A spinal tap can indicate an intracranial problem causing the secondary paradigm. A urinalysis is possible because it can identify conditions that are the underlying cause. Vets may run a bile-acid test, particularly in puppies; identifying an illness called Liver Shunt where a blood vessel goes around the liver instead of through it, a genetic condition from birth.
If the diagnostic tests conducted reveal no reason for the fits, a definite diagnosis of idiopathic attacks will be gathered from brain-imaging tests. An MRI or CT scan is required to rule out any possibility of an underpinning event.