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Dog Idioapthic Epilepsy, Breakthrough seizures and Medication Compliance

1. What is epilepsy, and what are the symptoms in dogs?


Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes dogs to experience seizures. Seizures can vary in intensity and duration and may cause a dog to lose consciousness, fall to the ground, convulse, or exhibit other abnormal behaviour.


What is the difference between idiopathic epilepsy and structural epilepsy?


Two types of epilepsy can affect dogs: idiopathic epilepsy and structural epilepsy. Idiopathic epilepsy is the most common type of epilepsy in dogs and is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Structural epilepsy is caused by brain or nervous system damage, often due to trauma, infection, or a tumour.



2. How is epilepsy treated in dogs

Epilepsy is not curable but can be managed with medication and other treatments. The goal of treatment is to minimize the number and severity of seizures a dog experiences. Commonly used drugs for treating epilepsy in dogs include phenobarbital, potassium bromide, and levetiracetam. Some dogs may also benefit from surgery or other forms of therapy.


Identifying and reducing trigger factors can also be an essential part of treatment. For example, certain things, such as stress and excitement, can often trigger seizures in dogs with epilepsy. Try to identify any potential trigger factors and avoid them if possible.



3. The importance of compliance with medication for treating epilepsy in dogs

Medication compliance is one of the biggest problems in the veterinary industry and for people with diseases such as idiopathic epilepsy. Poor medication compliance was one of the leading causes of treatment failure and breakthrough seizures in human patients.


A 2021 study found that only around 80% of owners with dogs with idiopathic epilepsy were non-compliant with following their dog's prescribed medication routine (Booth et al., 2021). Interestingly, owners with patients on multiple medications had a higher compliance rate than those on a single therapy (Booth et al., 2021).


The true impact of medication compliance is still somewhat unknown. However, it likely represents an important issue in idiopathic epilepsy management.


4. Tips for ensuring compliance with medication in dogs with epilepsy

There are a few things you can do to help ensure compliance with your dog's epilepsy medication:

- Work with your veterinarian to find your dog's proper medication and dose.

- Set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you when to give the medication.

- Give the medication at the same time each day to make it part of your daily routine.

- Put the medication in a place where you will see it daily to remind you to give it.

- Use a pill minder or other reminder system to help you remember to give the medication.

- Make sure you understand how to give the medication.




  1. Booth, S., Meller, S., Packer, R. M. A., Farquhar, R., Maddison, J. E., & Volk, H. A. (2021). Owner compliance in canine epilepsy. Veterinary Record, 188(4). https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.16

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