Risk factors for survival in a university hospital population of dogs with epilepsy

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BACKGROUND: Although a common neurological disorder in dogs, long-term outcome of epilepsy is sparsely documented.

OBJECTIVES: 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.

ANIMALS: One hundred and two client owned dogs; 78 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy and 24 dogs with epilepsy associated with a known intracranial cause.

METHODS: 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.

RESULTS: 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).

CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: 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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1782-1788
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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