Treatment of Seizures Due to Epilepsy
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith

Q. Should seizures always be treated?
A. Seizures do not always indicate a need for anticonvulsant medication. There are multiple causes of seizures, so first, your veterinarian needs to find out what may have caused the seizure, and therefore a detailed history is needed. A physical and neurologic exam are performed by your veterinarian, a panel of laboratory tests are run, and sometimes x-rays (radiographs) are taken. If a cause of the seizure can not be identified, the condition is diagnosed as idiopathic or primary epilepsy. There is no test to diagnose primary epilepsy per se, our tests simply rule out other causes of seizures.

Treatment for epilepsy is usually not begun until a seizure is severe, or multiple seizures have occurred and a pattern is observed. Treatment for epilepsy is never curative: the goal is to decrease the frequency, severity, and duration of the seizures. Therefore, it is very important to know the pattern of seizures in your pet before starting treatment. This way, your veterinarian can determine if the treatment is helping, i.e.; if the pattern is broken and there are fewer seizures and/or they are less severe.

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