At the age of nine our dog Mr. Popo got diagnosed with Canine Lafora. This is the first time we heard of Canine Lafora or Lafora’s Disease. It is an inherited, late onset, progressive myoclonic epilepsy, as described by Dr. Clare Rusbridge, an authoritative specialist in veterinary neurology. It quite literally turned our lives upside down. Why? Because while Canine Lafora may not be life threatening, it progresses slowly over the years and could cause other neurological issues such as dementia. Its only after Popo’s diagnosis that we fully realised the importance of understanding canine epilepsy. To identify when the first signs such as jerk, twitch, shudder show up and be able to care for our canine companions the best we can.
Based on our experience we will share a series of articles focused on understanding canine epilepsy. In today’s article we will start with the commonly used terms in canine epilepsy, as defined by AKC Health Foundation.
Idiopathic epilepsy is defined as seizures without an identifiable structural cause, typically assumed to be genetic.
Generalised & Focal Seizures
Generalised seizure originates from both hemispheres of the brain, while focal seizure originates from part of the brain and thus, affect part of the body.
A sustained increase in muscle tone such as stiffening lasting up to several minutes.
A seizure where the tonic phase is followed by shorter, clonic (jerking) movements.
Myoclonic seizure is identified as sudden, brief contractions of a muscle or group of muscles.
A sudden loss of muscle tone lasting several seconds or more, not following a tonic or myoclonic event.
A group of seizures within a shorter than normal interval, clinically defined as two or more seizures within a 24-hour period.
A serious condition where seizures follow closely on one another without a break, or where a single seizure lasts more than five minutes.
Seizures that occur even during treatment with therapeutic doses of antiepileptic medication, i.e., the medication stops being effective.
Repetitive motor activity that resembles movement under voluntary control, such as lip smacking, licking or chewing.
Look out for our next article from the Understanding Canine Epilepsy series that will focus on diagnosis and classification of seizures.