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Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition characterized
by recurrent unprovoked seizures. It is often times seen for the first
time in a young to middle aged patient. Epilepsy is a diagnosis of exclusion. If
you suspect your pet has had a seizure they should be brought in for an
examination and blood work. Once epilepsy is diagnosed it may either be
monitored or it may need to be managed with medication. Epileptic seizures are
classified both by their patterns of activity in the brain and their effects on
behaviour. Once the diagnosis has been made it is important to keep a journal noting any further seizures and their intensity and duration. This information will be very helpful in determining an appropriate treatment protocol.
In terms of their pattern of activity, seizures may be described as either partial or generalised. Partial seizures only involve a localised part of the brain, whereas generalised seizures involve the entire cortex. All the causes of epilepsy are not known, but many predisposing factors have been identified, including brain damage resulting from malformations of brain development, head trauma, neurosurgical operations, other penetrating wounds of the brain, brain tumor, high fever, bacterial or viral encephalitis, stroke, intoxication, or acute or inborn disturbances of metabolism. Hereditary or genetic factors also play a role.