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Keywords:

  • Epidemiology;
  • Familial predisposition;
  • Neurologic disorders;
  • Seizures

The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence and selected risk factors of epilepsy, the proportion of dogs with epilepsy in remission, and the types of seizures in Danish Labrador Retrievers. A prospective cross-sectional study of epilepsy was conducted in 1999–2000. The study was carried out in 2 phases in a reference population consisting of 29,602 individuals. In phase 1, 550 dogs were selected by random sampling stratified by year of birth. A telephone interview was used to identify dogs with possible epilepsy. In phase 2, dogs judged during phase 1 as possibly suffering from epilepsy were further subjected to physical and neurologic examination, CBC, blood chemistry, and a questionnaire on seizure phenomenology. Seventeen dogs were diagnosed with epilepsy, yielding a prevalence of 3.1% (95% CI 1.6–4.6%) in the Danish population of Labrador Retrievers. A diagnosis of epilepsy was 6 times more probable in dogs >4 years (born before 1995) than in younger dogs (born between 1995 and 1999) (P= .004, relative risk = 6.5). No significant difference in risk between genders was observed, nor could any effect of neutering be proven statistically. The frequencies of primary generalized seizures and partial seizures (with or without secondary generalization) were 24 and 70%, respectively. The type of seizures could not be classified in 6%. In conclusion, the 3.1% prevalence of epilepsy in Danish Labrador Retrievers is higher than the 1% prevalence of epilepsy described in the general canine population, establishing that this breed is at increased risk.