• Open Access

Status Epilepticus and Epileptic Seizures in Dogs


  • Parts of the study were presented at the “17. Jahrestagung der Fachgruppe Innere Medizin und Klinische Labordiagnostik der DVG, January 31 to February 1, 2009, Berlin, Germany.

Corresponding author: Andrea Fischer, Priv. Doz Dr med vet, Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology), Section of Neurology, Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, 80539 Munich, Germany; e-mail: andrea.fischer@med.vetmed.uni-muenchen.de


Background: A special form of epileptic seizures (ES) is the life-threatening condition of status epilepticus (SE), which requires immediate and specific treatment based on a correct diagnosis of the underlying disease condition.

Hypothesis/Objectives: The objectives of this retrospective study were to determine prevalence of ES and SE in dogs presenting at a veterinary teaching hospital, to identify the etiology and relative risk (RR) for SE in general and at the onset of seizures. Furthermore the outcome for dogs suffering from SE was to be evaluated.

Animals: Three hundred and ninety-four dogs that were admitted to a veterinary teaching hospital (January 1, 2002 to March 31, 2008) with ES.

Methods: All medical records of dogs with ES were identified by screening the clinical documentation system and evaluated for inclusion in this retrospective study.

Results: Dogs with reactive seizures caused by poisoning had a significantly higher risk of developing SE (P < .001; RR = 2.74), particularly as 1st manifestation of a seizure disorder (P= .001; RR = 1.97). After SE, dogs with symptomatic epilepsy had a significantly lower probability of survival than dogs with idiopathic epilepsy (P < .001) and reactive ESs (P= .005).

Conclusion and Clinical Importance: In dogs showing SE as the 1st manifestation of a seizure disorder, intoxication should always be considered and appropriate investigations undertaken. Dogs with SE owing to toxicosis have more favorable outcomes than dogs with symptomatic epilepsy (P < .001).