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Seizure occurrence in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK: prevalence and risk factors

Erlen, Alexander, Potschka, Heidrun, Volk, Holger A., Sauter‐Louis, Carola, O'Neill, Dan G.
Journal of veterinary internal medicine 2018 v.32 no.5 pp. 1665-1676
Labrador Retriever, body weight, cross-sectional studies, dogs, females, males, models, risk factors, seizures, veterinarians, United Kingdom
BACKGROUND: Primary‐care veterinary clinical records can offer data to determine generalizable epidemiological data on seizures occurrence in the dog population. OBJECTIVES: To identify and examine epidemiologic characteristics of seizure occurrence in dogs under primary veterinary care in the UK participating in the VetCompass™ Programme. ANIMALS: 455,553 dogs in VetCompass™’. METHODS: A cross‐sectional analysis estimated the 1‐year period prevalence and risk factors for dogs with seizures during 2013. RESULTS: The overall 1‐year period prevalence for dogs having at least one seizure during 2013 was 0.82% (95% CI 0.79‐0.84). Multivariable modelling identified breeds with elevated odd ratios [OR] compared with the Labrador Retriever (e.g. Pug OR: 3.41 95% CI 2.71‐4.28, P < 0.001). Males had higher risk for seizures (Male/Entire OR: 1.47 95% CI 1.30–1.66; Male/Neutered OR: 1.34 95% CI 1.19–1.51) compared to entire females. Age (3.00 ‐ ≤ 6.00 OR: 2.13 95% CI 1.90‐2.39, P < 0.001, compared to animals aged 0.50–≤ 3.00 years), and bodyweight (≥ 40.00kg, OR: 1.24 95% CI 1.08–1.41, P = 0.002, compared to animals weighing < 10.0 kg) were identified as risk factors for seizures. CONCLUSION AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Seizures are a relatively common clinical finding in dogs. The results for breed, age, sex and bodyweight as risk factors can assist veterinarians in refining differential diagnosis lists for dogs reported with behaviors that may have been seizures. In addition, the prevalence values reported here can support pharmacovigilance with baseline data from the overall population.