Seizures are the most common neurological problem reported in dogs. According to clinical studies between 0,5 and 5,7% of dogs have experienced seizures sometime in their live. This is likely to be an underestimate. Diagnosis and therapy of a dog suffering from epilepsy is a big challenge for the veterinarian and the pet owner.
In the veterinary praxis it is popular to assume that dogs with epileptic seizures ought to be castrated. Although in none of the studies in dogs the need was clearly proven yet.
Studies in women clearly demonstrate the influence of steroidal sex hormones on seizures.
A total of 90 female dogs with a history of seizures were referred to the Clinic for Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Veterinary medicine, Vienna, between January 2003 und February 2010. In 55 cases the diagnosis epilepsy was confirmed.
In the present study these cases were analysed retrospectively. Information about seizure activity in relation to menstrual cycle was gathered by a questionnaire mailed to the pet owners. 31 pet owners responded, thus data of 31 female dogs could be evaluated statistically.
The results of the present study indicate that there is a connection between seizures and steroidal sex hormones.
The occurrence of seizures was sometimes paralleled by heat. Furthermore seizure activity was reduced in 60% of female dogs after castration.
It has to be pointed out tough that the number of participants is rather low and no hormone status were determined in the present study.
Further studies in this area of research are strongly recommended.