Epilepsy is not a single disease but a group of disorders characterised by a broad array of clinical signs, age of onset and underlying causes. Seizure description and classification in veterinary medicine is very limited mainly because we don’t see the seizures. In human medicine a seizure has to be proven as such before any further treatment or even diagnostic procedure is started. The mean time for hospitalisation of a human patient until a fit is recorded is around two and a half days. Video EEG (electroencephalogram)-recording is the gold standard procedure to prove that the event the patient is having is truly a seizure.
This is not common practice in veterinary neurology; EEG in canine epilepsy is almost entirely confined to research mainly because of the anatomy of the dog skull, which is largely covered by thick muscle, the specific challenges related to muscle artefacts and the need for general anaesthesia. Therefore we have a relevant lack of seizure description that leads to limited and difficult seizure classification. Recently, the use of ambulatory EEG, that avoids anaesthesia and allows longer recordings, has been described in dogs and we hope the technique will be available soon in private practice, until then, video recording is still one of our strongest tools in seizures description and recognition.
We have created a website called CANINESEIZURES.ORG which is a media library of seizures in dogs. The objective of canineseizures.org is to create an extensive international database of canine epilepsy videos. CANINESEIZURES.ORG is a free and non-profitable website with a centralised, easily accessible worldwide video database with teaching potential for students, general veterinary practitioners, specialists and potentially in the long-term to dog owners. The videos can be recorded by owners or veterinarians and uploaded only by a veterinary neurology specialist. The recordings will have basic information which is available to all users but full clinical details including diagnostic workup and treatment will be made available for research opportunities under the supervision of a neurology specialist. The ultimate goal is that the information gathered by this video database will be analysed to thoroughly describe the epileptic seizures, recognise patterns and move towards a better understanding and classification of canine epileptic seizures.
Video-EEG in humans is most helpful to determine if seizures with unusual features are actually epilepsy, to identify the type of seizures, and to pinpoint the region of the brain where seizures begin. With a considerable number of canine epilepsy cases collected by CANINESEIZURES.ORG we will be able to answer some of these questions.
Comprehensive research is still at a developing stage due in veterinary epilepsy and we believe this website may become a major contributor to this field.