The Dalmatian Club of America
Seizure Survey Update 1997
Anita Tate DMD, Marion Mitchell, Jennifer Johnson Glaser
Dalmatian Club of America Study Group on Seizure Disorders
 This is a report from the Survey on Seizure Disorders conducted by the DCA Study Group on Seizures.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT READERS OF THIS ARTICLE AND ITS EARLY RESULTS REMEMBER THE FOLLOWING:
  • They are reports from only a limited number of Dalmatian owners and breeders responding to the Survey questionnaire;
  • As such, they may, or may not, be directly related to, seizure disorders or epilepsy;
  • Please remember the percentages were computed from only the responses to the Survey. The statistics most definitely SHOULD NOT be projected to that of the general Dalmatian population. This article is NOT intended nor should be regarded as a generalized percentage report of seizure disorders in the breed.
 Thanks to the Spotter editorial staff, the Survey questionnaire was published in two issues: Winter/Spring 1994-95 and Fall 1995. As of May 1996, a total of 108 surveys had been returned. As of December 1997 and the writing of this article a total of 49 new surveys have been returned for a total of 157.
 
 



GENDER OF DOG WITH EPILEPSY OR SEIZURE DISORDERS

  Chart No. 1 Results of Seizure Survey:

Gender of Dogs with Epilepsy or Seizure Disorder



AGE RANGE OF DOG WITH EPILEPSY OR SEIZURE DISORDERS

Ages range from 2 months to 14 years. The mean average age range was 2-3 years. A life span of 8-14 years was frequently reported.
 



BREED OF DOG WITH EPILEPSY OR SEIZURE DISORDERS

Information requested exclusively of purebred Dalmatians. 1997 Survey included pet owners and non-DCA members. 1996 Survey included DCA and Regional Dalmatian Specialty Club Members.
 



SEVERITY OF SEIZURES

"How severe are your dogs seizures"

Chart No. 2 Results of Seizure Survey:

Intensity of Seizures Reported



FREQUENCY OF SEIZURES - UNTREATED

This refers to the number of times a dog has a seizure in a given period without medication given

A number of respondents failed to answer this question. Of those who did the reported frequencies were as follows (in dogs untreated with medications).

  • Multiple -2 - 12 seizures daily
  • 1 daily
  • 2 daily
  • 4 daily
  • 1 weekly
  • 2 weekly
  • 3 weekly
  • 1 monthly
  • 2 monthly
  • 1 every two months
  • 1 every three months
  • 1 per year
  • 2 per year.




ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

 Chart No. 3 Results of Seizure Survey:

Alternative Medicine

Alternative Medicine is gaining favor in the treatment of canine epilepsy. Some of the methods used are acupuncture, gold wire implants in the ears and gold bead implants in the head and body, Chinese herbs, various Homeopathic Remedies and Flower Essences.

5 surveys reported the utilization of Alternative Medicine such as acupuncture and Chinese herbs.



FREQUENCY OF SEIZURES TREATED

This refers to the number of times a dog has a seizure in a given period with medicationgiven

 Chart No. 4 Results of Seizure Survey:

Frequency of Seizures Treated with Medication:

Of those dogs reported responsive to anti - seizure medications the extent of their responses ranged as follows
Multiple seizures, daily     Improved to no seizure activity
Multiple seizures, daily     Improved to 2 seizures, monthly
Multiple seizures, daily     Improved to 2 seizures yearly
Two seizures, daily          Improved to 2 monthly
One seizure daily            Improved to 1 seizure per six months
One seizure, per six months  Improved to no seizure activity
Remainder                    No improvement with medications

Overall, the survey concludes an improvement or less seizure activity with medications.



MEDICATIONS REPORTED AS HELPFUL

* Please Note

An emphasis must be placed on individual drug titration per dog. (The dose must be adjusted properly for your dog)

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Dilantin
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenobarbital+Potassium Bromide
  • Primadone (Mysoline)




DOSAGES OF MEDICATIONS

Diazepam (Valium)
Dosages not reported. Usually given to break status epilepticus or cluster seizures . 

Dilantin
100mg. twice daily *Since other drug options are available Dilantin (1997) is currently not recommended for use. 

Phenobarbital
Available in tablets of 1/4 grain to 15mg. 
Total daily dosage ranged from 30mg. to 240mg, as follows 
15 mg. (1/4 grain) twice daily (total = 30mg.) 
30 mg. (1/2 grain) twice daily (total = 60mg.) 
30 mg. (1/2 grain) three times daily (total = 90 mg.) 
60 mg. (1 grain) twice daily (total = 120 mg.) 
60 mg. (1 grain) three times daily (total = 180mg.) 
60mg. (1 grain) four times daily (total = 240mg.) 

Phenobarbital + Potassium Bromide ( Kbr)
(Kbr is available in capsule and liquid form) 
Four respondents reported medication had to be increased because the dog had developed a tolerance to the drug. 
60mg. (1 grain) + 600mg.KBr once daily 
120mg. (2 grains) + 600mg. Kbr twice daily 

Primadone
Available in tablets of 250mg. or 500mg. 
Total daily dosage ranged from 250mg. to 1,500mg., as follows: 
250 mg. once daily 
250 mg. three times daily 
500mg. three times daily 

Comments from 1997 Survey

  • 1997 Survey reports Primadone and Phenobarbital as the most frequent medication utilized in seizure control
  • 1997 Survey reported that most dogs can be controlled using Phenobarbital and /or Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide.
  • 1997 3 surveys reported Bromide toxicity (excessive Bromide build-up in the blood stream creating an overdose effect.




AGE OF ONSET OF SEIZURE ACTIVITY

This refers to the age the dog started having seizures

 Chart No. 5 Results of Seizure Survey:

Age at Onset of Seizures:

1997 Most frequent age of onset was 2.5 to 3 years
 



STATUS OF REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS

 Chart No. 6 Results of Seizure Survey:

Status of Reproductive Organs

 
 
 
 



DOGS LOST TO SEIZURE DISORDER

 "Have you ever lost a dog due to a seizure disorder?"

Chart No. 7 Results of Seizure Survey:

This question DID NOT consider euthanasia as a seizure control choice.



SEIZURE ACTIVITY IN LITTERMATES

"Have you ever seen or heard about seizure activity in littermates?"

 Chart No. 8 Results of Seizure Survey:

In the 1997 Survey, 31(63%) reported they were lacking knowledge regarding seizure activity in littermates due to the following reasons.

  1. The purchase of an older dog and no contact with littermates.
  2. A rescued dog
  3. Little or no contact with the breeder.




MISCELLANEOUS COMMENTS AND INFORMATION

Numbers cited with the respondentsí comments are the number of questionnaires returned. Please remember the quoted statements are from individual Dalmatian fanciers and may or may not be pertinent to seizure disorders in general!

"The sire had a seizure disorder".
(reported by 17 respondents; noted among different litters and different pedigrees)
(An increased incidence of seizure activity in female progeny was reported from a sire having a history of seizure activity).

"The dam had a seizure".
(reported by 8 respondents)

"Seizure activity in a bitch directly related to her being in season."
(reported by 12 different respondents)

"Onset occurred following whelping puppies and continued thereafter for the life of the dam."
(Hormonal influence? Hypoglycemia? Electrolyte deficiency?)

"Old Age."
It was noted that seizure activity increases with age.

"Hypoglycemia." (low blood sugar)

"Renal Failure" (kidney failure)

"Water deprivation in young puppies creating a seizure disorder"
(This has similarly been reported in pig populations)

"Seizure activity following the use of Heartguard (heart worm preventative)



THE SEIZURE SURVEY IS ONGOING.

All survey information is confidential.

If you have not completed a survey and wish to provide information on seizure disorders, please 
fill out the questionnaire which can be found on the Dalmatian Club of America Web-Site at:
http://www.thedca.org/seizure_survey.html
or request a paper questionnaire from:

Marion Mitchell
DCA Study Group on Seizure Disorder
185 Rim Road
Los Alamos, NM 87544
Home phone# 505-662-3323
email dalcrazy@rt66.com

Many thanks to the time volunteered by Marion Mitchell to design the graphs that accompany this report.
It is hoped that their visual impact will help you understand the statistics gathered.



Return to the Seizure Information Page

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The Dalmatian Club of America, Inc.
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Page last modified on Nov. 23, 1999