EPILEPSY, or the propensity to have recurrent seizures, is the most common chronic neurological disorder in dogs, with an estimated prevalence of between 0·5 and 5·7 per cent. There are numerous primary intracranial diseases and extracranial (eg, metabolic or toxic) conditions that cause recurrent seizures, although idiopathic epilepsy is the most common in dogs. Metabolic and toxic disorders are much less frequent causes of seizures. This article discusses the importance of a methodical diagnostic work-up in successfully reaching a definitive diagnosis in patients with recurrent seizures. At first glance, there may be little clinical information to differentiate between intracranial and extracranial causes of seizures but, with careful history taking, examination and a systematic approach to diagnosis, the underlying aetiology can usually be identified.
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