Association between Estrus and Onset of Seizures in Dogs with Idiopathic Epilepsy

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Background:Catamenial epilepsy in humans is defined as changes in seizure frequency over the course of the menstrual cycle. Three hormonally based patterns of seizure exacerbation have been determined.Objectives:The aim of this study was to evaluate whether there is an association between onset of seizures and the estrous cycle in intact bitches with presumptive idiopathic epilepsy and whether a pattern to the onset of seizures could be recognized.Animals:Forty-five intact female dogs from a hospital population with a presumptive diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy.Methods:In a retrospective study, the database of a small animal hospital in Sweden was searched for medical records of intact female dogs diagnosed with epilepsy or seizures. The stage of the estrous cycle as reported either by the owner or the veterinarian at the time of the first seizure was noted.Results:Of the 45 dogs with idiopathic epilepsy, 17 (38%) had their first seizure when in heat and six dogs (13%) had their first seizure 1–3 months after heat. Nine dogs (20%) had seizures reoccurring in relation to their estrous cycle.Conclusions and Clinical Importance:These findings suggest an association between estrus and onset of seizures in intact bitches with presumptive idiopathic epilepsy. Two hormonally based patterns could be recognized: one during heat and one during a specific time point at the end of diestrus. This could be explained by the proconvulsive effects of estrogen or loss of protective effect against seizures of progesterone, respectively.

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