Q. My dog had his first seizures three months ago and is on steroids. But his condition isn’t improving. Is there another way to treat him?
Steroids are not the most common treatment for seizures. Repeated episodes usually need anti-seizure medications, such as phenobarbitone to increase the seizure threshold.
It is important to understand that this condition may be a result of one of many different causes, such as:
- brain tumours (more common in older dogs)
- severe liver or kidney disease
In the event that a thorough diagnostic investigation reveals no known cause, I would classify the condition as idiopathic epilepsy.
It is most common in younger dogs less than 7 years old, and if the seizures are frequent your vet should prescribe anti-seizure medications.
As steroids have an anti-inflammatory effect, we use it when the cause is inflammatory in nature, such as:
- steroid-responsive meningitis
- brain tumours with secondary surrounding inflammation
Acupuncture is also a very effective treatment in the management of seizures and is worth considering.
The diagnosis of the cause of this condition and its long-term management are complicated. Hence, they require long-term follow-up and treatment adjustments with your vet.