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Seizures in horses: diagnosis and classification

Authors Lacombe V

Received 24 April 2015

Accepted for publication 2 July 2015

Published 5 October 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 301—308

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/VMRR.S62078

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Takashi Agui


Véronique A Lacombe

Department of Physiological Sciences, Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Stillwater, OK, USA

Abstract: Seizures are a diverse and very common set of chronic neurologic disorders in humans and dogs but are less common in horses. Seizures refer to a specific clinical event (described as sudden and severe) regardless of the etiology, which includes both intracranial and extracranial causes. Therefore, after briefly reviewing some definitions, this article aims to describe the use of a standardized classification, which could facilitate a logical approach for the clinician to establish a diagnosis, as well as to use a consistent mode of communication. For instance, seizures can be classified by type (ie, focal vs generalized) or etiology (ie, reactive, symptomatic, cryptogenic, idiopathic). In particular, epilepsy, a brain disorder characterized by recurrent seizures can be classified as primary (ie, genetic origin) or secondary (ie, acquired). This review further discusses the limitations associated with the clinical workup of horses with seizures. This is germane to the fact that the identification of the underlying cause remains challenging due to the technical limitations of imaging the equine adult brain. Indeed, as in man and dogs, epilepsies of unknown cause (ie, cryptogenic) account for the majority of all epilepsies. Therefore, although electroencephalography and advanced brain imaging techniques (eg, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging) are becoming increasingly available, information obtained from the history, physical, and neurologic examinations and progression of clinical signs and response to treatment remain essential in the workup of horses with seizures.

Keywords: focal seizure, generalized seizure, symptomatic, cryptogenic, electroencephalography, computed tomography

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