OBJECTIVE: To identify veterinarians' approaches and concerns when managing canine and feline patients with acute and chronic seizure disorders.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey.
METHOD: A questionnaire was distributed to veterinarians to determine how many dogs and cats they were actively treating for seizures, their anticonvulsant drug (ACD) preferences for treating acute and chronic seizure disorders and whether serum anticonvulsant concentrations and/or biochemical analytes were routinely measured. Additional questions involved the respondent's year and place of graduation and identified concerns they faced when managing patients with seizure disorders.
RESULTS: Phenobarbitone was the most commonly used ACD for managing chronic seizure disorders in both dogs and cats, with 82% of respondents using a combination of phenobarbitone and potassium bromide to manage refractory seizure disorders in dogs. Most respondents (96%) felt comfortable managing seizures in dogs, but only 63% were comfortable managing affected cats. Routine monitoring of serum ACD concentrations and of liver biochemical analytes was performed routinely by 71% and 45% of respondents, respectively. Of the respondents, 86% graduated from Australian universities and of these 53% had graduated after 1985.
CONCLUSION: Veterinarians identified when to commence medication, whether regular monitoring of serum ACD concentrations and liver enzyme activity was necessary, and if the cost was justified. Veterinarians also identified the need to balance dose rates and side-effects by using combination therapy, and the importance of providing accurate information to clients about what to expect in terms of seizure control for their pet.
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