The purpose of this study was to compare activity levels and sleep quality in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy to age and breed matched controls. The study population included 75 dogs diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy between one and nine years old that were receiving at least one anti-epileptic drug (AED) and a seizure frequency of at least one seizure every three months. The control population consisted of age and breed matched control dogs with no diagnosed medical conditions that were not receiving any medications. Activity was measured using a canine-specific activity monitor (FitBarkTM), which was attached to the dogs’ collars at all times. A sleep score was also calculated (as a percentage) by measuring the amount of activity (restlessness) during a specified four-hour window of sleeping time (decided by the owner). Dogs with idiopathic epilepsy receiving AEDs had, on average, an 11 – 26% decrease in activity compared to the control population, which was statistically significant (p-value = 0.003). When a subgroup analysis was performed considering different AEDs and AED combinations, dogs receiving phenobarbital and potassium bromide were significantly less active than control dogs (p value = 0.032). Sleep scores were not significantly different between the epileptic and control groups (p value = 0.485). Additionally, sleep scores were not significantly different when any of the subgroups of medications were taken into consideration. In conclusion, epileptic dogs receiving AEDs are statistically less active without statistically different sleep quality compared to age and breed matched controls.
Upon completion, participants will be able to identify the differences in activity and sleep in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy compared to age- and breed-matched control dogs.
Upon completion, participants will be able to differentiate which anti-epileptic medications are the most sedating, as well as the amount of sedation expected.
Upon completion, participants will be able to implement the findings of this study into conversations with owners of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy in order to improve client expectations and communication.