Objectives: To explore seizure management from the perspective of the owners of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy.
Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to owners of 29 dogs under management for suspected or diagnosed idiopathic epilepsy through the clinics of the Small Animal Hospital of the University of Glasgow Veterinary School, using either phenobarbitone or potassium bromide alone or in combination.
Results: The postal survey had an 86 per cent response rate. Analysis of the responses demonstrated that "the dog's quality of life", "adequate seizure frequency" and "acceptable side effects of antiepileptic drugs" were the three greatest concerns for owners; 52 per cent of owners strongly agreed that the seizure management for their dog was adequate, though the seizure frequency reported varied within this group; the majority of owners did not consider the administration of medication a nuisance. However, approximately 60 per cent of owners reported that caring for an epileptic dog had an effect on the organisation of their free time, though this was not dependent on perception of seizure control. Opinions as to the value of further diagnostic procedures, in particular intracranial imaging, were significantly affected by having pet health insurance.
Clinical significance: From the owners' perspective, adequacy of seizure control is determined by the balance between "the dog's quality of life", "adequate seizure frequency" and "acceptable side effects of antiepileptic drugs". A frequency of less than one seizure every three months is associated with the perception by owners of adequate seizure control.