Electroencephalography findings in healthy and Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy: visual and background quantitative analysis

J Vet Intern Med. 2007 Nov-Dec;21(6):1299-306. doi: 10.1892/06-285.1.


Background: Qualitative and quantitative electroencephalography (EEG) parameters of healthy and Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy have not been determined.

Objective: To determine if EEG can provide specific characteristics to distinguish between healthy dogs and dogs with epilepsy.

Animals: Sixteen healthy and 15 Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy.

Methods: A prospective clinical EEG study performed under medetomidine sedation. Blinded visual and quantitative EEG analyses were performed and results were compared between study groups.

Results: Benign epileptiform transients of sleep and sleep spindles were a frequent finding in a majority of animals from both groups. The EEG analysis detected epileptiform activity in 3 Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy and in 1 healthy Finnish Spitz dog. Epileptiform activity was characterized by spikes, polyspikes, and spike slow wave complexes in posterior-occipital derivation in dogs with epilepsy and with midline spikes in control dog. The healthy dogs showed significantly less theta and beta activity than did the dogs with epilepsy (P < .01), but the only significant difference between healthy dogs and dogs with untreated epilepsy was in the alpha band (P < .001). Phenobarbital treatment increased alpha, beta (P < .001), and theta (P < .01), and decreased delta (P < .001) frequency bands compared with dogs with untreated epilepsy.

Conclusions and clinical importance: Benign epileptiform transients of sleep could be easily misinterpreted as epileptiform activity. Epileptiform activity in Finnish Spitz dogs with epilepsy seems to originate from a posterior-occipital location. The EEG of dogs with epilepsy exhibited a significant difference in background frequency bands compared with the control dogs. Phenobarbital treatment markedly influenced all background activity bands. Quantitative EEG analysis, in addition to visual analysis, seems to be a useful tool in the examination of patients with epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / pathology*
  • Dogs
  • Electroencephalography / veterinary*
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Epilepsy / veterinary*
  • Female
  • Male