Dogs with spontaneous diseases can exhibit a striking similarity in etiology, clinical manifestation, and disease course when compared to human patients. Therefore, dogs are intensely discussed as a translational model of human disease. In particular, genetic studies in selected dog breeds serve as an excellent tool to identify epilepsy disease genes. In addition, canine epilepsy is discussed as a translational platform for drug testing. On one hand, epileptic dogs might serve as an interesting model by allowing the evaluation of drug efficacy and potency under clinical conditions with a focus on chronic seizures resistant to standard medication, preventive strategies, or status epilepticus. On the other hand, several limitations need to be considered including owner-based seizure monitoring, species differences in pharmacokinetics and drug interactions, as well as cost-intensiveness. The review gives an overview on the current state of knowledge regarding the etiology, clinical manifestation, pathology, and drug response of canine epilepsy, also pointing out the urgent need for further research on specific aspects. Moreover, the putative advantages, the disadvantages, and limitations of antiepileptic drug testing in canine epilepsy are critically discussed.
Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2013 International League Against Epilepsy.