GLOSSARY OF TERMS 

PERTAINING TO CANINE EPILEPSY

 

AED Abbreviation for Anti-Epilepsy Drug; a medication given to reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.
Ascites Accumulation of fluids in the abdominal cavity.
Ataxia An inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements; a common side effect of anti-seizure medications which can cause weakness and/or loss of control of the hind legs.
Aura A sensation or warning that a seizure is about to occur.
Autoimmune Response An inappropriate immune response, directed against the body's own tissues.
BID Twice a day.
cc Cubic centimeter, a unit of measure that is equal to a milliliter (ml).
Cluster Seizures Two or more seizures occurring over a brief period of time (minutes to hours) but with the patient regaining consciousness between the seizures.
Complex Focal Seizures In a complex focal seizure consciousness is impaired.  It may be manifested as bizarre behavior such as unprovoked aggression or extreme irrational fear.
EEG Electroencephalography, examination of the electrical activity of the brain.
Focal Seizures A focal seizure is localized to a particular part of the brain.  Any portion of the body may be involved during a focal seizure depending on the region of the brain affected.  There may be asymmetric motor or sensory signs such as rhythmic contractions of facial muscles, licking or chewing at a region of the body or fly-biting seizures.
Generalized Absence Seizure An abrupt and brief loss of consciousness.  These seizures were formerly called petit mal seizures.  True absence seizures are rare, or at least rarely recognized in veterinary medicine.
Generalized Seizures Both cerebral hemispheres are involved.  Muscle movement occurs on both sides, i.e., both legs move during the clonic phase.  Consciousness may be impaired.
Generalized Tonic-clonic Seizures Formerly called Grand Mal.  The first part of the seizure is the tonic phase, during which there is sustained contraction of all muscles.  The second phase is the clonic phase during which there is rythmic contraction of muscles which is manifested as paddling or jerking of the limbs and chewing movements.  Some animals suffer milder generalized tonic-clonic seizures in which consciousness is maintained.
Grain A unit of measure which is approximately 65 mg.  Some pharmaceutical companies distribute Phenobarbital using Grains instead of milligrams.
Grand Mal Seizure A term which was used in the past to describe a generalized tonic-clonic seizure.
Half Life The time it takes for one half of the original dose of a medication to leave the body.
Hepatic Of, relating to, affecting, associated with, supplying or draining the liver.
Hepatotoxicity A tendency or capacity to cause damage to the liver.
Icteric Jaundice.
Idiopathic Epilepsy Idiopathic epilepsy is translated: epilepsy sui generis (by itself), which conforms to the original Greek meaning of the term idiopathic.  This is in contrast to the common misuse of the term to mean cause unknown.  The term idiopathic epilepsy should not be applied simply to any patient in which the cause of the seizures is unknown.
KBr Chemical abbreviation for Potassium Bromide.
KG Kilogram; a unit of measure equal to 2.2 pounds.
Kindling A theory that repetitive seizures will lower the seizure threshold.
ml Milliliter; a unit of measure that is equal to a cubic centimeter (cc).
NaBr Chemical abbreviation for Sodium Bromide.
Pb Commonly used abbreviation for Phenobarbital but the actual chemical abbreviation for lead.
Phb Chemical abbreviation for Phenobarbital.
Polydipsia Excessive or abnormal thirst.
Polyphagia Excessive appetite.
Polyuria Excessive Urination.
Postictal Signs Transient clinical abnormalities in brain function that are caused by seizures and appear when the seizure has ended.  The dog may appear blind or disoriented; he may pace or run about the house; he may be extremely hungry or show signs of aggression.
Refractory Resistant to treatment or cure.
Seizure Threshold The level at which a seizure will occur.  Epileptic dogs have a very low seizure threshold.
SID Once a day.
Simple Focal Seizures A focal seizure in which consciousness is preserved. 
Status Epilepticus A life threatening situation that is defined as a seizure lasting 20 to 30 minutes, which is an estimation of the duration necessary to cause brain damage, however, treatment needs to begin well before 20 minutes has elapsed.  A more practical definition of Status is a continuous seizure lasting at least 5 minutes, or two or more discrete seizures without full recovery of consciousness between seizures.
TID Three times a day.