International veterinary epilepsy task force consensus report on epilepsy definition, classification and terminology in companion animals

Mette Berendt, Robyn G. Farquhar, Paul J J Mandigers, Akos Pakozdy, Sofie F M Bhatti, Luisa De Risio, Andrea Fischer, Sam Long, Kaspar Matiasek, Karen Muñana, Edward E. Patterson, Jacques Penderis, Simon Platt, Michael Podell, Heidrun Potschka, Martí Batlle Pumarola, Clare Rusbridge, Veronika M. Stein, Andrea Tipold, Holger A. Volk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Dogs with epilepsy are among the commonest neurological patients in veterinary practice and therefore have historically attracted much attention with regard to definitions, clinical approach and management. A number of classification proposals for canine epilepsy have been published during the years reflecting always in parts the current proposals coming from the human epilepsy organisation the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE). It has however not been possible to gain agreed consensus, "a common language", for the classification and terminology used between veterinary and human neurologists and neuroscientists, practitioners, neuropharmacologists and neuropathologists. This has led to an unfortunate situation where different veterinary publications and textbook chapters on epilepsy merely reflect individual author preferences with respect to terminology, which can be confusing to the readers and influence the definition and diagnosis of epilepsy in first line practice and research studies. In this document the International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force (IVETF) discusses current understanding of canine epilepsy and presents our 2015 proposal for terminology and classification of epilepsy and epileptic seizures. We propose a classification system which reflects new thoughts from the human ILAE but also roots in former well accepted terminology. We think that this classification system can be used by all stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number182
JournalBMC Veterinary Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 28 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Following reimbursements, fees and funding have been received by the authors in the last three years and have been declared in the competing interest section. CR, RGF, HAV, KM and JP have received fees for acting as a consultant for Boehringer Ingelheim (KM, MP: consultancy during development and approval of imepitoin; CR: pain consultancy; RGF, JP, HAV: consultancy pre and post launch of imepitoin). AT has been an advisor for Boehringer Ingelheim. SFMB, HAV and AT have been responsible principal investigator of several research studies concerning imepitoin financed by Boehringer Ingelheim. SFMB, HAV, JP, HP, MB, CR and AF received speaking fees from Boehringer Ingelheim. HP received consulting and speaking fees and funding for a collaborative project from Eisai Co. LTD. HAV received funding for a collaborative project from Desitin and Nestlé Purina Research. AF and LDR received reimbursements from Boehringer Ingelheim. LDR has received consulting and speaking fees from Vetoquinol. MP has received consultant fees for Aratana. The other authors declared that they have no competing interests.

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to all owners of epileptic pets and veterinary colleagues who have inspired the group to create consensus statements. We thank all the breeders and breed clubs for their support. We would especially like to thank Professor Simon Shorvon for the critical review of the consensus statements. His great insight has been immensely helpful. The authors also would like to thank the research office for assessing the manuscript according to the Royal Veterinary College’s code of good research practice (Authorisation Number – CCS_ 01023). This study was not financially supported by any organization or grant. Other members of the classification, definition and terminology working group (alphabetically listed).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Berendt et al.


  • Classification
  • Dog
  • Epilepsy
  • Seizures
  • Semiology


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