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Future research priorities in canine epilepsy: viewpoints of owners, general practice veterinarians and neurology specialists

Jones, Gareth; Volk, Holger; Packer, Rowena


Gareth Jones

Holger Volk

Rowena Packer


Background: Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disease in dogs that impacts the quality of life (QoL) of affected dogs and their owners. Canine epilepsy research is expanding internationally, but where best to focus limited research time, funds and expertise to lead to better outcomes for affected dogs and their owners has not been studied.
Objective: To explore epilepsy research priorities of owners of dogs with epilepsy, general practice veterinarians and veterinary neurologists.
Methods: An international online survey was conducted in 2016 and repeated in 2020. Participants rated the absolute importance and relative rank of 18 areas of epilepsy research, which were compared between groups and time-points.
Results: Valid responses were received from 414 respondents in 2016 and 414 respondents in 2020. Improvement of anti-seizure drug (ASD) therapy via the development of new ASD medication and improving existing ASD management were considered the most important research priorities. Areas of research with increasing priority between 2016-2020 included non-ASD management, with the greatest potential seen in behavioural and dietary-based interventions. Disagreement in priorities were identified between groups; owners prioritized issues that impacted their and their dog’s day-to-day life and QoL e.g. side effects and co-morbidities, whereas GP vets and neurologists prioritized clinical issues and longer-term strategies to manage or prevent epilepsy, respectively.
Conclusions and clinical importance: Ensuring that voices of owners are heard in the planning of future research should be a broader goal of veterinary medicine, to target research efforts towards areas most likely to improve the QoL of affected animals and their caregivers.


Jones, G., Volk, H., & Packer, R. (in press). Future research priorities in canine epilepsy: viewpoints of owners, general practice veterinarians and neurology specialists. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 27, 2021
Online Publication Date May 7, 2021
Deposit Date Dec 15, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jun 22, 2021
Print ISSN 0891-6640
Publisher Wiley Open Access
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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