Epilepsy and Cancer in Dogs

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
My beagle, Sassy, was diagnosed at the age of two with epilepsy. She very recently had an episode where she collapsed, lost the use of her back legs, the reflex in her left eye and several other distressing symptoms. She was taken to an animal emergency room, and then examined by a veterinarian specialist. I was looking for information on the correlation between epilepsy in dogs and cancer

Lili Duda, VMD, Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Section, responds:

Epilepsy that occurs in young dogs is usually "idiopathic" which means the underlying cause is unknown; however, it is a well-described disease in dogs with standard evaluation (to rule out other causes of seizures such as metabolic abnormalities) and treatment regimens. While it is possible that seizures can be a result of brain tumors in dogs; this is very unlikely in a young dog. Please talk to your veterinarian about your concerns so that he can explain your dog's test results and discuss a treatment plan.