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An overview of seizures and epilepsy in rabbits: etiological differences and clinical management

World Health Organization data suggest that neurological disorders are an important and growing cause of morbidity. One of the most common neurological disorder affecting people is epilepsy. Many companion animal neurological diseases share epidemiologic, pathophysiologic and clinical features with their human counterparts. In companion animals, affected species are mostly dogs, cats and rabbits. Seizure is defined as the clinical manifestation of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Epilepsy is a brain disease characterized by the psychological, cognitive, social and environmental consequences of seizures. The epileptic seizures are recurrent events characterized by behavioral alterations that reflect the underlying neural mechanisms of the disease. In most cases, the disease can be diagnosed by anamnesis or observing the seizure. There are many reviews and researches about epilepsy and epileptic seizures in companion animals such as dogs and cats but not in rabbits. There are several causes of epilepsy in rabbits including viral, bacterial, parasitic, metabolic, respiratory, cardiovascular, nutritional, toxic, traumatic, enviromental and non-epileptic causes. Rabbits can be considered suitable for seizure and epilepsy investigations due to their recurrent seizures with low risk of death. As mentioned, there are several causes of epilepsy in rabbits but still to elucidate the exact mechanism of epilepsy and epileptic seizures in rabbits more studies need to be carried out. Despite the advances in the disease management, epilepsy is still an important cause of disability and mortality in both humans and companion animals. As tonic-clonic seizures with brainstem origin mostly affect children, epileptic seizures in rabbits may be a good model for further studies.

Key words: Brain disease, epilepsy, neural disturbances, behavioral alterations, rabbit, seizure.

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