Seizure sensors in dogs

Bongers, Jos Jacqueline (2023) Seizure sensors in dogs. MVM(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.


Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder in dogs with an estimated prevalence of 0.5-5.7%. Research has mainly focussed on antiepileptic medication and how to reduce seizure frequency. However, there are more aspects related to the quality of life of dog and owner in dogs with epilepsy, such as the ability to leave their dog on their own. This project explores the possibility of using non-electroencephalography seizure detection devices in dogs. And, if effective, how they can be used to better record epilepsy frequency, reduce stress on owners by predicting seizures and safely provide a quieter environment for epileptic patients in hospital. Future aims would be to formulate an alarm system which will alert a clinician of a generalised tonic-clonic seizure (GTCS) in a hospitalised dog with epilepsy.

The gold standard for identifying seizures is the detection of ictal or inter-ictal electroencephalographic (EEG) abnormalities, but this is considered impractical for long-term and real-life setting use. Studies on devices to detect seizures are extensively available in the human literature. These devices are based on detecting physiological changes before or during a seizure such as alterations in movement, heart rate and electrical activity in muscle. Most extensive investigated parameters include autonomic changes (cardiovascular, respiratory and transpiration) and changes in movement (accelerometry, surface electromyography). Their sensitivity and false detection rate to detect seizures vary, however direct comparison of studies is nearly impossible, as there are many differences in study design and standards for testing. A way to improve sensitivity and decrease false- positivealarms is to combine the different parameters thereby profiting from the strengths of each one.

Critical to device development, is understanding user needs and requirements. Many dog health collars are currently on the market, but none has proved to be a promising seizure detector. Our first study included an online survey which was conducted to investigate the market for seizure sensor devices. Our results confirmed that there is a receptive market for wearable technology as new management strategy in canine epilepsy. The unpredictability of seizures appeared to play a major part in the management of canine epilepsy and dog owners have a strong desire to know when a seizure occurs. Owners believed seizure detection devices would improve their dog's seizure management, including a better accuracy of seizure frequency and the ability to administer emergency drugs more readily.

According to our study, the desirable device properties should include a high sensitivity, a low false detection rate, the device should be wireless and wearable, small and comfortable, and affordable. Several non-EEG devices were tested and the Actiheart 5 of all devices, has most of these properties. The Actiheart 5 is a wireless single-lead ECG recorder developed initially for people, measuring heart rate variability by providing a full waveform raw data. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a biomarker of intrinsic autonomic cardiac activity. Two primary approaches have been developed for analysing the beat-to-beat variability in humans and they provide a quantitative assessment of cardiac autonomic regulation in healthy and diseased patients: time domain and frequency domain methods. In the second study, we aimed to determine the feasibility of the Actiheart 5 to measure heart rate variability in hospitalised dogs.

The second study included two healthy dogs and two dogs previously diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. Data was analysed using the Actiheart software which also allowed manual correction of artefactual beats. HRV was quantified by Kubios software, and the data output was converted using Microsoft Excel, to be used for commercial statistical analysing programs. The data for mean RR, RMSSD (time domain analysis) and HF Power (frequency domain analysis) were recorded for each patient. Based on the results of this study, the Actiheart 5 device in combination with a video recorder, was found to be a promising method in helping detect seizures in hospitalised dogs.

Further studies should focus on determining reference values for HRV parameters in hospitalised epileptic dogs.

Item Type: Thesis (MVM(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Due to copyright issues this thesis is not available for viewing.
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture > SF600 Veterinary Medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Supervisor's Name: Stalin, Mrs. Catherine and Gutierrez Quintana, Dr. Rodrigo
Date of Award: 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2023-83761
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2023 08:52
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2023 08:53
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83761
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