Seizures, fits, and convulsions are caused by transitory dysrhythmias of brain cells that begin suddenly and cease spontaneously.1 Seizures represent a paroxysmal, uncontrolled, transient electric discharge from the neuron in the brain. Seizures can be differentiated into epilepsy or active seizure disease.2 The idiopathic epilepsy is the most common cause of recurrent seizures in dogs; the incidence is 1 to 2%. In certain breeds of dogs, the incidence can be as high as 15 to 20%.
Epilepsy can be inherited (idiopathic/primary/true) or acquired. As such, epilepsy can be defined as a seizure disorder characterized by an inborn biochemical defect of neurons (Kidney Jing DeficiencyWind), or by the presence of an old injury (stagnationWind), both of which lead to abnormal electrical activities in the brain. Both idiopathic and acquired epilepsy are the recurrent seizure activity without an underlying structural cause. They represent a seizure disorder where the seizure is the disease and treating the seizure is to treat the disease. On the other hand, active seizure disease is defined as a seizure disorder where the seizure represents only one symptom or manifestation of the true disease process (generally with underlying structure cause, e.g., trauma, neoplasia). In this case treating the seizure only treats the symptom, not the disease.2
In TCM, "Seizure" is called Chou-feng. Epilepsy is called "Xian Zheng". Both seizures and epilepsy belong to internal wind syndromes. The earliest literature on epilepsy can be found in Su Wen (General Questions): "Why epilepsy occurs......Its etiology traces back to the fetus in the mother's uterus. When the mother was frightened/scared, her Qi flowed only up but was unable to descend. Qi and Jing stayed together (Jing was consumed), consequently, her child would have epilepsy". It indicated that epilepsy can be inherited. Later on, the TCM practitioners found epilepsy is related to phlegm, stagnation, and disharmony of Zang Qi. Generally, epilepsy can be divided into the following 6 patterns: Obstruction by Wind-Phlegm, Internal Profusion of Phlegm-Fire, Stagnation of blood, Liver Blood Deficiency, Liver/Kidney Yin Deficiency and Kidney Jing Deficiency.