ACVIM Consensus Statement on the management of status epilepticus and cluster seizures in dogs and cats

First published: 03 November 2023


Seizure emergencies (ie, status epilepticus [SE] and cluster seizures [CS]), are common challenging disorders with complex pathophysiology, rapidly progressive drug-resistant and self-sustaining character, and high morbidity and mortality. Current treatment approaches are characterized by considerable variations, but official guidelines are lacking.


To establish evidence-based guidelines and an agreement among board-certified specialists for the appropriate management of SE and CS in dogs and cats.



Materials and Methods

A panel of 5 specialists was formed to assess and summarize evidence in the peer-reviewed literature with the aim to establish consensus clinical recommendations. Evidence from veterinary pharmacokinetic studies, basic research, and human medicine also was used to support the panel’s recommendations, especially for the interventions where veterinary clinical evidence was lacking.


The majority of the evidence was on the first-line management (ie, benzodiazepines and their various administration routes) in both species. Overall, there was less evidence available on the management of emergency seizure disorders in cats in contrast to dogs. Most recommendations made by the panel were supported by a combination of a moderate level of veterinary clinical evidence and pharmacokinetic data as well as studies in humans and basic research studies.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Successful management of seizure emergencies should include an early, rapid, and stage-based treatment approach consisting of interventions with moderate to preferably high ACVIM recommendations; management of complications and underlying causes related to seizure emergencies should accompany antiseizure medications.