Epileptogenesis is the process by which a normal brain develops into an epileptic brain. There are 3 distinct phases of epileptogenesis-the latent period before seizures occur, the occurrence of recurrent seizures, and in about 30% of patients, the development of refractory epilepsy. Understanding the basic epileptic circuit abnormalities associated with recurrent seizures via aberrations in glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid, and ligand- and voltage-gated ion channel activity can help the small-animal practitioner understand the mechanism of action of the antiepileptic drugs currently used for dogs and cats for new-onset and refractory epilepsy. Understanding the latest research results and theories about the pathophysiology of the latent period of epileptogenesis, where recurrent seizures have not yet developed, would help the practitioner understand possible target areas for future treatments to treat epilepsy by preventing it rather than just symptomatically preventing recurrent seizures. The current areas of focus of research on the latent period include neurodegeneration, neurogenesis, axonal sprouting, glial cell activation, invasion of inflammatory cells, angiogenesis, and subclinical alteration of ligand- and receptor-gated ion channels.