Canine Epilepsy Research
Ned Patterson, DVM
University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine
Gary Johnson, DVM, PhD
University of Missouri, College of Veterinary Medicine
The Canine Epilepsy Project is a collaborative study into the causes of epilepsy in dogs. It is supported by grants from the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), individual breed clubs and private donations. Grants supporting this research are CHF Completed Grant #1718, CHF Completed Grant #1729, CHF Completed Grant #1845, CHF Active Grant #2252, CHF Active Grant #2304, and NIH Award #1K08NS0224501.
Our goal is to find the genes responsible for epilepsy in dogs so that wise breeding can decrease the incidence of the disease in dogs. We also hope that knowing what genes regulate epilepsy in dogs may help us better tailor our therapy to the specific cause.
The objectives of our investigations into hereditary canine epilepsy are:
- Recruit samples from a large number of affected individuals and their immediate family members (siblings, parents, and grandparents), from many breeds of dogs.
- Evaluate the genotype of selected families to search for linkage between DNA markers and clinical epilepsy, then use this information to identify the causative mutation or mutations.
- Devise a DNA marker test that detects and distinguishes normal and mutant (epilepsy-causing) alleles, and make this test available to dog breeders so that they can produce epilepsy-free dogs.
Progress to Date
As of September 1, 2006, samples from 8066 dogs representing 90 different breeds have been submitted for epilepsy research. Included in this total are 1207 affected dogs. As samples arrive, families are assembled and data compiled. We have reached the initial goal of 50 breeds included in the project, but not all breeds have informative families sampled at this time. At present, all breeds with more than 20 affected dogs are being evaluated and prepared for possible mapping, and the mapping process has begun in some breeds. Samples from potentially useful families of any breed are still needed, and we encourage owners to participate.
Akbash Dog 14 1 1 0 Alaskan (Racing) Husky 11 3 1 2 Australian Shepherd 1080 128 63 65 Beagle 184 36 18 18 Bloodhound 66 4 1 3 Border Collie 83 22 13 9 Border Terrier 124 39 15 24 Brittany 39 9 5 4 Canaan Dog 26 9 5 4 Chinook + Chinook cross 280 35 17 18 Collie 111 22 14 8 Dachshund 74 10 3 7 Dalmatian 95 33 13 20 English Shepherd 22 2 0 2 Finnish Spitz 78 16 7 9 Fox Terrier (Wire) 11 4 3 1 German Pinscher 36 4 2 2 German Shepherd Dog 23 11 6 5 Giant Schnauzer 20 2 1 1 Great Dane 29 1 0 1 Great Pyrenees 23 5 1 4 Greater Swiss Mountain Dog 887 63 41 22 Ibizan Hound 66 15 7 8 Italian Greyhound 50 18 8 10 Jack Russell Terrier 27 10 5 5 Mastiff 21 2 2 0 Newfoundland 14 2 1 1 Otterhound 131 18 13 5 Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen 46 8 4 4 Pointer 241 17 12 5 Pointer, German Shorthaired 33 8 3 5 Pomeranian 32 13 7 6 Poodle (Standard) 291 26 9 17 Pyrenean Shepherd 22 4 2 2 Retriever, Chesapeake Bay 86 21 14 7 Retriever, Curly Coated 75 12 5 7 Retriever, Golden 64 18 10 8 Retriever, Labrador 201 50 29 21 Rottweiler 14 4 3 1 Saint Bernard 106 21 13 8 Samoyed 18 1 1 0 Schipperke 39 14 6 8 Setter, English 126 21 10 11 Setter, Irish 229 58 45 13 Shetland Sheepdog 31 12 6 6 Siberian Husky 80 23 15 8 Spaniel, American Water 253 27 16 11 Spaniel, Cocker (American) 128 28 16 12 Spaniel, English Springer 869 85 45 40 Spaniel, Field 109 6 2 4 Spaniel, Irish Water 310 37 22 15 Spaniel, Welsh Springer 413 25 17 8 Standard Schnauzer 183 17 15 2 Tibetan Mastiff 24 3 2 1 Vizsla 264 53 26 27 Weimeraner 21 5 3 2 Welsh Terrier 34 9 7 2 *Other breeds 100 57 31 26 TOTALS (09-01-06) 8066 1207 663 544 *includes less that 10 dogs per breed of the following:
Akita, Alaskan Malamute, American Bulldog, Australian Terrier, Basenji, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Tervuren,
Bernese Mountain Dog, Bichon Frise, Bluetick Coonhound, Borzoi, Boston Terrier, Briard, Bullmastiff,
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Chinese Shar-Pei, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Flat-Coated Retriever, French Bulldog,
Irish Wolfhound, Keeshond, Leonberger, Mi-Ki, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever,Pembroke Welsh Corgi,
Pit Bull Terrier, Poodle (Miniature), Portugese Water Dog, Saluki, Scottish Terrier, Small Munsterlander
Spinone Italiano, Tibetan Terrier, Welsh Corgi-Pembroke
The level of participation by any breed should not be interpreted as an indication of the frequency of this problem within the breed, but can serve to demonstrate the commitment by fanciers of that breed to help researchers solve this problem.
Dr Patterson is the lead author on an article that appeared in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, May-June 2003 issue. Following is the abstract from this article:
Clinical characteristics and inheritance of idiopathic epilepsy in Vizslas.
Patterson EE, Mickelson JR, Da Y, Roberts MC, McVey AS, O'Brien DP, Johnson GS, Armstrong PJ.
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, St Paul, MN 55108, USA.
Medical record, seizure survey, and telephone interview information was obtained for 29 Vizslas with idiopathic epilepsy (IE), 74 unaffected siblings, and 41 parents to determine the common clinical characteristics and most likely mode of inheritance. IE was diagnosed on the basis of the age of seizure onset, laboratory results, and neurologic examination findings. Computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis was required for the inclusion of dogs with an age of seizure onset of < 6 months or > 5 years. Simple segregation analysis was performed with an ascertainment correction and chi-square analysis. IE appeared to be familial in these pedigrees, with 79% of affected Vizslas exhibiting partial onset seizures. Partial seizure signs included a combination of limb tremors, staring, pupillary dilatation, or salivation without loss of consciousness in > 50% of the dogs with partial signs. The estimated segregation frequency of P = .22 (95% CI, P = .08 to .36) was consistent with autosomal recessive inheritance; however, polygenic inheritance could not be excluded as a possibility. Simulated linkage with FASTSLINK estimated that the average logarithm of odds (LOD) score would be 3.23 with a 10-centimorgan (cM) whole-genome scan for these families, indicating that these families would be useful for a whole-genome scan to potentially find the chromosomal segment(s) containing the epilepsy gene or genes. We conclude that IE in Vizslas appears to be primarily a partial onset seizure disorder that may be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.
J Vet Intern Med. 2003 May-Jun;17(3):319-25.
If you have an epileptic dog, you can supply samples and information for the project.
Participation by the owners of affected dogs and their relatives is essential to the success of this project. Researchers need DNA samples from dogs who have experienced seizures, and immediate relatives, both normal and affected. Specifically, we need samples from all available siblings, parents, and grandparents. If the affected dog has been bred, all offspring and mates should be sampled as well. Useful research families are explained in more detail here. Participation in this research project is confidential - the names of individual owners or dogs will not be revealed. Data and sample collection instructions and sample submission forms are available to download here, or the packet will be mailed or faxed upon request.
Dog clubs can contribute to the success of this project by making their members aware that this research is underway, and encouraging those who have affected dogs or relatives to participate.
Your financial support makes this project possible.
You can continue to help through donations to any of the following funds:
The Canine Health Foundation of the American Kennel Club. The CHF often matches the funds donated by clubs or individuals, thus doubling the impact your donation may have. You may specify that your donation is used for epilepsy research, and they will honor your request. Individual breed club foundations dedicated to epilepsy research.
The Canine Epilepsy Research Consortium is a group of scientists who have agreed to:
share DNA samples, phenotype data, and genotype data share credit for scientific contribution by co-authoring manuscripts agree that discoveries will be put into public domain.
The group currently includes:
University of Missouri
Gary Johnson, DVM, PhD Dennis O'Brien, DVM, PhD Joan Coates, DVM, MS Shahnawaz Khan, PhD Liz Hansen
University of Minnesota
James Mickelson, PhD Ned Patterson, DVM Animal Health Trust Matthew Binns, PhD Cathryn Mellersh, PhD
CERC Information Exchange
All contents Copyright 1998-2011 by the Dogue de Bordeaux Society of America, Inc. (DDBSA) No part of this document may be reproduced in whole or in part in any means, electronic or paper, without express written permission by the DDBSA. Print out and reproduction of the page in whole with http: address visible is permitted.