Canine Epilepsy Research

Can you help? If you have a dog with seizures, here is a way to help in the fight against this heartbreaking disease.

Ground breaking research is underway at the University of Missouri and other facilities around the world. When researches identify the genes and the modes of inheritance of the forms of canine epilepsy, tests will become available. The tests will enable breeders to plan their breedings so no dog need ever have epilepsy again.


In order to track down the genes that cause epilepsy in dogs, blood samples from both normal and affected dogs are needed. Each breed is studied individually. To begin the original mapping study for a breed, the researchers were looking for a minimum of blood samples from 25 sibling pairs. The dogs had to be from the same litter or separate litters, as long as the parents were the same for both litters. One dog had to have a history of seizures. The other dog must never have had a seizure.

That said, they have found the very best information comes from Families. The more familly members the better, and that includes more generations as well. A dam/puppy pair or a sire/puppy pair would be very useful. So, if you are able to provide it, blood from any additional family members would be great! Littermates, sires, dams, and offspring would be of great help. One of the very best submissions came from a breeder who held a "family reunion" and collected blood from many related dogs. I am told, not only did they do good for our breed, they had a great visit as well.

If you are not sure if your dog's seizures are caused by epilepsy or some other cause, don't hesitate to send blood. You can leave that determination to the researchers. Every single bit of information helps. When the researchers solve this puzzle, they will inform everyone who submitted blood samples of the status of each dog whose blood they submitted - clear, carrier, or affected. You could conceivably learn your dog is not epileptic, but its seizures have a different cause.

HERE ARE LINKS FOR PARTICIPATING IN THE STUDY  This very short form and a copy of the dog's pedigree are supposed to be sent in with the blood sample.  You can send them separately if need be. This form is to be filled out ONLY if the dog has seizures.    It can completed online or printed it out and mailed to the University of Missouri.  This page talks about what they are looking for.   Don't worry if you can't get entire families.   Think pairs - siblings or parent/offspring!!!  Additional family members would be wonderful.  This one tells how to collect the blood and where to send it. Print it out and bring it to your vet when you go to have your dog's blood drawn. This page gives step by step instructions for packing up the samples and shipping them.


If you have questions, the people at the University of Missouri are wonderful and always happy to help. (573) 884-3712 They don't always check their messages, so if you get the answering machine, just call back later.

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