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Need Epileptic BC's for study


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Hi All

I am looking for people with epileptic border collies. The Border Collie

Society of America is sponsoring research aimed at determing the genetic

cause of seizures in border collies. The research project needs 50 affected

dogs; to date we only have 19. Please contact me if you have a border

collie and are interested in participating in this study being conducted by

the University of Missourt vet school. My email is charlton91342@yahoo.com



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The ABCA is also sponsoring a study of epilepsy in border collies. A number of informative pedigrees have been assembled, and blood is being collected from epileptic and non-epileptic dogs within those pedigrees. Denise Wall is involved and could speak more fully about it if she weren't on her way to a trial this weekend. My understanding is that more dogs, from different lineage, are still needed for the study. If you would like to participate, contact Denise or Mellissa DeMille (mellissad1@yahoo.com).

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I just wanted to note that while I would never promote the BCSA since they are a parent club of the AKC, I do feel ANY study into a problem like epilepsy is worthy of participation. AFAIK, the study is not being conducted by the AKC or BCSA, rather by the University of Missouri vet school. The more studies being done, the better. I look forward to reading the results of BOTH studies.



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Re: the U. of Missouri study - click on this link - there is ongoing canine epilepsy research going on-- http://www.canine-epilepsy.net/ - go to the "research" page and "submit a sample" page -they explain the research and how to submit a DNA sample and pedigree. So far they have 69 samples for BC's and 17 affected dogs. From what I understand, it will take around 50 affected dogs' samples to come up with a genetic marker. They are also interested in collecting samples from normal relatives of affected dogs. When a number of my friends and I sent in blood samples of our dogs (who are related to a couple of epi- dogs), our vet collected, packaged and sent the samples for us free of charge. Many vets will do this if it's for legitimate research.

Eileen, if there's another study going on somewhere else (I heard there might be one at UNC?) wouldn't it be great if the researchers could share their info with each other?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi guys,


In case any of you aren't on Sheepdog-L, I just posted the message below to that list and will be interested in seeing the responses. I haven't been on the Boards in awhile, so missed most of this discussion, but I have a 17-month old pup, so far unaffected. **But** out of her litter of 5, 2 have started seizing, one male clustering at 13 months of age, the other -- a female -- with one seizure about a week before she came into season for the first time at about 16 months. Turns out the sire, unbeknownst to me or the dam's owner, had thrown a few epileptic pups in the past. And now we know the hard way that the dam is a carrier for this probably recessive gene. Oy......


I, too, am confused re the number of ongoing studies (i.e., the Missouri study and the one Mellissa is involved in) trying to find a marker. Given the difficulty of getting the samples and all the relevant info, are they really not pooling their efforts. I am a research scientist at a big medical center funded (very very competitively) by NIH grants, so I know the science game. But the point should be to find the gene/marker, not win the first publication prize (ok, off the soap box).


Anyway, I certainly could get samples from this entire litter and the Mom. I would think they would want both affected and unaffected dogs from the same litter, no?


Here's what I posted to the other list.........



Dear list,


I know there is no DNA test for epilepsy (as we now have for CEA), but what are people's impressions of the prevalence of idiopathic (i.e., inherited) epilepsy in the breed?


I would imagine that no one would breed a dog that itself had epilepsy, but do people routinely research the history of seizures in the lines behind (and along side of) the (unaffected) dogs they are considering breeding in order to judge the odds of them being carriers of the gene? If a dog has thrown several pups or has sibs or 1/2 sibs with diagnosed epilepsy (as opposed to seizures brought on by infection, environmental causes, etc.), would people pull him/her from their breeding programs or, alternatively, at least let anyone who might be affected by such breedings (i.e. puppy buyers or stud dog/dam owners) know about the possibility (however slim) that the dog may be a carrier of the gene?


I understand that inherited epilepsy is genetically complex: the consensus seems to be that it's an autosomal recessive mutation, but I gather it may be polygenic (ie more than one gene involved); so we probably won't have a test any time soon that can give us any guarantees. Thus, it may be all the more important to be vigilant and candid about the situation. It has affected me and my dogs recently, and I'm wondering how to make decisions about taking future pups or planning future breedings and what the consensus is (if any) among you.





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Hi Pat,


Tina DeAngelo here. I am compiling all my info to send in to the Missouri study. I contacted Melissa by email but have not heard back. I would do anything to keep someone else from having an epileptic dog as I do. It is the worst, most stressful disease to deal with since you never know when an episode will occur.


My dog was a rescue at 1 year old. I don't know what caused the seizures but they started at 22 months. Is it genetic? Can't find anyone else in the lines with it. Is it a result of something that happened as a puppy? I'll never know.


It seems aomong my group of BC friends way too many of us have had epileptic dogs now. I saw the results of the CEA study on Sheepdog-L and the affecteds are so low. Having a marker for it is wonderful but in my mind I'd rather know about seizures as I feel that they are far more prevalent than CEA. I hope they can find it soon.


How many people have dogs that are kenneled most of the time and never know their dogs are seizing? My dogs seizures are only 30 seconds long (although clusters) and he recovers very quickly. I might never know if he lived in a kennel.


Sorry for rambling.



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For those wanting to participate in our data collection for epilepsy through the ABCA Health and Genetics Committee, we will be organizing ourselves a bit more in the next couple of weeks and will have a standardized form with which to gather information. Those who have written previously will be sent a form as soon as it's ready. Those who have not written and want to participate can write me at cdwall@mindspring.com to be included. As always, all information shared is strictly confidential.


Thanks and sorry I missed this thread the first time around.


C. Denise Wall, PhD

ABCA Health and Genetics Committee Member

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...ANY study into a problem like epilepsy is worthy of participation.
Not so sure about that. In all likelihood the BCSA will use the results to further rationalize its policy of breeding for other than working ability. A few snippets from its web site:


On CEA, "testbreeding schemes...are therefore very suited to use for a single kennel, or a small group of kennels determined to eliminate the deleterious gene from their breeding stock." (link)


On hip displasia, "the BCSA recommends that breeders only bred those dogs that are certified." (link)


On OCD, "guidelines for decreasing the frequency...would be...identify affected animals and exclude them from a breeding program." (link)

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