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Maybe this raises some hope for finding a gene in Irish Setters too? I dont know much about epilepsy, but would be interested to read comments


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Like wise I have not experienced epilepsy in my dogs but when reading other forums on people who have it seems unbearable for both owner and dog alike. Your heart has to go out to any one who has experienced this, such as Astrid. It does give these us hope that at least one cause may be closer. I have only known one setter with epilepsy , a beautiful boy who could not be bred with. Heartbreaking but admire the breeder for making the right decision.

This is what I posted about the subject in 2009 in the topic about genetics.

I agree with professor Paul Mandigers as well. Leen calculated Ginger's COI for me over 10 generations and her COI is 12.49%.

What's more important to learn about and ban out epilepsy is DNA research. The plan for research of the ISCN is ready for take off. The only thing that's still missing are blood samples. It's up to breeders and owners to cooperate on this research and I hope we can all work together for a positive outcome.

I think that research is very important for the whole breed. Have you ever owned a dog with epilepsy?

The plan for collecting DNA samples failed because there where not enough breeders and dog owners that were willing to cooperate. That was the last thing I heard about it from the Dutch club.

An observation only. This is a forum post from PDE and that in its self seems to upset some people making them feel they must comment. It is great news that hopefully extend to setters but is wonderful currently for the dog breeds involved. Yet 4 replies only? I am surprised this has not generated more interest. To have money for research ready to go and only needing blood samples and not getting them, again surprising. Such a missed opportunity.

Thank you for posting links Margaret, Cornelia and Astrid. Interesting reading although I am going slowly through the genetics information.

There are in fact many informative posts on the PDE blog. If one wants to read and learn about many issues and new research in canine health and genetics, the PDE blog is a good place to go. The problem with posting links is that to many show people the PDE blog is anathema, and just the link gets their hackles up, without even bothering to follow them up to read the good information that  is there. But if one can get past the prejudice and read what is posted , one will also find there is a good  discussion pro and contra, and often further good information, at the end of each blog. Just ignore the personal stuff and focus on the genuine information and discussion :))

The Canine Genetics list, founded by Dr John Armstrong,  is another excellent place to go to learn, although it can be hard to get on to the list, as it is very tightly moderated. Some of the best people in canine genetics internationally are on that list, some of what is posted just goes right over my head! The PDE blog is more easily accessible


Margaret, I agree there are many informative posts on the PDE blog because PDE is primarily interested in all aspects of canine health.  I hope that a reason for predisposition to epilepsy can be found for, as Cornelia says, it is a syndrome and can have many causes, not all with a genetic base.  Years ago when I was working on the construction of a building to house the whole body scanner at the Royal Free Hospital I had the chance to speak to a consultant specialising in neurological disorders.  His comment to me was that if they cannot find a mode of inheritance for epilepsy in humans then god help us in dogs.  Well times have moved on and hopefully we can have a breakthrough.  The difficulty arises when the fits are idiopathic and there is no history in the pedigree.  It is a multifactorial condition.  I am still sceptical but prepared to be proved wrong.  Actually I would rather that it wasn't in inherited condition though I accept, as it can run in families, that I am being over optimistic.

A few years ago I bred and kept a bitch who started to fit when she was about six years old.  By that time I had already bred from her and retained a bitch.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I couldn't breed from her because she had bloat and had an elective gastropexy to prevent torsion.  It killed my line and I had to start all over again by buying in.  The dam fitted only occasionally so was never medicated.  Her liver function deteriorated in later life and my vet put the fitting down to that.  Her brother started to fit at about 18 months earlier and again the infrequency of his episodes didn't require medication.  The strange thing was that he stopped after about three years, never fitted again and lived to 15 years old.  None of my bitch's litter ever fitted and non were bred from.  The fact that there were two siblings in the litter certainly pointed to a familial predisposition. I had never bred a dog that fitted before so approached the breeder of the stud dog who assured me there was no epilepsy in her line..........stalemate!.  At the time there was no programme in place for collection of blood or tissue samples for future research so I missed the opportunity.

Rhonda people get upset only when extracts from PDE blogs are quoted out of context to provide negative fuel for argument.  None of us are unreasonable but would like to see balance in every discussion.   


Interesting point Sue. I was also told that the inclination to fit or not was dependent on the convulsive threshold of the individual but it doesn't necessarily have to be genetic.  It could be a congenital weakness that just takes a catalyst to prompt an electronic response in the brain.  Neither of the dogs I bred were hyperactive or sensitive.  They were just normal happy go lucky dogs.  No suspicion or advance warning that they could have had a predisposition.  Maybe they weren't of epileptiform origin at all.

A fit doesn't necessarily have to be epileptic.  We tend to sweep all convulsions under that umbrella.  It can be caused by all manner of external influences which have already been debated at length on this site.

I do not believe dogs suffer from juvenile epilepsy as humans do.  Many juvenile epileptics grow out of the condition.  We tend to assume that if a dog starts to fit at an early age it is more than likely to be genetic.  I do not know much about the human form but do not think it is inherited.  Am I right? 

I also correspond with an ES member who's son started to fit as an adult and there is no history of this in the family.

I do not think it is a condition that will be easy to eradicate because, as we all accept, like GDV, it is multifactorial but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try


Shame I am overseas, but good to hear it can still be supported.




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