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Media highlight Irish setter as a sick animal

The image of the Irish setter got another big blow in Dutch media this week because a breeder was fined to pay 6000 euro for selling and subsequently denying primary epilepsy in a dog. Nearly all media, from national television to dailies and social media focused on this. Last year it was only television, now the impact is way broader. What do you think, is there a way to get out of this misery? And how?


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I agree with you Susan.

Thanks Sue, I thought 2 was too young!!!!  I reckon that by the time I've read all of your blogs I will be able to set myself up in business and charge squillions of pounds because you are so informative.  Do you want to buy shares??????


Hi Cornelia, perhaps it would be a good idea for the IS clubs to contact the Lagotto club and request details of how they set about their investigation and resolution.   The gentleman who told us that he had epilepsy and was the first in his known family to suffer thus, also makes me wonder if the gene is recessive, like PRA appeared to be.  Maybe the research into that resolution would also be useful in tracking epilepsy gene.  Abbie's owner is submitting blood samples and as you suggest other could do the same and then surely a pattern would begin to emerge but I'm no medic or scientist so maybe being a bit simplistic.   All my blogs have advocated openess and honesty and if it can be done within the  IRWS breed outlined by Ann Millington then surely IS can do the same.  COI I assume means relationships between dogs and I believe the KC UK are rejecting registrations from puppies that are too closely bred but am I dilusional????????   

It would be helpful for breeders if they had full access to the database of the breed clubs. By full access I mean also the results of the enquiries.

Yes it would indeed Astrid, everything, anything, may give a clue/idea to someone on how to find resolution.  I think the ISBC publish results such as hip ratings and prc 4 etc.   The sire and dam would be useful too, do you think?

My cocker puppy was hilarious today whilst walking in the forest..   I do hope that there was no one else about because I'll be getting a reputation for being a nutcase......

Hip- and eye results are published on the website. I meant all the other healthproblems. Breeders don't have full access to the database, only the breeding committee.

Gathering information of this kind is not easy - and what to do with it when you have got it!

For a start, medical reports to the IRWS database are confidential - otherwise people would be reluctant to report anything. Owners and others can and do talk about their dogs as much as they like but the only information from the database in the public domain, until there is breed action to be taken, is the number of cases of conditions reported.

Regarding Epilepsy in IRWS I can tell you that of the 360 'medical' reports over 30 years, 4 cases of Epilepsy are reported, 6 cases of Fitting and 1 case of Cluster Seizures. Are these all the cases of 'Epilepsy' in the breed?  I hope so, but we depend on owners reporting and owners are notoriously forgetful.  However their friends and 'enemies' have no hesitation in spilling the beans and 'I have reported it to the database' is the answer!


I might interject here that a fitting dog does not necessarily have Epilepsy - fitting can be due to other causes eg the case of Cluster Seizures was eventually diagnosed as reaction to a sudden unexplained extreme rise in blood pressure.

We can talk about Epilepsy in Irish Setters 'shock horro'!! for ever.  But what can we DO about it?

Lobby your Breed Club to explain the position to its members, ask, plead, twist their arms to collect the number of dogs diagnosed with Epilepsy (can also include, but differentiate, Fitting) - promise confidentiality if this will encourage owners to report.

Give a cut-off date for reporting or people will continue to 'mean to do it'.

Then combine all breed clubs records to get an overall picture of the breed situation.... then comes pedigree analysis, mode of inheritance, DNA sample collection and clinical research.... and eventually (not in my lifetine I think) a solution.

Who will take charge of this work?  It is up to you, Irish Setter owners to sort this out! ;o])) But the longer you dither the worse it will become - it will not go away!

Ah Georgina! 

Not joining a Breed Club Committee because of the 'power-hungry' members already there, just allows them to continue their wicked ways!!! ;o]))))  All committees need a Big Thorn in their sides to keep them on the straight and narrow and jolt some sense and 'for the sake of the Breed' commitment.  There can never be enough committee members who will speak out!

Hi Ann, you are, of course, correct.   But I was never competitive when I showed and the thought of being sucked into the politics would have spoiled it totally for me.   I was aware of "the" gossip, I experienced the bitter disappointment of buying puppies from respected breeders only to find that there were major health issues, I tried to avoid pitfalls by seeking advice from "experienced" breeders when planning a litter (not from the affected animals) to no avail, and the outcome was sickening.   The bitches I had were bred along the majority of setters being shown at the time and yet when I told people what had happened or they asked why I wasn't showing so and so, they told me I was just unlucky.   Poppycock - they were just in denial and refused to admit the truth.   It is just as well that there are people who to do "committees" and I respect them for that, provided of course, that there intentions are honourable.   Reading your blog re the IRWS health information which is private. It's pointless having it because anyone thinking about a litter would benefit greatly from the information contained therein, they are facts and can be acted on accordingly.  We now know that unless we have indisputable facts, asking experienced breeders may not be too reliable.  We were always suspicious that those "leading breed trends" were possibly not as honest as they should have been as now proven with Sam's breeder.  I am definately not saying that all successful breeders are "found wanting" but I am saying that money rots the mind and the morals and if by holding back information that their stud or bitch has a known condition means they can"go to the bank" then we now know what happens.  This is why I am banging on about openess and honesty without fear of litigation.  It is, in my humble opinion, the only way to help the restoration of good health within the breed or any breed.

I know how diligent you have been over the years and tireless in your efforts to secure  overall good health within IRWS and you've always had my respect so keep it up......

Thanks for calm & collected contributions full of quality! Your attention please for a post of Ann Millington stating: "Regarding Epilepsy in IRWS I can tell you that of the 360 'medical' reports over 30 years, 4 cases of Epilepsy are reported, 6 cases of Fitting and 1 case of Cluster Seizures." This documents a thought launched here first by Susan Stone in another topic, I think: a possible cross IRS x IRWS. Your views?

So pleased that you have kept this debate going, it would seem that epilepsy is not so common as so few people have written about their experience with the condition. Reading through this debate again it would appear that poor Sam was less than a year old when he was put to sleep, and I wonder if this was necessary. I can’t comment as I was not there, but I can give Abbies story on this condition.
I kept a diary for Abbie for 3 years listing each time she had a fit including; possible link to her seasons/ time of day/ what she ate that day/ where she had exercised/ how long for/ length of fit/ recovery time etc…. hoping to find a common factor with no success. I still have this log, now maybe it could be put to good use. I don’t feel that this is the place to put Abbies story so I am going to blog it, (not quite ready yet) I am also going to submit the article to petplan if they wish to publish it in there magazine.

Sam was born at 26-11-2009 and was put to sleep at 14-8-2012. He would never recover from the brain damage he had. That is what the specialist said.




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