Title:Genetics of Canine Epilepsy
Epilepsy is the most common neurological disease in dogs and many forms are considered to have a genetic basis. Investigations of true canine epilepsies has revealed genetic associations in some cases, however many remain unexplained. Gene mutations have been described for 2 forms of canine epilepsy, Primary (generalised) Epilepsy, which is the original diagnosed epilepsy itself and secondly Progressive Myoclonic Epilepsy, which are brief shock like jerks of a single muscle or muscle groups, during a myoclonic seizure the dog is usually awake. Nine genes have been described to underlie progressive myoclonic epilepsies in several different dog breeds. The investigations into Genetic Primary Epilepsy (PE) have been less successful, with only one causative gene described. Certain dog breeds and certain lines within in the breeds are predisposed to epilepsy including Australian Shepherds, German Shepherds, Beagles, Boxers, Border collies, Border terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and springer Spaniels. Genetic testing is available and will help with diagnosis of specific epilepsy, the prognosis and also benefits breeders, as they will be able to identify carriers, therefore revise breeding plans to avoid future affected puppies. Many studies of dog breeds with primary Epilepsy have failed to identify specific genes or loci of interest. This suggests that inheritance is complex as it is in human genetic epilepsies. It may involve several genes and be reflective of environmental interactions.