Dog Epilepsy Found in Canine Chromosome 37
Posted on May 08, 2012 by WayCoolDogs
United States and European researchers have discovered the novel epilepsy gene for idiopathic epilepsy in Belgian Shepherds, with the findings presented in the PLoS ONE Journal. The findings of the new canine gene will now have a profound impact on the understanding of common epilepsy in humans.
Dogs have 78 chromosomes, humans have 46 chromosomes and cats have 78. The chromosome 37 in dogs provides answers to epilepsy in dogs, the most common neurological canine disorder.
The range of incidences can range from 0.5% to 1% in certain breeds, with just one epilepsy attack in a dog requiring a complete physical and testings. The first seizure in a dog with primary epilepsy usually occurs between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. (Oliver, Seizures)
Dr. Alexander de Lahunta of Cornell University and others suggest that each animal inherits a “genetically determined predisposition to seizures”, and that seizures occur when this threshold is exceeded. (Cunningham, Inherited).
In other words, a physical condition (see examples under section on secondary epilepsy above) which may cause seizures in a low-threshold animal may not cause seizures in a “normal” animal.
According to Science Daily, medical genetics has proved that the dog is unique in the animal species. Research has found the studies provide new insights into human genetic disease, as the canine provides the greatest contribution to medical genetics.
Prior to the Belgian Shepherd genetic findings, the first canine symptomatic epilepsy gene — called NHLRC1 — was found in the Miniature Wirehired Dachshund that presented the “canine Lafora disease.” From then on, testing resulted in canine progressive myoclonus genes that correspond to human syndromes and human NCLs.
The symptoms of epilepsy in dogs are the same, regardless of the type.
- Loses its sense of balance and collapses
- Loses consciousness
- Temporary blindness
- Chomps or chews
- Froths profusely from its mouth
- Pees and poops (urinates and defecates)
- Makes unusual vocal sounds
- Paddles the air rhythmically with stiff limbs
- The seizure usually lasts less than 2 minutes, although they can last longer
- Seizures are more common during periods of sleep or rest, such as during the night or early in the morning
- Untreated seizures will increase in severity
- Dogs with an epileptic parent are considered high risk
- Cunningham, James G. DVM Ph.D. and George C. Farnbach VMD Ph.D.: Inheritance and Idiopathic Canine Epilepsy. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, February 1987, pp. 421-424.
- Oliver John E. Jr., Michael D. Lorenz: Chapter 14, Seizures and Narcolepsy. Handbook of Veterinary Neurology, 2nd edition, W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia, PA, 1993.
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