Epilepsy is a general term for neurological conditions that cause seizures. It is among the most common neurological disorders in dogs.  Any breed of dog and mixed-breeds can be affected by epilepsy. Epilepsy can be heritable and some breeds are believed to be predisposed to the condition.

AKC Canine Health Foundation Launches Epilepsy Research Initiative

Epilepsy Grants have been awarded!

Through this major, two-phase initiative, CHF has funded two research grants to better classify the disease, understand the underlying mechanisms that predispose dogs to epilepsy, and ultimately introduce new drugs into the canine epilepsy treatment pipeline. These exciting projects will involve collaborative pre-clinical and clinical research groups that will work together to define the molecular basis of epilepsy and develop disease modification or prevention strategies.

The two grants awarded for phase I of this initiative will provide over $220,000 in epilepsy research. The first study, headed by principal investigator Dr. Sam Nicholas Long, PhD of the University of Melbourne will explore neurostimulation, a groundbreaking new treatment option for canine epilepsy.  This new, highly sophisticated device is one of the very first that could potentially provide successful therapy only when needed to treat imminent seizures and if it proves successful in dogs it will enter clinical trials in people with epilepsy. The second study, headed by principal investigator Dr. Ned Patterson, DVM, PhD of the University of Minnesota, will evaluate traditional DNA genetic markers, blood biomarkers called microRNAs (miRNAs), and potential new drugs for the emergency treatment of seizures in dogs.

Read more about the grants.

A significant investment to make real progress in the fight against epilepsy.

Because little is understood about the causes of idiopathic epilepsy, more work must be done to define the underlying molecular mechanisms that cause the disease.  The life-altering nature of epilepsy is of foremost concern to the AKC Canine Health Foundation and will require a major research effort. We need significant sponsorship from dog clubs as well as donations from individuals and corporations.

The Request for Proposals was written as a two phase effort. The recipient(s) of the Phase I grant(s) will be expected to deliver something demonstrable so that research on epilepsy moves forward in a substantial way.  Collaboration among researchers is required to translate results from bench to bedside as rapidly as possible.

For more information about the impact of our Epilepsy Initiative see the request for proposals released to the research community.

Epilepsy Initiative Sponsors

Champion Epilepsy Initiative Sponsors ($50,000+):

Collie Health Foundation



Lead Epilepsy Initiative Sponsors ($25,000 - $49,999):

Giant Schnauzer Club of America
United States Australian Shepherd Foundation/USASA

Charter Epilepsy Initiative Sponsors ($10,000 - $24,999):

American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club Charitable Trust 
Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute
English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association Foundation
German Shorthaired Pointer Club of America
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America
Keeshond Club of America
Saint Bernard Club of America and Charitable Foundation
Toby's Foundation
Vizsla Club of America & Vizsla Club of America Welfare Foundation

Epilepsy Initiative Sponsors ($2,500 - $9,999):

Alaskan Malamute Club of America
American Belgian Tervuren Club
American Pointer Club
Field Spaniel Society of America
Irish Water Spaniel Club of America
Siberian Husky Club of America

To become a sponsor, contact chfgrants@akcchf.org or download the Epilepsy Initiative flyer and sponsorship form.

Or, make an immediate donation in any amount to the Epilepsy Initiative

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Epilepsy Resources

Understanding Canine Epilepsy, including a downloadable PDF seizure diary

Seizure information from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

What to do if your dog has a seizure

Epilepsy research recently funded by the AKC Canine Health Foundation

American Veterinary Medical Association podcast on epilepsy

EPIL-K9 All Breed Canine Epilepsy List(online discussion group)

Help Future Generations of Dogs

Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.

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