Epilepsy Initiative Grants

As part of the AKC Canine Health Foundation's ongoing Epilepsy Initiative, on September 8, 2014 funding was awarded for two significant research projects to better classify disease, understand the underlying mechanisms that predispose dogs to epilepsy, and ultimately introduce new drugs into the canine epilepsy treatment pipeline.

Learn more about the Epilepsy Initiative >>

2131: Neurostimulation: A Groundbreaking New Treatment for Canine Epilepsy

Principle Investigator: Sam Nicholas Long, PhD; University of Melbourne
Grant Amount: $116,000.00

Abstract: Epilepsy is a debilitating condition that affects a large number of dogs, resulting in premature death and distress for their owners.  For many dogs the underlying cause is unknown.  In people, advances in some types of imaging have identified subtle abnormalities, including abnormal development and shrinkage of particular regions in the brain of some people with epilepsy that can be surgically removed to improve the control of seizures.  This project will apply the same advanced techniques to the brains of dogs with epilepsy to determine whether those same abnormalities exist in dogs.  In those dogs in which no abnormalities can be found, this project will investigate a new form of treatment, known as neurostimulation which has been shown to reduce the frequency of seizures dramatically in human clinical trials.  This involves surgically implanting a new, highly sophisticated device called the Brain Radio that can provide controlled electrical stimulation to parts of the brain while simultaneously recording the brain’s activity.  This 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.

2133: Canine Epilepsy: Genetic Variants, Biomarkers, and New Therapies

Principle Investigator: Ned Patterson, DVM, PhD; University of Minnesota
Grant Amount: $104,781.00

Abstract: Epilepsy is a significant seizure disorder affecting all dog breeds. It is the most common chronic nervous system disorder in dogs, with a prevalence of 0.5% - 5.7%, resulting in approximately 2 million affected dogs in the USA. We have assembled a trans-disciplinary team to attempt to improve the fate of dogs that have epilepsy with a special emphasis on dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy. Dog with drug-resistant epilepsy have frequent seizures even when on 2 or more anti-epileptic drugs. The team includes Veterinarians, Canine Geneticists, Pharmacologists, Human Neurologists, Basic Scientists and Biomedical Engineers from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, College of Pharmacy, Institute for Engineering in Medicine, and Departments of Neurology and Surgery, and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Under the guidance of Dr. Ned Patterson, the collaborative group proposes to evaluate traditional DNA genetic markers, blood biomarkers called microRNAs (miRNAs), and potential new drugs for the emergency treatment of seizures in dogs.

In phase 1 of Dr. Patterson’s study he and his team will 1. Identify genetic markers associated with epilepsy in Australian shepherds and Vizslas, and identify markers associated with epileptic dogs that are unresponsive to anti-epileptic drug therapy in order to develop genetic screening tests in phase 2; 2. Document microRNA levels in the blood of dogs with epilepsy in order to develop potential blood markers that vary between epileptic and non-epileptic dogs, and dogs with drug-resistant epilepsy; and 3. Perform initial testing of two new potential drugs for the emergency treatment of canine epilepsy.

Please support these research efforts with a generous donation!

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Epilepsy Initiative Sponsors

Champion Sponsors ($50,000+):

Collie Health Foundation


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

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

Charter 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

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

Alaskan Malamute Club of America
American Belgian Tervuren Club
American Brittany 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

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