The AKC Canine Health Foundation Commits $268,000 to Combat Epilepsy and Hypothyroidism in Dogs


The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) today announces the funding of two grants for canine epilepsy and one grant for canine hypothyroidism. These grants, totaling over $268,000 in funding will ultimately equip veterinarians with more effective treatments and researchers with a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that cause these diseases. 

“With input from breed clubs, dog owners and experts in veterinary medicine, canine epilepsy and hypothyroidism were identified as major health concerns that required further study,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, CHF’s Chief Scientific Officer. “One Health is an important criterion for the research funding we award. These health concerns not only impact our dogs, but they impact many dog owners as well.” The National Institute of Health estimates that epilepsy affects 2 million people in the United States and that hypothyroidism affects nearly 4.6% of people in the United States. “By helping our dogs we potentially unlock better treatments for ourselves as well,” said Nordone.


Approximately 30% of all dogs diagnosed with epilepsy are not able to achieve relief from seizures with the current drug therapies available, and current treatment options also carry possible negative side-effects. Dr. Sam Nicholas Long, PhD, University of Melbourne has been awarded a grant for $116,000 and Dr. Ned Patterson, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota has been awarded a grant for $104,781. These researchers aim to better classify the disease, understand the underlying mechanisms that predispose dogs to epilepsy, and introduce new drugs into the canine epilepsy treatment pipeline.


While hypothyroidism is well understood in humans, it is difficult to accurately diagnose in dogs and remains one of the greatest challenges in veterinary medicine. Dr. Jan A. Mol, PhD of the University of Utrecht has been awarded a grant for $48,195 to investigate three methods that may provide a more accurate diagnosis for hypothyroidism than the tests currently available for practitioners. Better diagnostic tools give hope for earlier diagnosis and possibly early intervention to prevent progression of thyroid tissue damage.


In addition to the canine health research funding announced today, CHF has funded more than $600,000 in research grants during 2014. This diverse grant portfolio aims to provide better treatments and more accurate diagnoses for our dogs.

Funding for CHF grants comes from a variety of sources, including corporations, dog clubs and individuals who are committed to our work. Dog lovers are encouraged to make a donation to support canine health research.

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