AKC Canine Health Foundation Launches Epilepsy Research Initiative


The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) has taken a major step to better understand epilepsy in dogs with the launch of an Epilepsy Research Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to provide dog owners and the veterinary community with improved methods for preventing and treating epilepsy in dogs.

Epilepsy research has been articulated by dog clubs, owners and veterinarians as an unmet need in the field of canine health. The seizure-related syndromes collectively known as epilepsy represent the most common neurological disorders in dogs. 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.

According to Dr. Shila Nordone, CHF Chief Scientific Officer, “The Initiative aims to fund research grants that will better classify the disease, provide a more thorough understanding of the underlying mechanisms that predispose dogs to epilepsy, and introduce new drugs into the canine epilepsy treatment pipeline.” Dr. Nordone goes on to state, “CHF strives to be responsive to donors, dog owners and the veterinary community and we expect this major, two-phase research effort to have a wide-ranging impact on not only canine epilepsy, but epilepsy in humans as well.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) went out to the research community in March 2014. Proposals are currently under review with funding announcements expected later in 2014. In order to qualify for funding, scientists are expected to deliver tangible outcomes that will help bring an understanding about the causes of epilepsy, as well as identify additional treatment options. Collaboration among researchers is required to translate results from bench to bedside as rapidly as possible.

Dog owners who have been impacted by epilepsy can access free resources on CHF’s website. Understanding Canine Epilepsy is a comprehensive, peer reviewed white paper on the current state of epilepsy research. This valuable resource, which includes a seizure diary, is ideal for pet owners and for veterinarians to distribute to clients. Also available on the CHF website is What to do if Your Dog Has a Seizure, which provides detailed information on what to do during and after your dog has a seizure.

CHF is grateful to the following dog clubs for their support of the Initiative:

Champion Sponsors ($50,000 and over):

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
Keeshond Club of America
Toby's 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

To learn more about how you can support this vital canine health research visit CHF's website.

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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