1845: Molecular Genetic Causes of Canine Epilepsies

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $90,000
Gary S. Johnson, DVM, PhD; University of Missouri, Columbia
July 7, 1999 - July 6, 2001

Sponsor(s): Irish Setter Club of America, Inc., St. Bernard Club of America, Welsh Springer Spaniel Club of America

Breed(s): Irish Setter
Research Program Area: Neurology
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Epilepsy is one of the most common diseases of the nervous system in dogs. The effects of repeated seizures can be devastating physically for the affected dogs and emotionally for the people who care for them. Epilepsy is known to be inherited in several breeds and genetics is thought to play a key role in many others. Differences in the age at the onset of symptoms, the type and severity of seizures, and the responsiveness to therapy suggest that many forms of epilepsy can affect dogs and that mutations in any of a number of different genes may result in canine epilepsy. Although epilepsy is difficult to study in any breed, differences in available family structure make epilepsy more difficult to study in some breeds than in others. We plan to produce DNA marker tests to identify epilepsy carriers in as many breeds as possible; however, we want to focus on the less difficult breeds first. Therefore, we plan to do a preliminary examination of epilepsy in over 50 breeds in the first year of the study. In the second year we will focus on four breeds selected because studies of them are most likely to produce useful DNA markers.


O’Brien, D. P. (2005). Genetic Mapping of Canine Multiple System Degeneration and Ectodermal Dysplasia Loci. Journal of Heredity, 96(7), 727–734. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esi086

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