2614: Refining the Genetic Linkage For Idiopathic Epilepsy in the Belgian Tervuren and Sheepdog

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $43,200
Anita M. Oberbauer, PhD; University of California, Davis
July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2005

Sponsor(s): American Belgian Tervuren Club, Inc., Belgian Sheepdog Club of America, Inc.

Breed(s): Belgian Tervuren, Belgian Sheepdog
Research Program Area: Epilepsy Initiative
Donate to Support this Research Program Area


Idiopathic epilepsy affects over 30 different AKC dog breeds and was identified as the top canine health issue in the 2001 AKC/CHF Parent Club Survey. Preliminary studies in the Belgian Tervuren and Sheepdog indicate that although this is a heritable disorder governed by many genes, there exists a single gene of very large effect on the incidence of epilepsy. The epileptic condition influenced by this particular gene is inherited as an autosomal recessive. Preliminary data in our laboratory, derived from screening the DNA of affected dogs, identified a chromosomal region appearing to be associated with epilepsy. The specific objective of this project is to refine this initial association to a very discrete region of the DNA in order to ultimately develop a genetic marker associated with epilepsy. Such a genetic marker will permit the identification of carriers of epilepsy in Belgian Tervuren and Belgian Sheepdogs, and possibly other breeds, prior to breeding with the end result that breeders can make informed, health-based breeding decisions.


Belanger, J. M., Heinonen, T., Famula, T. R., Mandigers, P. J. J., Leegwater, P. A., Hytönen, M. K., Lohi, H., & Oberbauer, A. M. (2022). Validation of a Chromosome 14 Risk Haplotype for Idiopathic Epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd Dog Found to Be Associated with an Insertion in the RAPGEF5 Gene. Genes, 13(7), 1124. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13071124

Belanger, J. M., Famula, T. R., Gershony, L. C., Palij, M. K., & Oberbauer, A. M. (2020). Genome-wide association analysis of idiopathic epilepsy in the Belgian Shepherd. Canine Medicine and Genetics, 7(1), 12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40575-020-00091-x

Oberbauer, A. M., Belanger, J. M., Grossman, D. I., Regan, K. R., & Famula, T. R. (2010). Genome-wide linkage scan for loci associated with epilepsy in Belgian Shepherd Dogs. BMC Genetics, 11, 35. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2156-11-35

>Seppälä, E. H., Koskinen, L. L. E., Gulløv, C. H., Jokinen, P., Karlskov-Mortensen, P., Bergamasco, L., … Lohi, H. (2012). Identification of a Novel Idiopathic Epilepsy Locus in Belgian Shepherd Dogs. PLoS ONE, 7(3), e33549. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033549

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.

Learn How to Help

Get Canine Health News:
Please leave this field empty
American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, Inc

8051 Arco Corporate Dr.
Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27617

Tax ID# 13-3813813


© 2021 AKC Canine Health Foundation | Privacy Policy | Site Map

Site by Blackbaud, Inc.