03255-MOU: Clinical Characteristics and Heritability of Idiopathic Epilepsy in the Otterhound Breed: A Survey-based Study

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $6,140
Karen Muñana, DVM, MS; North Carolina State University
May 1, 2024 - April 30, 2025

Sponsor(s): Otterhound Club of America, Inc.

Breed(s): Otterhound
Research Program Area: Epilepsy Initiative
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One Health: No


Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder in dogs. Over half of all dogs with epilepsy are diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy, a clinical syndrome characterized by recurrent seizures for which there is no underlying cause other than a presumed genetic predisposition. An inherited basis for idiopathic epilepsy has been established in over 25 dog breeds. Numerous other breeds are presumed to have a genetic predisposition to epilepsy but lack confirmatory studies. Idiopathic epilepsy is considered a serious health problem within the Otterhound breed; however, there are no published reports documenting this. 

 This study aims to evaluate the prevalence, clinical characteristics, and heritability of epilepsy in the Otterhound breed. The investigators hypothesize that Otterhounds are predisposed to idiopathic epilepsy, with a breed prevalence >2% and a demonstrated heritability on pedigree analysis. Data will be obtained through email surveys distributed to past and current Otterhound owners. An initial survey will be sent to all owners of AKC registered Otterhounds asking about the presence of seizures in their dog, and a second, more detailed survey and request for medical records sent to individuals who respond affirmatively. Existing databases will be utilized to guide survey distribution and facilitate pedigree analysis. The information gained from this study will assist veterinarians in the management of idiopathic epilepsy in Otterhounds and lay the groundwork for future studies into the genetics of the disorder, with the hope of identifying a genetic marker that can be used to screen for idiopathic epilepsy in Otterhounds.


Funding for the research is provided through the collaborative efforts and generosity of the Otterhound Club of America, Inc. The AKC Canine Health Foundation supports the funding of this effort and will oversee grant administration and scientific progress. 



None at this time

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