AKC Canine Health Foundation has launched a major research effort concerning epilepsy in dogs. For more information see: http://www.akcchf.org/canine-health/top-health-concerns/epilepsy .

Active Research Studies

Study 1: Epilepsy study in Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs - Dr. Leigh Anne Clark, Department of Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia is the primary investigator of this study.

Epilepsy is a major health concern of Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs and has been a primary focus of canine genetics research; however, no genetic studies have been conducted to understand the genetic basis of epilepsy specifically in these breeds.

DNA samples from affected Shelties and affected or unaffected Collies are needed. The unaffected Collies must be 8 years or older, have never had a seizure, and have no known relatives affected with epilepsy.

Affected dogs must be diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy by a veterinarian.

FedEx shipping expenses will be covered and participation in the study is confidential. For more details, please contact Lizzie Greif at egreif@g.clemson.edu .

Study 2:  Is gut dysbiosis associated with canine idiopathic epilepsy? – Dr. Karen Muñana and the Companion Animal Epilepsy program at NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Karen Muñana and the Companion Animal Epilepsy program have a study underway to evaluate the gut microbiome in dogs with idiopathic epilepsy. The study’s aim is to determine whether dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have shifts in the gastrointestinal environment that may influence disease course. The investigators hypothesize that dogs with idiopathic epilepsy have alterations in the gut microbial population that are associated with epilepsy development and outcome. The study aims to recruit 100 pairs of dogs, consisting of an epileptic dog that is either not on antiseizure medication or is being treated with phenobarbital alone, and an unaffected dog from the same household. All breeds of dogs are eligible for the study.

Owners can participate from home and recruitment is ongoing.

For more information, please see the following links:

https://www.akcchf.org/research/participate-in-research/Is-Gut-dysbiosis-associated-with-canine-idiopathic-epilepsy-1.html  or obtain the study flier - https://cvm.ncsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019-3-Munana-flyer-2-1-19.pdf

Or, contact Julie Nettifee at 919-513-6812 or janettif@ncsu.edu  .

This study is sponsored by the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation - CHF Grant 02561:

Study 3: The Canine Epilepsy Research Consortium (also known as the Canine Epilepsy Network) is a group of scientists who have agreed to collaborate in research efforts to identify epilepsy-causing genetic mutations in dogs. If you have a Sheltie with epilepsy, you can provide DNA samples of the affected dog and its relatives. Participation by dog owners is essential for the success of the research. To learn more about the canine epilepsy research and how to participate, go to: www.canine-epilepsy.net/basics/basics_index.html and click on “Canine Epilepsy Project”. Please note: Although the “Progress to Date” section gives the numbers as of October 31, 2013, the work is STILL active. The information just has just not been updated since then. Owners wishing to submit blood samples from Shelties for this project may be eligible for prepaid shipping labels courtesy of the ASSA Foundation. To request a prepaid label, contact Liz Hansen, Laboratory Coordinator, at the University of Missouri: HansenL@missouri.edu , 573-884-3712, or regular mail (321 Connaway Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211).

The Canine Epilepsy Network is an excellent website with understandable information about epilepsy, its causes, treatments, and living with epileptic dogs. After accessing the main page, click on “Canine Epilepsy Basics”.