Is Epilepsy in Dogs Still Breed-related?

October 15, 2016
American Veterinarian Editorial Staff

Edward MacKillop DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), veterinary neurologist and neurosurgeon at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center (PVSEC), discusses epilepsy in dogs.

Edward MacKillop DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), veterinary neurologist and neurosurgeon at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center (PVSEC), discusses epilepsy in dogs.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“We see epilepsy more commonly in purebred animals because they tend to have a genetic bottleneck, but we will see it in mixed breed animals [and] we certainly see it in cats that are outbred. There is a big breed predisposition, but we can certainly see it in any animal, particularly in young animals. There have been some breakthroughs in terms of the actual cause for epilepsy. A gene mutation has been identified in the Lagotto romagnolo where we have identified a juvenile form of epilepsy. [We have identified the gene for] progressive myoclonic epilepsy in Wirehaired Dachshunds. Unfortunately, with most other breeds, we have not identified the actual gene, the mode of inheritance is typically a recessive trait.”