Research in the fight against canine epilepsy

Linnaeus has joined forces with researchers from the Kennel Club Genetics Centre to conduct a study which aims to identify DNA variants that may increase dogs’ susceptibility to idiopathic epilepsy. For the study Luisa De Risio clinical research and excellence director at Linnaeus and a co-investigator is collaborating with neurology specialists and primary care vets at Linnaeus practices to recruit cases. Luisa said: “Canine idiopathic epilepsy is a disease that is common in many breeds of dog and can significantly impact the quality of life of both affected dogs and their owners. However there is limited knowledge concerning the role of genetic factors in susceptibility to the disease in most breeds.The overarching aim of this large-scale collaborative study is to identify the genetic factors contributing to the risk of developing idiopathic epilepsy as this could help develop tools to lower the incidence of the condition in future generations."

The study is currently focusing on the Border Collie and Italian Spinone breeds, as they can suffer from a particularly severe and life-limiting form of epilepsy, before expanding the study to other breeds next year.

Dr Sally Ricketts, the geneticist leading the study at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre in the Department of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Cambridge, said: “We are very excited about this collaboration, which will facilitate our sample collections to enable study of this debilitating disease.”

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust is delighted to support work such as this at the Kennel Club Genetics Centre, which has a huge impact in our mission of Making a Difference for Dogs.

Image L-R: Christopher Jenkins (Kennel Club Genetics Centre), Sally Ricketts (Kennel Club Genetics Centre), Luisa De Risio (Linnaeus), Jim Johnson (Kennel Club Genetics Centre).

Go back