Breeding genetic problems; epilepsy etc - Page 2

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by GSCat on 11 February 2020 - 21:02

I've had many up-close-and-personal expereinces with strays and packs, and found strays don't last long if they have serious illnesses/physical problems. If a member of a pack is weak, other(s) will take advantage when the weak dog is weakest/most helpless. Ditto for packs versus a lone dog. They do eat one another, especially when food is scarce, which is one (but not the only) reason why most roving packs have larger dogs and no small dogs.

Other than illnesses/conditions/etc. caused/precipitated by something present or absent in the environment, most pack dogs are actually reasonably healthy, although their lifespan is shorter because of environmental hazards (cars, buses, heat, cold, packs of dogs, fleas, antifreeze, etc.) that responsible animal owners protect their animals from (or at least try to).

If one wants to study a particular genetic disease/condition in dogs, the only ways to do so are to deliberately breed for it, seek out dogs that have it, or create a knock-out dog (like knock-out mice)

Articles about knockout dogs

Here's how they create knockout mice (KOM) for research



by Koots on 11 February 2020 - 23:02

Charlie - sorry, but I think your arguments about strays are far-reaching at best. GSCat's accounts are far more realistic and support the case studies which select animals with the condition for genetic testing.

by jillmissal on 12 February 2020 - 09:02

@koots - gotcha, I'm assuming you didn't do an MRI then. Thanks to insurance I was able to have one done on my dog, and no abnormalities were detected, hence his diagnosis. Brain tumour-related seizures have distinctive characteristics and I'm assuming your veterinarian would have discussed this with you. Anyway I hope your dog is able to live a good long life regardless.

Re: the other theories re: toxins etc; there's simply no evidentiary support to such statements.


by Koots on 12 February 2020 - 10:02

Jill - I live in the sticks of BC and the closest MRI is 4 hrs away in WA state, not that it would make any difference in treatment even if we did know. As of now, he has not displayed any of the other tell-tale signs of brain tumour that the vet mentioned, so we will just carry on with his meds and treat him as a (spoiled, lol) house dog.

by GSCat on 12 February 2020 - 15:02

Things in the environment can cause dog seizures, although whether or not they're epileptic seizures or not is another issue.

ASPCA Pro lists the following that can cause seizure (specific type not listed):


Canine-seizures notes that after toxin exposure stops, the seizures stop

Exposure can continue if the dog's body takes a long time to rid itself of the substance

According to PetMD, "Dog seizures can be caused by trauma, exposure to toxins, brain tumors, genetic abnormalities, issues with the dog’s blood or organs, or a number of other reasons. Other times, seizures may sometimes occur for unknown reasons – called idiopathic."

Some issues with blood, organs, diseases, etc. that can/do cause seizures are also genetic, so those seizures would also be genetically linked. Diabetes is a one example.



by charlie319 on 12 February 2020 - 22:02

Maybe in the sticks the dogs eat each other... In cities or where population centers are 10 to 25 miles apart, there are plenty of opportunities for dogs to eat without hunting. These are the municipalities where, if it were anything other than a freakish minority of instances (2% is statistical freak territory), animal control workers would notice. Having said that, I'll leave this to those of you that seem so well versed on it.

by jillmissal on 13 February 2020 - 09:02

charlie I don't think you understand epilepsy well. It's not like the dogs are seizing every hour. It is sometimes months or years between seizures and many dogs have seizures that present in ways that might not be noticed or even seen. Even a grand mal only lasts a few minutes. The likelihood of a shelter worker seeing a seizure in an epileptic dog is very low.

2% is not, in fact "statistical freak territory." It's very statistically significant, in fact.


by Koots on 13 February 2020 - 09:02

These are typical of what I see with my dog's grand mal episodes.  With the second dog, you can see the dog staring at nothing just prior to the full seizure - I have witnessed this many times and recognize it as a pre-curser.  All you can do when your dog is seizing, or about to have a seizure, is to ensure they are in an area where they will not hurt themselves when they are convulsing.   When seizing, my dog loses consciousness, just like the dogs in these vids.   When going through it, and especially when recovering, I stroke his side and calmly talk to my dog to reassure him when he's regaining consciousness and until he's able to stand up safely (steady legs) and walk around.

My dog's seizures are usually 10-19 days apart, but sometimes he has 2 or more within 2-3 days.   

by Nans gsd on 13 February 2020 - 10:02

Was curious if anyone has tried CBD for these seizure dogs? Has it helped with severity or frequency of episodes? Side effects of CBD are so much less risky than other seizure meds and can actually be helpful sometimes to dogs. Just a thought... Nan

by Hired Dog on 13 February 2020 - 11:02

I had to put my dog down at the age of 2 for seizures. He started having them around 22 months of age and regardless of what medication he was put on, he kept having them.
Of course I had to retire him before he even started working, but, I did not mind it, as long as he was happy and enjoyed life.
Unfortunately, unlike other dogs I have heard of, he became very violent during a seizure, he tried to lash out and bite anything and anyone around him, thankfully, he was in his crate when he had them.
Having small kids around at that time who loved him and he loved them, I could not take the risk of him hurting anyone badly while having a seizure and he was put down at the age of 2 like I mentioned above.

This was my first and last experience with a dog having seizures, the first time I heard a dog thrash around in his crate, trying to fight something he could not see or understand, all the while the disease trying to overwhelm him while he screamed for the majority of the time. It is worth noting two events that took place during the episodes. First, he would go blind, he would not recognize me or anyone else in the house that he knew and he would try to attack everyone he could hear.
Second, the seizures only happened while he was resting or sleeping, never while he was awake.
The meds and the disease did make him a different dog, he was not as happy or as excitable or "aware" even as he was before. It has been 5 years since I have owned a personal dog, I did not want to take a chance with another one because of what I saw my dog go through. It is only in the last few months that I have become open to giving another puppy a chance and I may have one in May, if things go well.


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