Breeding genetic problems; epilepsy etc - Page 3

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Baerenfangs Erbe

by Baerenfangs Erbe on 13 February 2020 - 11:02

Frankly, if I have an exceptional dog, that has been an overall great producer, with a 2% chance of something popping up, I will not toss that dog out of the gene pool. That is ridiculous. We can't toss every dog out just because of a 2% chance.
If a dog is known to produce consistently Epilepsy, in every single one of his litters, that's a different story. Then I'd toss that dog out. But a 2% chance? Are ya'll for real?


by Koots on 13 February 2020 - 11:02

Where did the 2% come from?

Nans - yes, CBD was tried at first, but it did not prevent or change his seizure frequency. Then the pharma drugs per the vet were started. Now, with an increased doseage of pharma drugs not having any appreciable effect on frequency, we are considering going back to CBD and slowly withdrawing the pharma. It's a matter of doing the least harm for the most benefit. I have access to medical-grade, government-approved supplier, CBD oil.

My dog's seizures have presented both while sleeping, and while awake (not just after waking but full alertness, middle-day times), whereas some dogs just have seizures during sleep stage transition times.   His grand mal seizures result in loss of consciousness and are 'generalized' as described in quote below.   Seizures can present as full-blown grand mal with losing consciousness, or simply as feet 'swimming' during sleep, or variations thereof.

Just to be clear, my dog's epilepsy is from UNKNOWN ORIGIN OR CAUSE and may not be genetic, but the vet could not rule anything out.    I did not find any evidence for genetic link to his ancestors during my research, either before deciding to buy him, or since his episodes have started.    


Below is from this study report:

Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disease in dogs (3). A strong genetic background is suspected in many dog breeds with a high prevalence (4) and several genes have been discovered in both symptomatic and idiopathic epilepsy.

From this article:

Generalized seizures involve both sides of the brain at the onset, and are characterized by clinical signs apparent on both sides of the body. Most generalized seizures manifest as bilateral involuntary muscle movements or sudden losses or increases in muscle tone. During a generalized seizure, an individual’s awareness of the environment is typically impaired, and salivation, urination and/or defecation can occur.

by Nans gsd on 13 February 2020 - 11:02

Koots thanks for the update; am so sorry for you and your dog that he has to go thru this; damn, just does not seem fair. Maybe increase CBD and give at intervals of drops 3-4 times a day or ?? Whatever works, kind of difficult to assess with 10-19 day intervals though. Hope you have success with going back to CBD.


by Koots on 13 February 2020 - 12:02

Thanks, Nans. Not sure if the drugs or seizures have caused this, but he is not the same dog as before his episodes. He is somewhat 'dull' in comparison and less reactive to stimulus, but still enjoys a good quality of life and loves our 7 mos old female - his buddy, lol.

Baerenfangs Erbe

by Baerenfangs Erbe on 13 February 2020 - 13:02

 The discussion was re: epilepsy and whether it was ethical to breed a line that MIGHT have epilepsy genes present. Sure it's "low risk" to breed lines that have produced epileptic dogs but frankly so is breeding a dog with epilepsy. It's unlikely to present clinically in more than a very small percentage of the puppies produced. I could breed my epileptic stud and produce all healthy puppies; it's a roll of the dice with the odds on my side. I think the risk is about 2% but I'm sure all responsible and ethical breeders would agree that it is wrong to breed a dog with a genetic defect. And of course I would never do this.




by Hundmutter on 13 February 2020 - 16:02

Koots, if petit mal can be as little as the dog "swimming its feet while it is sleeping" how the **** can you tell it isn't just dreaming ?  Unless the dog in q. is a known epileptic (ideopathic or otherwise) with either grand mal or other more dramatic seizures also present, there is nothing surely to differentiate that from normal sleep behaviour ?  I don't think I've ever had a dog that did not move in its sleep as tho running, on occasion; and they were certainly not all fitters.


by Koots on 13 February 2020 - 16:02

BE - thanks, seen that, but was wondering where the initial 2% figure came from. Maybe Jill can explain where she got that from, as it seems to be quoted a few times in this thread....

Hund -    from:

Some seizures, however, can be petit mal, in which just a portion of the body experiences a rhythmic, uncontrolled movement, tremor, or behavior (such as fly biting).       All dogs dream, and some manifest dreaming with twitching, paddling, or kicks of their legs. These movements are often brief (lasting less than 30 seconds) and intermittent. Seizing dogs’ limbs, on the other hand, tend to be rigid and stiffer, with more violent movement.       Dogs experiencing a seizure cannot be easily woken, while dreaming dogs can.

I cannot remember my dog having any 'petit mal' episodes, only the grand mal ones.


by Hundmutter on 13 February 2020 - 16:02

Ah, that's helpful; thank you Koots. So there should always be a caution to look for such stiffness, failure to wake easily etc. Just concerned that if some people read this they will assume their dreaming dog is epileptic when it isn't.

by GSCat on 14 February 2020 - 06:02

Koots--thanks for the time you put into your posts(s). Very informative.



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.

Unfortunately, Animal Control where I worked (large urban area) did not have the resources to go around looking for strays or packs.  They had to rely on law enforcement and private citizens to call in.  Then, unless the dog(s) had bitten/attacked someone, the animal(s) had to be contained before they would come out.  If we found a dead dog or other animal, the highway department or public works would be called to remove it, unless a crime (dogfighting, part of a crime scene, etc.) were suspected.  Necropsies only happened in criminal cases, so the incidence of anything present in the stray/dogpack population was actually unknown.  The best data about any diseases/conditions came from shelters and rescue groups, but numbers were lower than actual because they only took live animals.

Over the years, I saw many dogs being eaten by others.  There was a big enough dog pack problem in the area where I worked that people walking alone often carried large sticks for defensive purposes.  The biggest problems we had addressing the stray and dogpack population were lack of manpower to get them contained for Animal Control, natural instincts of stray/dogpacks to avoid/run from people, and the large number of pitbulls let loose/abandoned as a byproduct of breeding for dogfighting and dogfighting, itself,  In better areas, there were more officers and/or they weren't as busy dealing with criminal matters, so there were far fewer strays/packs in those areas.  Plus people in nicer areas tended to call law enforcement/complain to their elected representatives more readily.


Back to the topic at hand, having learned from individuals' situations and links posted in this thread just how bad epilepsy is in dogs, and knowing how epilepsy affects humans, I couldn't ever justify knowingly breed an animal that might pass on epilepsy (or other serious conditions).



by Koots on 14 February 2020 - 09:02

GSCat - you're welcome. I am glad that I can inform people and help them understand how epilepsy can affect the dogs, and the humans who care for them.


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