Breeding genetic problems; epilepsy etc - Page 4

Pedigree Database


by jillmissal on 14 February 2020 - 11:02

"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?"

Uh, yes, because that's not how epilepsy works. Even if the clinical signs don't present, the dog still has the genetics for it. Just like hip dysplasia. And can pass it on...and on...and on...and we NEVER get rid of it. If I see a breeder saying this kind of thing that is a RED FLAG and no one should ever, ever buy from that person. No dog is so good that a major health problem isn't an eliminator. 

I wish breeders had to be tested and licensed to display a basic understanding of genetics and biology. 

was wondering where the initial 2% figure came from. Maybe Jill can explain where she got that from,


2% is the general accepted likelihood of a human passing epilepsy on to an offspring. So it might not be correct in dogs but at least it's a place to start. 


@ koots one correction regarding petit mal seizures.  A petite mal is not just a lesser version of a grand mal. A petite mal is an absence seizure - staring and blinking are common. If the dog is having spasmodic movements of a limb, usually the same every occurrence, that is a grand mal seizure no matter how mild or dramatic the symptoms. 

by jillmissal on 14 February 2020 - 11:02

Also @koots and others - ideopathic or "unknown cause" epilepsy is thought to have a genetic component. That's why they rule everything else out with MRIs etc. Epilepsy is not a "disease" per se; it's a disorder. The gene(s) responsible have not been identified but the fact that it runs in families definitely has.


by Koots on 14 February 2020 - 11:02


Research groups have described in collaboration a novel myoclonic epilepsy in dogs and identified its genetic cause......As a result, a genetic test was developed for veterinary diagnostics and breeding programs.

A collaborative study describes a novel myoclonic epilepsy syndrome in dogs for the first time and discovers its genetic cause at DIRAS1 gene. The affected dogs developed myoclonic seizures at young age -- on average 6 months old -- and seizures occur typically at rest. In some of the dogs the seizures could be triggered by light.

We screened over 600 Rhodesian Ridgebacks and about 1000 epileptic dogs in other breeds and found that the DIRAS1 defect was specific for juvenile myoclonic epilepsy in Rhodesian Ridgebacks so far, says MSc Sarviaho.

With the help of the genetic test, veterinarians can diagnose this specific epilepsy in their canine patients while breeders will be able to identify carriers and revise the breeding plans to avoid future affected puppies. About 15% of the dogs in the breed carry the DIRAS1 mutation and dogs all over Europe and beyond are affected, says DVM Franziska Wieländer from LMU Munich.

This article is specifically stating Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, but with further study then perhaps genetic links will be found in other breeds, including the GSD.



by jillmissal on 14 February 2020 - 11:02

@koots that's an awesome article.

Regarding the breeding question - I think if a breed's breeding stock is so condensed that breeders must accept genetic diseases to "expand the gene pool" or what have you, that breed is done and should no longer be bred at all.


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