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by Mackenzie on 10 February 2023 - 04:02
By following the dogs from the Vondaun breeding I was able to find all of the worst carriers. There is no reason why you should feel stupid any more because it takes experience and time.
Also, many of todays experienced breeders would have difficulty in finding the carriers.
by Jordan E on 11 February 2023 - 22:02
Thank you for sharing your findings with me, Mackenzie. I guess what you found through the Vondaun breeding makes sense as my female's sire (Stone River Vf Sprague's Stone Master) is, supposedly, connected to multiple cases of epilepsy in his progeny—I left a note about this on his pedigree.
I am curious what your workflow is in finding these links between carriers and the pedigree of another dog. Do you simply look at the pedigree of one dog and the progeny of the known carriers, then identify where they connect? If so, that sounds time consuming! Perhaps that should be (is?) explained elsewhere, but I thought I would ask since it would be beneficial for me to know when I do my own research into a dog's pedigree.
As for my feelings regarding the past, yeah I would agree with you as there isn't much use in dwelling on what can’t be changed. It’s more important to learn from my mistakes—which I think I’m well on my way in doing. I just don’t want to give myself an easy "out” as there is still a lot more I can learn, and the way I see it those feelings are a reminder of that.
by jillmissal on 13 February 2023 - 02:02
by Kory von bad boll damour on 13 February 2023 - 14:02
Hello, I lost my German shepherd on December 11. I did not find any other solution at 3 am than to call an emergency veterinarian, he decided to euthanize Kory, who had just turned 11. Kory was lost I held him because he bumped against the lurs. was trying to hide. he had had 7 seizures in one day. crises started in July 2022. never before. I am happy to be able to discuss this subject. because I don't understand what happened to him. and I am desperate to have been forced to euthanize my darling of love.
by Jordan E on 13 February 2023 - 19:02
by jillmissal on 13 February 2023 - 02:02
Just to be aware, it's not possible to identify "carriers" via pedigree. There's no way to do this. It might be meaningful, it probably is not. The presence of a dog in the pedigree of multiple dogs with epilepsy might be significant or it might be coincidence. This is not possible to ascertain which is why we cannot test for epilepsy.
I am aware of that being the case. Though reading my post again I can see why I left that impression—communicating clearly and effectively has never been a strength of mine. I merely thought it was interesting that there is a connection.
As you said, the connection simply could be a coincidence. Unless I could identify generation-by-generation a known carrier (i.e., a dog that produces epileptic progeny) between one dog and another, I can't make any definitive conclusions simply from a pedigree. It's entirely possible that the potential to produce epileptic progeny, let's say in my dog's sire, originated in the sire himself.
by Mackenzie on 14 February 2023 - 09:02
There is an interesting book by Malcolm Willis B.sc Ph.d named the "German Shepherd Its history, development and genetics in which he covers epilepsy from the genetic point of view. Malcolm Willis was a geneticist.
by Marilyn on 18 March 2023 - 12:03
Hi guys. Sorry it has taken so long for me to post the article I wrote on Epilepsy for the GSD Breed Council magazine.
"I feel that I need to point out that contrary to popular belief, we are still getting German Shepherd Dogs coming through with Idiopathic Epilepsy with none of the known usual suspects anywhere in their pedigree. I personally find this quite concerning as obviously there are unknown dogs and bitches out there whose breeders are aware of the stigma around Idiopathic Epilepsy and would still rather bury their head in the sand and not disclose the fact.
The above makes it very hard for breeders to do diligent research prior to breeding as they can only use the facts that are out there when they are researching which dogs to breed to which bitch for the betterment of the breed. The fact that dogs and bitches are being mated from different countries certainly does not help as some of them are from totally unknown lines to a breeder in another country, so I sent an email to the SV querying if there were any known fitters or carriers in Germany.
Below is the astounding lack of information on this topic reply I received from the SV.
On Fri, 31 Jul 2020 at 13:39, SV-HG, Leib Sabine wrote:
Dear Marylin, First I would like to apologize for my late response.
As we don’t have this information of file we contacted the Gießen University, Dr. Tellhelm.
Dr. Tellhelm recommends you to contact the Hannover University, Dr. Tipold: email@example.com Her key activity is epilepsy and possibly her studies concern also the German Shepherd Dog. I hope I have been able to help you. Best regards Sabine Verein für Deutsche Schäferhunde (SV) e.V. - Hauptgeschäftsstelle – Sachbearbeiterin: Sabine Leib Tel.: (0821) 74 00 2 - 59 Fax: (0821) 74 00 2 - 9959 Internet: www.schaeferhunde.de E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
My reply to Sabine. 01/08/2020, 20:45
Hi Sabine Thank you for your reply.
I emailed you first as I thought this would have been information held by the SV along with hip, elbows and koerung rating. I have emailed Dr. Tipold with my query.
To: "email@example.com" Cc: Sent: Fri, 31 Jul 2020 at 13:58 Subject: Idiopathic Epilepsy in the German Shepherd Dog.
Hi I was wondering what research has been done on Idiopathic Epilepsy in the German Shepherd Dog in Germany.
I have a 3 1/2 year old GSD which was diagnosed with this in April 2020. He is mainly European breeding and none of the English dogs used have any trace of fitters or carriers.
I know the SV class epilepsy as not hereditary but more a structural problem, but I feel that these dogs should be made known, as the unsuspecting buyer is paying hard earned money for a dog which could turn out to be a ticking time bomb. The dog is not always purchased as a commodity or show dog but some are purchased as a family pet. It is both unfair to sell from dogs known to have problems, and for them to just disappear from the show scene. That might be one way of breeders dealing with the problem but what about the progeny of those dogs?
It is known that some dogs in the German lines do carry epilepsy. They are being sold worldwide and being used as breeding stock after the breeders have usually done a lot of pedigree research and got these dogs under the illusion that they are not carrying some horrendous genetic health issues.
Hoping you can assist me
Regards Marilyn Roberts
To which Dr Tipold replied on 22/10/2020, 17:21
Dear Mrs Roberts, Thank you for your mail and inquiry. I regret that you have a dog with seizures – this is such an awful disease and I hope treatment is succesful in your dog.
There are no new papers on epilepsy and german sheperds in Germany regarding genetics. However, most breeding clubs keep their files and look for lines with a high incidence of dogs with seizures. You could ask Prof. Distl, if he is collecting data for this specific breed in germany.
I send you an abstract from a thesis from Munich examining the occurrence of status epilepticus in Germany – German shepherds had a higher risk to develop status epilepticus. A similar study was later performed in the UK and german shepherds had a high risk to also develop Cluster seizures in the UK. But as I understand you, you want to have breeding lines with confirmed idiopathic epilepsy in Germany. I am so sorry but I do not have such data.
Keeping the fingers crossed that your dog is doing well.
Yours sincerely Andrea Tipold
I replied to the above email on 22/10/2020, 17:40
Dear Andrea Many thanks for your very welcome reply.
Sadly idiopathic epilepsy appears to be quite prevalent in the German Shepherd Dog worldwide and I strongly feel that at the moment, a minority of breeders are more concerned about the money they make rather than the welfare of the breed. If diligent breeders are not aware of which dogs or bitches to avoid in matings it becomes very much a buyer beware situation. My epi-lad's pedigree is quarter english, 1/4 east european and half west german. It has been looked at twice by the UK Breed Council. Once before the mating which showed nothing sinister lurking in his sire or dam's pedigree and again after he was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy.
I was astounded when the SV advised me they do not record such information and hold it on file. It was the SV that gave me your email address.
All it means is if a breeder comes across epilepsy in their line the just have to pull the dog or bitch out of the gene pool and nobody will be any the wiser. Thank you for the information you have sent me. It can certainly go in with the rest of my lad's paperwork.
At the minute his neuro is finding him challenging regarding medication.
After my emailing the SV with a query regarding Idiopathic Epilepsy and carriers, I have come to realise that we seem to have lost sight of the fact that a top winning dog or bitch can still have hidden genetic issues from way back in their pedigree. Their answer completely stunned me as they do not appear to have done any research into their dogs or do not appear to record or monitor any fitters or carriers so they have no knowledge which lines carry Idiopathic Epilepsy, if any. I feel that this is being very small minded as we must not forget that behind all the old known British carriers are German dogs. Take the British dogs out of the equation for a moment, and contemplate on the fact that the German ancestors of those British dogs would surely have also been mated to other German and European dogs leaving their legacy in the breeding in those countries as well. Dwell for a moment on the implications of those actions.
What is Epilepsy? Seizures can have many causes but if no underlying injury, disease or infection is found and a dog is between 1 and 4 years of age it is diagnosed as Idiopathic Epilepsy. Seizures are caused by random electrical over-activity of a given part of the brain which causes spontaneous muscle activity which can be mild twitches or generalised whole body seizures, sometimes called convulsions or fits. It is a common disease of German Shepherd Dogs worldwide, not just generic to the English bred dogs as popularly believed. Unfortunately it is quite hard to trace back on the pedigree as some less diligent breeders will not let it be known that there a seizing dogs in there breeding as it will damage their dogs reputation therefore affect their worth in breeding. Patterson (2007) suggested that most canine idiopathic epilepsy has a genetic basis. It is recognised in many pedigree dog breeds, and the mode of inheritance has been determined in some breeds - but not in GSDs. However, it has been shown to be hereditary in GSDs with males more likely to be affected (Falco et al 1974). It is probable that Idiopathic Epilepsy in GSDs is a polygenic disorder meaning that more than one gene is involved. Unfortunately, at present there is no method for detecting carriers of the disease (who may show no signs of the condition itself but who are capable of passing the disease on to their offspring) or which puppies are likely to develop the condition later in life. It may not be easy to eliminate this disease as there is no genetic test to identify carriers or affected animals and it may not become apparent until after breeding age. As with other complex, possibly polygenic disorders in which the genetic basis is not clearly understood, the best current advice is to try and decrease the incidence of this condition by undertaking depth and breadth pedigree analysis (that is, checking for records of incidence of the disease in ancestors and relatives) prior to breeding (Patterson 2007, Bell 2010) and breeding only from individuals which this analysis indicates have the most healthy pedigree.
Surely, for this we need all breeders to notify their countries breed governing bodies of afflicted dogs so that the information can be recorded and released into the public forum, so potential breeders will be more aware of which bloodlines are safe to use. Unfortunately this important information is not freely available to date. This information would be so beneficial on several levels. Most importantly it would produce healthy seizure free dogs with no risk of passing seizures on to their offspring. Also, it would stop the heartache and lifetime expense for potential owners, which can work out to thousands of pounds per year. At the moment, if the usual suspects don't show up behind a know afflicted pup, it is very much a buyer beware situation.
If you haven't seen a dog seizing, it is a very frightening experience and with a Status Epilepticus episode which can go on for hours, the uncertainty if the dog will ever come out of it and if they do, what the baseline will eventually be. It is very much a daunting position to be in.
Currently research is still ongoing to try and determine the precise genetic basis of Idiopathic Epilepsy in various breeds, including the GSD. To complete this research, we need notification of all the afflicted dogs and bitches as they are diagnosed.
EMERGENCY CARE FOR CANINE SEIZURES By Joanne Carson, Ph. D.
Cluster seizures is more than one seizure in a 24 hour period. Two seizures in a 24 hour period are "cluster seizures" according to Dr. William Thomas, a board certified neurologist. Because cluster seizures are so dangerous and can cause brain damage, or worse, there is the rectal and oral valium protocol which has the ability of stopping cluster seizures and limiting it to the one original seizure. To be most effective, it is necessary to use both the liquid and oral valium/diazepam. It is important to give a dose of liquid valium as soon as possible after a seizure. Many people administer the rectal valium while the dog is seizing, and run to get it when they are sure the dog will not harm himself during the seizure. It is important to use both rectal and oral valium so you should have your veterinarian read the published information about the rectal and oral valium protocol.
Click on the following link to request the complete valium protocol which consists of 8 separate e-mails: Click Here to request the Valium Protocol NOTE: If you have NOT received eight (8) separate emails containing the Valium Protocol within three days of sending your request, please write again - emails do get lost in "cyberspace" from time to time!!! If your veterinarian is reluctant to prescribe that, then it may be time to think about finding a veterinarian who is more willing to work with you. Please ask your veterinarian for rectal and oral valium to have at home just in case your pup clusters or goes into status. Status is life threatening and liquid injectable valium should stop status. It may save you a trip to the ER, and can possibly save your pup's life by not having to wait for the ER to stop the seizures.
CAUTIONS: If cluster seizures will not stop you need to get emergency attention. Please remember that in the ER, if seizures continue, you could suggest using an IV valium drip (valium given intravenously), or even the mild anesthetic PROPOFOL, which is recommended for epi's to keep them sedated to break the cluster cycle. This anesthetic is the safest for epi's. Pentabarbitol is not recommended as an anesthetic for dogs with epilepsy.
After a severe seizure, you should always check your pups gums. If they are pale or white you need to get to an ER immediately. This could be pulmonary edema which is liquid filling up the lungs. This is very dangerous and you need to keep them sitting up, even if you have to hold them up, until you get to the ER. And, since seizing raises the body temperature and high body temperatures can lead to brain damage, please be sure to keep your pup cool during a seizure. You can sponge the dog with a washcloth dipped in lukewarm water, soaking the fur, especially on the tummy, throat and head. If the air temperature is particularly hot, you might want to lightly fan the dog to aid cooling. This will cause the body to cool - but never, ever throw cold water on a dog or submerge a dog in water - doing so can cause a dog or person to go into shock and make a bad situation worse.
Please note that as soon as your pup can safely swallow, a SMALL amount of Hãagen Dazs vanilla ice cream helps to raise the blood sugar level and could stop or slow the pacing and possibly preventing more seizures. The reason for using ice cream is that the fat holds the sugar in suspension so that the sugar doesn't hit the system all at once and cause a rebound reaction. The reason for Hãagen Dazs is that it has no preservatives (which are not good for dogs with epilepsy) and it is all natural. The recommendation for ice cream is "Less is More," so for little pups, 1 teaspoon of ice cream is recommended, medium pups can have 2 teaspoons, big pups get 1 tablespoon, and for very large pups, 2 tablespoons is adequate. If you do not have the Hãagen Dazs ice cream on hand, there is a good substitute.
Please mix, very well, 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter (1/2 and 1/2) and put it into a small container that you can also carry where ever you go, if need be. For small dogs under 15 - 20 lb, make sure you don't give them more than 1 teaspoon of the mixture after a seizure, and for large dogs, not more than 2 tablespoons. You can always give another 1 teaspoon in 20 minutes if you think it is helping, but use caution in giving more.
A seizure to your pup is equal to your running the Boston Marathon. It is exhausting and s/he needs to replace lost energy. Again, after your pup can safely swallow, feed him/her a full meal being careful to only give a few pieces of kibble or small amounts of home cooking at a time. Please give your pup foods that are higher in carbohydrates. The reason for giving only very small amounts in one bite is that after a seizure, pups are starving and can inhale their food. This can cause aspiration pneumonia, which needs immediate Emergency Room attention. If your pup is coughing constantly and you suspect aspiration pneumonia, you need to get him or her medical attention immediately as aspiration pneumonia can be life threatening.
Sometimes you can feed small amounts by hand but if your pup cannot distinguish between your fingers and the food, put little amounts in a bowl at a time. Then you will want to give small amounts every hour or two to keep the blood sugar level up.
Do not worry about weight gain; seizures burn up a lot of calories. Also, some people add Rescue Remedy (RR) to the ice cream, or give it alone. Many people have discovered that this flower essence has helped to calm their dogs in situations of panic and hyperactivity, or just before or after a seizure. On a seizing dog, a few drops of Rescue Remedy can be rubbed onto the ear flap and top of the head and also a few drops onto the gums, not into the mouth. When the seizure is over and the dog has recovered enough to stand up a little, ice cream can be offered with RR on it. When the pup is recuperated enough to eat something solid, many people follow up with some food, as noted above, to keep the blood sugar stable. RR can be purchased at health food stores, and most GNC stores carry it. You can read more about and purchase RR and Bach Flower essences at the following sites: http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/rescue_remedy.htm and http://www.rainbowcrystal.com/bach/bfr/rr.html
Also, we have found that some pups get an upset stomach and gas after a seizure and this is easy to spot. They will be lying down and then suddenly get up and possibly dart about. It is the gas pain that causes the sudden movement. If you see this, you could try some Mylanta Gas or Gas-X or BeanO; any kind of gas reliever safe for use in dogs will help. A good selection to try is Mylicon Drops which is a gentle, liquid form of Mylanta that is manufactured for use in infants. If it is in tablet form, crush it up with the back of a spoon in a bowl and then mix it with something your pup will eat. Most of the time you will have nothing more than cluster seizures to deal with.
These cautions are to help you be more knowledgeable since the more information you have, the less you will worry....
Also, here is something that can help snap a dog out of a seizure more quickly - it may help your pup, so please make the necessary preparations to have on hand, so that you can help your pup the next time s/he seizes.
All of us know that helpless feeling when our pup goes into a seizure. Besides protecting our pup from harm during the seizure, and getting post-seizure medications ready, there seems little else we can do but wait for the seizure to end.
There is some exciting news, however, about a new technique that has recently been published in a prestigious veterinary journal. This technique may be able to help you shorten or even abort (stop before it begins) your pup's seizure, and may even help reduce the amount of post-ictal recovery time, and to return your pup to full functioning more quickly. The technique was tested both in an ER and a regular veterinary hospital as well as by people in their own homes, on 51 epileptic dogs. In all 51 cases, the technique either aborted or shortened the usual duration of the seizure, and in many cases, the post-ictal recovery time was also shortened. These results were published in an article by H. C. Gurney, DVM, and Janice Gurney, B.S., M.A. The article is entitled, "A Simple, Effective Technique for Arresting Canine Epileptic Seizures." It appeared in The Journal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, in the January-March 2004 issue, pages 17-18. Probably the most exciting part of this discovery is that the technique is not in any way harmful to your pup, and it does not involve giving extra medications. It is as simple as applying a bag of ice to the lower-midsection of your pup's back, and holding the bag firmly in position until the seizure ends. The exact area on the back is between the 10th thoracic (chest) and 4th lumbar (lower back) vertebrae (bones in the spine); what this means is that the top of the ice bag should rest just above the middle of your pup's back, following along the spine, and drape down to the lower-midsection of the back. To see a very good diagram of where the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae meet on a dog's spine, go to: http://www.takingthelead.co.uk/3/Anatomy/skelton.htm Look for numbers 13 and 14 on the diagram. Number 13 on the diagram is the13th thoracic (chest) vertebrae (there are 13 total); count back toward the head to number 10: that is your start point for the ice bag. Number 14 on the diagram is the 1st lumbar (lower back) vertebrae (there are 7 total); count toward the tail to number 4: that is your end point for the ice bag. With a properly sized ice bag, you should not have to worry about being too exact: aim for the middle of the back, and the correct area will be covered.
Application of ice to other areas of the body (head, neck, legs and other areas of the spine) was not found to be effective. Ice bags on the middle of the back was the only area found to work. The article reports that the sooner the ice is applied, the better the results. So you should have the ice ready and prepared: if you have a small dog, fill a small-sized (quart) Ziploc freezer bag with cubed or crushed ice and keep it in a particular spot in your freezer. If you have a large dog, use a large-sized (gallon) bag. You can also freeze water into a block in the bag. When you hear or see a seizure begin, run for the ice or, if you live with another person, have one person run for the ice while the other runs to help the pup. Place the ice bag in the lower midsection of your pup's back and hold it there firmly until the seizure stops. If this technique works as reported, your pup's seizure should not be as long as usual and you may also see an improvement in the duration of the post-ictal period. The article reports that people who tried using a bag of frozen vegetables instead of ice had less success than those who used ice, so keep a bag of ice at the ready.
The article also indicated that dogs with cluster seizures are a special case and may need their usual protocols after the seizure, so if your pup has cluster seizures, follow your veterinarian's instructions for using valium. And, the article does not discuss using ice after a seizure, only during the seizure itself and also states that you remove the ice the minute the seizure is over. If you can get to an ice bag during a seizure, you might be able better to assess if this will work for your pup or not. During a seizure, most dogs should not be distracted by the ice. We are very excited about this discovery, and would be so pleased if it turns out to be as effective as reported. If you decide to use this technique on your pup, please let us know how it turned out: was it successful or not? We are seeking permission to add this article to the information on our website, and we would like at that time to be able to add testimonies from those who have used it, and whether or not they found it effective. If it is effective, it will be a godsend to many of us who now feel we can do nothing for our pups but comfort them until a seizure ends.
Again, since seizing raises the body temperature, and since high body temperatures can lead to brain damage, please be sure to keep your pup cool during a seizure. You can sponge the dog with a washcloth dipped in lukewarm water, soaking the fur, especially on the tummy, throat and head. This will cause the body to cool - but never, ever throw cold water on a dog - doing so can cause a dog or person to go into shock and make a bad situation worse.
After a severe seizure, you should always check your pup's gums. If they are light pink or pale or white you need to get to an ER immediately. This could be pulmonary edema which is liquid filling up the lungs. This is very dangerous and you need to keep your dog sitting up, even if you have to hold him or her up, until you get to the ER. You need to keep his/her head well above the chest so the dog does not drown. This is a dangerous situation in which the seizure has disrupted the natural ability to clear the lungs. After a seizure, you need to feed one-half of a normal-sized meal to raise the dog's blood sugar levels. Put only small amounts (a teaspoon) of food in his or her bowl or feed your dog by hand. The reason for giving only very small amounts in one bite at a time is that after a seizure, dogs may feel as if they are starving and can easily inhale their food which can cause aspiration pneumonia. Aspiration pneumonia is a very dangerous situation and can quickly become life threatening. If your dog begins to cough and seems to be trying to clear his or her throat (airway), you need to get your dog to an animal emergency room immediately! References: W. Jean Dodds, DVM Raymond Peat, Ph.D."
by Sunsilver on 19 March 2023 - 13:03
Sadly idiopathic epilepsy appears to be quite prevalent in the German Shepherd Dog worldwide and I strongly feel that at the moment, a minority of breeders are more concerned about the money they make rather than the welfare of the breed. If diligent breeders are not aware of which dogs or bitches to avoid in matings it becomes very much a buyer beware situation
I was astounded when the SV advised me they do not record such information and hold it on file. It was the SV that gave me your email address.
OFA doesn't record this information either! THIS is why we need to get the German Shepherd Dog Breed Betterment Registry up and running again!!
I've contacted Marjorie about this, and it looks like it MIGHT be possible. She has contacted the webmaster, and it seems he has backup copies. He is going to try to restore it soon.
It was no doubt hacked by a disgruntled breeder, who didn't want the information out there on their dogs' sketchy genetics!
Marilyn, I wish that information on how to cope with a seizure could be stickied somewhere! That's really good to know, and could save a dog's life! I do know a dog that died from status epilepticus - it was a mutt that belonged to the owner of the stable where I used to ride. The owner knew how to do IV injections, as it's a very useful thing to know when caring for horses, and the vet had provided him with traquilizer medication. A horse-sized dose of tranquilizer was not sufficient to stop the dog from seizing, and it passed away. :(
by marjorie on 19 March 2023 - 14:03
by Marilyn on 20 March 2023 - 08:03