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Vizsla Epilepsy Research Project

In March of 1999, the AKC Canine Health Foundation (AKC CHF) awarded a grant of $57,500.00 to researchers led by Dr Ned Patterson at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine to study the molecular genetics of canine epilepsy in Vizslas, English Springers and Beagles. Since then, the project expanded to include Australian Shepherds and Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs. The goal of this study is to identify multiple genetic markers for epilepsy and to develop a screening test to determine normal, carrier and affected status, thus allowing breeders the potential to eliminate epilepsy from breeding stock.

In the fall of 2014, the AKC CHF awarded Dr. Ned Patterson’s team at the University of Minnesota an additional $104,781.00 to identify genetic variants, biomarkers and new therapies. Under the guidance of Dr. Ned Patterson, a collaborative group proposes to evaluate traditional DNA genetic markers, blood biomarkers called microRNAs (miRNAs), and potential new drugs for the emergency treatment of seizures in dogs. This phase of the research will focus on the Vizsla and the Australian Shepherd. The VCA Welfare Foundation is proud to be a Charter Sponsor of this research. Read more about Dr. Patterson's research here.

The success of this research is dependent on collecting good samples from our Vizsla population. Dr. Patterson’s team is actively seeking samples from affected (seizing) dogs, related family members (Eg., dam, sire, litter mates) as well as samples from non-affected (controls) dogs who are 8 years and older.

To participate, please visit the Epilepsy Research Initiative page on the University of Minnesota website.

Here you can download Sample Submission Instructions and complete an online survey for affected dogs.

If you have any questions or need assistance completing the forms or pedigrees, please contact Katie Minor at the Canine and Equine Genetics Lab at the University of Minnesota at minork@umn.edu.