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I attended the KC Breed Health Symposium on 5 October 2017 on behalf of the HWV. There were 200 registrants for the event. We had a number of brief but interesting lectures with health updates in, some of which I have summised below.
Epilepsy Lecture by Professor Holger Volk (BVA)
A most engaging, knowledgable speaker, Professor Volk gave us a brief rundown on some points about canine epilepsy which I have tried to summarise below.
- Epilepsy needn’t be a death sentence.
- The similarities between the disease process between dogs and humans is useful for several reasons:
- Technical (shared knowledge)
- Institutional (shared funding)
- One of the biggest challenges is the unpredictability of when it will happen since it can happen at any time. Although 60% of seizures happen overnight.
- Dogs with poorly controlled epilepsy/ high seizure frequency are at increased risk of
- Premature death
- Behavioural changes
- Reduced quality of life (for both dog and owner)
There have been several studies on the impact of epilepsy on the dog and owner. These seemed to suggest that the biggest concerns about what would cause an impact on the quality of life of the owner were:
- Seizure type (eg cluster)
- Side effects
- Not having additional drugs.
Surprisingly cost wasn’t identified!
They identified that support was important and that this is was beneficial coming from
- Vets (particularly if they regularly saw the same one)
- Breed and support groups
A key point to note is that Idiopathic Epilepsy isn’t just one disease – there are thousands of reasons why it can happen. It is usual that there are multiple predisposing factors all coming together at the same time to cause a seizure.
Specialists diagnosis of seizures tends to be very variable and often biased towards their expectations in certain breeds. Diagnosis is very subjective.
Cognitive Impairments in Epilepsy
There is evidnce to suggest a decrease in cognitive abilities in dogs with epilepsy. It can also reduce their susceptibility to being trained although positive reinforcement works better.
Every brain has the capacity to have seizures
Different brains have different thresholds to trigger seizures
Treatment is based on changing the seizure threshold.
Study on occurence of seizures in untreated dogs
- Some had a number then stopped
- Some had some, then stopped, then started again
- Some had seizures which continued to increase in frequency
The important thing to note is that drugs aren’t designed to change this pattern of occurance.
The development of new drugs
In general the new drugs that we are seeing developed now don’t tend to be any more effective in stopping/ reducing seizures, their main benefit is to reduce the side effects associated with them.
RVC have developped an app to monitor seizures: Further details here
Diet trials in epilepsy
There has been a trial to see the effect of adding medium chain fatty acids to a diet.
- This seemed to reduce the seizure frequency in a number of the dogs.
- This sort of treatment is never likely to work on all dogs with IE due to the different triggers in different dogs.
- Interestingly the supplements had no effect on the levels of the drug being used to treat the dogs in the bloodstream.
- There was an increase in the blood level hydroxybutyrate (BHB)
All in all there is some interesting work being done on canine epilepsy. We won’t be able to eradicate it in one step since there are so many different triggers to the condition but working on the individual triggers we may be able to get somewhere.
Give a dog a genome (AHT)
One of the most important purposes of studying genetics at the AHT is to find deletrious mutations in DNA that can cause disease.
In 2004 the genome of a boxer named Tasha (Can Farm 1.0) was sequenced as a reference genome for others to compare back to.
DNA mutations are found by comparing the DNA of an affected dog to a reference dog without the disorder. Difference genes in the structure are called “candidate genes” and indicate where the mutation may be. By referencing to a succession of further dogs one by one these candidate genes are narrowed down to a single gene that is causing the mutation. This process assumes that reference dogs aren’t going to have the disease you are looking for.
The Give a Dog a Genome project is sequencing genomes from a mixture of healthy dogs of a breed (where there are no major health concerns) and dogs of other breeds with particular health issues being deemed worthy of further investigation. There are 16 breeds where dogs with Ideopathic epilepsy has been sequenced, 9 with PRA, 7 with hereditary cataract and 4 with osteosarcoma with another 24 with other conditions having been sequenced.
So far the project has already identified:
- A retinopathy mutation in the Swedish Valhund
- A mutation causing Oculoskeletal dysplasia in the Northern Inuit
- A mutation causing PRA in the Lhaso Apso
International Partnership for Dogs
This is an organisation who are allowing collaboration between specialists to try to enable the using and sharing of data from all sorts of international sources. They focus on the Health, Wellbeing and Welfare of dog breeds.
They are building a database to help share information.
They run an International Dog Health Workshop which will be hosted next time by the Kennel Club in the UK. This will be in 2019.
I hope this brief summary gives you a brief insight into some of what was covered. I have tried to keep the information as concise and accurate as possible, however, I cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies.
Update from the Kennel Club:
“As you already know, we selected a Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla with Idiopathic Epilepsy to be whole genome sequenced as part of Give a Dog a Genome (GDG). The sequencing has now been completed by the external laboratory and the data has been made available for us to download.
What happens next?
The amount of data generated for each sample is enormous, around 80-90 Gb. To put that into perspective, data from only 10 dogs will fill up the average modern personal computer, and the processing of the data will use the full capacity of the computer for months. As a result it takes time (about 1 week) and a great deal of computing power to download and process the data so that it is ready for analysis. Once we complete this stage the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla Idiopathic Epilepsy data will be ready for further analysis.
The data will be added to the genome bank, and will begin contributing to studies in other breeds immediately. In addition, the data will be made available to other scientists for use in their own studies, and your breed has therefore made a vital contribution to genetic research affecting the welfare of dogs worldwide.
Analysis of the data to attempt to identify any variants that contribute to Idiopathic Epilepsy in Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla will take far longer. Please be aware that it is entirely possible that we will not be able to identify any variants that contribute to this condition, at all.
You will continue to receive any general GDG updates, but apart from that we will contact you only if there is something specific to the Hungarian Wirehaired Vizsla to report. If you don’t hear from us, it means that we are still in the analysis stage and have not found anything of significance.
I would once again like to thank you and the breed community for participating in Give a Dog a Genome.”
Schedules are now available for the HWVA Open Show.
Entries Close: Monday 4th September 2017 (Post Office Postmark) Entries may be made online up to 12 noon Friday 8th September 2017 at www.dog.biz
Breed Judge:- Mr Tim Branney ( Belatarr)
Special Awards:- Mrs Karen May (Amiryck)
Schedules available from Chris Schofield email@example.com – 01246 418624
Higham Press www.highampress.co.uk/HWVA-open2017.pdf
A chance to gain specialised knowledge relevent to the breed.
Please contact the organiser below for further details.
Now fully booked for the “Hands on assessment”
Would you like to represent HWV at the Europa Cup?
Every year the Vizsla European Field Trial Championships also known as the Europa Cup are hosted by a different country via their respective Vizsla Club. This, the nineteenth year is no different and is set to be held in Denmark for the second time in the history of the competition.
Several members of the Association have expressed an interest in having a Wire team and so we are keen to encourage people to enter their HWV, if they are at a suitable standard, in the hope that there could be teams of both smooths and wires for the first time at this years’ competition.
Please return your entry form (below) as soon as possible.
9am meet for 9:30 start
Judge: Sue Hastwell
For dogs and handlers who have not entered more than two KC working tests and have not won a first in Special beginners or an award in any classified class. Training and help will be given.
Judge: Louise Holmes
Confined to dogs / bitches less than 18 months of age on the date of the test.
Judges: Jean Robertson (A Panel 2798), Jayne Herbert, Lee Loveridge (B Panel 3307)
For dogs / bitches which have not gained a Field Trial Award or COM, or 1st, 2nd or 3rd in an Open GWT or First in a Novice GWT held in accordance with KC Regulations
|OPEN||Judge: Jason Hudson
Open to all HPR Dogs/Bitches. Cold game may be used
|WATER||Judge: Paul MacDonald|
HWVA Widmerpool Working Test Entry Form - to complete in Word