Epilepsy is a disorder characterized mainly by seizures. Not all seizures are the same, some are mild and some are severe, some do not resemble what we imagine them to be. Not all seizures are caused by epilepsy, there are other disorders which also create seizures such as an injury, exposure to a toxic substance, a side effect of another illness and they can also occur from an unknown cause.
If you have a dog that has seizures, the first thing you must do is find out the cause. Immediately contact your veterinarian for assistance.
If the seizures are due to an injury, a toxic substance or another disease, treatment of the source cause will usually stop the seizures, however if brain damage has occurred, they may continue. A complete examination by a vet is absolutely necessary to rule out these other causes before the diagnosis of idiopathic epilepsy is determined. Idiopathic epilepsy (IE) means that the seizures are due to an unknown cause and it is generally accepted as an inherited disorder. IE is also known as primary epilepsy.
There is no known test specifically for IE. It is presently diagnosed by ruling out all other causes. There are several research projects underway to locate the genes responsible for IE so they can develop a DNA test, but as of this time there are no DNA tests for IE. There is no cure for IE and it will not go away. Many dogs will require medication to control the seizures, however the medications do not always work and they can have side effects and can become ineffective. Epilepsy is not always a terminal disorder, but it can cause death.
The mode of inheritance is not clear, it is thought to be polygenic, it is most likely recessive and an affected dog receives genes from both parents, but the contribution may be unequal, that is one parent may give more of the genes to the affected dog than the other. It is possible for a breed to have more than one form of inherited epilepsy.
No affected dog should be bred, nor should any close relatives (parents, offspring, full and half siblings). Other relatives should not be bred to other affected lines. Inbreeding and linebreeding in epileptic lines should be avoided. Unrelated mates should be selected to reduce the probability of combining the genes that create epilepsy and all hereditary diseases.
Currently only one Mudi has been diagnosed with IE. If the time comes that more than one Mudi will be confirmed to have epilepsy, a separate database may be created with the names of the affected dogs. Only veterinarian confirmed cases will be listed and only those affected dogs names will be placed to the Mudi Compass website that have been submitted by the owner or breeder with a signed release statement. Epilepsy is very difficult to diagnose and cannot be done without qualified veterinary examination and evaluation. If you suspect your Mudi is having seizures, please seek immediate veterinary care.