People: Rowena Packer, Holger Volk, Sarah Hobbs

Epilepsy is the most common chronic neurological disorder in first opinion practice for domestic dogs, with breeds including the Border Collie predisposed to this often challenging disorder. In addition to seizures, people with epilepsy are commonly affected by other ‘neurodevelopmental disorders’ (disorders which affect brain growth and development) including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which may manifest as a range of behavioural abnormalities. We aim to study whether this phenomenon is also seen in Border Collies, to increase our understanding of both epilepsy and abnormal behaviour in this popular breed.

Who can be involved?

Border Collies (both companion and working dogs) aged between 1 and 8 years old are welcomed into this study

We need both Border Collies diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy AND Border Collies with no history of seizures

Inclusion criteria:

  • Epilepsy group: 2 or more seizures over 24 hours apart, normal blood and urine analysis, first seizure aged between 6 months and 6 years of age
  • Control group: No history of seizures, no other diagnosed neurological or orthopaedic diseases

What we would like from you as part of the study

  • Willingness to travel to the Royal Veterinary College in Hertfordshire for 1 visit (a 2 day stay for your dog including one night in our hospital)
  • Willingness to allow your dog to undergo non-invasive behavioural tests
  • Willingness to allow us to perform a brain scan (MRI) on your dog (if your dog has not undergone a brain MRI in the past)
  • Willingness to allow us to record your dog’s brain activity using EEG, using small sub-dermal electrodes under your dog’s scalp
  • Willingness to allow us to collect non-invasive samples from your dog (urine, faeces, saliva, cheek swab)
  • Willingness to put a special collar on your dog for one week after your visit, to record their activity

The above procedures are paid for by the study.

How do I get involved?

We invite interested owners to complete this screening survey

If your dog meets the study criteria we will contact you to arrange your dog’s study visit (N.B this study will run from Summer 2018-Summer 2019)

If you have any queries regarding the questions asked or details of the trial, please contact Dr Rowena Packer at the RVC

This study is supported by the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council)

This project has been granted ethical approval by RVC Ethics and Welfare Committee and is authorised by a Home Office project licence


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