Research into Epilepsy

Unfortunately Research into Epilepsy by The Animal Health Trust has had to be suspended for the following reason:

“Further to the announcement on 22 March 2020 that the Animal Health Trust (AHT) was facing imminent closure, the Trustees and Executive Committee are continuing to work towards a long-term strategy to save the charity.

In the meantime, the AHT continues to make use of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and its offices remain closed until further notice.

A decision on the long-term future of the Animal Health Trust is now expected to be made towards the end of May 2020″.

The Italian Greyhound Rescue Charity has partnered with the Animal Health Trust (AHT) to conduct clinical research into Inherited Epilepsy in Italian Greyhounds and we need your help to tackle this very serious genetic illness.

Inherited Epilepsy, or Idiopathic Epilepsy, is caused by an abnormality in the brain that leads to repeated seizures. It usually develops in affected Italian Greyhounds between the ages of 3½ – 6 years old and is extremely distressing for both the affected Italian Greyhounds and their owners.

More information about epilepsy and seizures is available in the Epilepsy: Information for Dog Owners Factsheet (PDF).

The AHT research is aimed at identifying the genes responsible for Inherited Epilepsy, and it’s critical that the AHT build-up a DNA database of Italian Greyhounds in the UK.

DNA samples from pure-bred Italian Greyhounds affected by seizures ( a copy of the pedigree needs to be submitted) are needed.

If the AHT is successful in identifying the gene responsible for Inherited Epilepsy, it means that we could protect our beautiful breed from this distressing condition in generations to come.

More DNA samples are needed from Italian Greyhounds affected by seizure. You can help by taking a saliva swab from the cheek of your Italian Greyhound, a simple and painless process that takes less than a minute, and sending it in for inclusion in the research programme.

The research requires DNA samples from pure-bred, pedigree Italian Greyhounds that are affected by seizures. All research is carried out in the strictest confidence and the AHT does not share genetic information about any dog with anybody except that dog’s owner.

How you can help:

If your Italian Greyhound is a pure-bred Italian Greyhound affected by seizures you can help us by sending a DNA sample from your dog, a quick and totally painless procedure:

  • Fill out the online form to: Request a DNA Testing Kit
  • Take a saliva swab from the cheek of your Italian Greyhound
  • Send the swab to the Animal Health Trust with a copy of the IG’s pedigree and completed health history questionnaire form

Other questions answered:

When will I get the results?
There are no results yet as we are in the process of building up the DNA database in order that the AHT can identify the gene/s responsible. They do know that epilepsy is carried by different genes in different breeds of dogs.

My dogs are already DNA profiled so I don’t need to do anything further?
This is not connected to the epilepsy research and just means that the particular dog can be identified by their genotype making up their DNA profile. Please submit a cheek swab to take part in the research.

Will the research cost me money?
The only cost at the moment is a first class stamp, unlike other DNA tests that can cost anything from £24-£70.00. Once the research into inherited epilepsy is complete, and a DNA test has been developed, the AHT will happily provide the results of any dogs that were used in the research, free of charge, to that dog’s owners upon request. So it is in your and  your dogs’ best interests to take part now.