Epilepsy is the most common neurologic disease in dogs and many forms are considered to have a genetic basis. In contrast, some seizure disorders are also heritable, but are not technically defined as epilepsy. Investigation of true canine epilepsies has uncovered genetic associations in some cases, however, many remain unexplained. Gene mutations have been described for 2 forms of canine epilepsy: primary epilepsy (PE) and progressive myoclonic epilepsies. To date, 9 genes have been described to underlie progressive myoclonic epilepsies in several dog breeds. Investigations into genetic PE have been less successful, with only 1 causative gene described. Genetic testing as an aid to diagnosis, prognosis, and breeding decisions is available for these 10 forms. Additional studies utilizing genome-wide tools have identified PE loci of interest; however, specific genetic tests are not yet developed. Many studies of dog breeds with PE have failed to identify genes or loci of interest, suggesting that, similar to what is seen in many human genetic epilepsies, inheritance is likely complex, involving several or many genes, and reflective of environmental interactions. An individual dog's response to therapeutic intervention for epilepsy may also be genetically complex. Although the field of inherited epilepsy has faced challenges, particularly with PE, newer technologies contribute to further advances.
- Progressive myoclonic epilepsy