Epileptic Seizures in Chihuahuas

We have been asked by Roberto Poma, Dr. Med. Vet, DVSc, ACVIM (Neurology) Associate Professor, Dept. of Clinical StudiesOntario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, to help him with his research. He is interested in two very specific Epileptic type seizures and whether or not they occur in our Chihuahua breed enough to help him with his research. We have two videos of the very specific type of seizure he is looking for. If you would please take several minutes to watch these videos and answer his questionnaire and return it to him in a timely manner (by November 2010), I would appreciate it. His research in Chihuahuas will be used to help children with similar Epileptic type seizures. Please take the time to watch the videos, complete the questionnaire.

After viewing the videos, and you have dogs that have seizures that look like the ones in the video, we would appreciate your completing their questionnaire. Any help that you are able to give to this research will ultimately help children with similar Epileptic-type seizures.

Here is a little introduction given by Dr. Roberto Poma:

Recently, the neurology service at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in collaboration with the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto reported and published in a peer review human epilepsy journal (“Epileptic Disorders”) an interesting paper on absence-like seizures in a 9 month old pure bred long-hair Chihuahua dog. Absence-like seizures in dogs are not very common and the electroencephalographic findings recorded in this dog along with the clinical symptoms presented are very similar to children with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy. We are wondering if the reported findings are unique to this dog or if the abnormalities discovered are characteristic of a breed related epileptic syndrome in Chihuahua dogs. We would like to investigate further these findings and reported abnormalities in collaboration with the Chihuahua Club of America. Basically there are 2 type of seizures: 1) Head twitching: the dog manifests intermittent head bobbing and twitching (first video). Each twitch last only a few seconds so it is not easy to recognize it if the owner is not very observant. The majority of these seizures occur when the dog is resting. Often head and nose are involved at the same time but at times only the nose is involved. 2) Hind limb jerks: This second type of seizures is more clear to recognize since the dog displays bilateral and synchronous hind limb jerks (second video). Again, the dog is usually resting while manifesting these episodes and the overall mentation is altered (like having “absences”).

Please return the form to:
Dr. Carolyn Kerr, DVM, DVSc, PhD, Diplomate ACVA
Interim Chair Department of Clinical Studies Ontario Veterinary College College
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1G 2W1
Email: ckerr@uoguelph.ca