The study of seizures in Irish Wolfhounds began in
September of 1995 in an effort to determine if there was, is or could
be a continuing problem with seizures within the breed. The answers
are: yes, yes and hopefully not. This health problem in the breed does
not approach cancer or heart-related problems in terms of the number
affected. Maybe we can keep it that way.
After the University of Pennsylvania agreed to participate,
a preliminary questionnaire was developed to reflect the questions of
owners, breeders and the team at the university. This questionnaire
was sent to full and world-wide associate members of the Irish Wolfhound
Club of America and ads were placed in the national and some regional
breed club publications. The response rate has been 30.00% (217 responses
of 719 inquiries mailed).
Follow-up telephone contact is made with owners who
have submitted forms for animals affected with seizures to clarify and
expand information when necessary. New entries and follow up information
are processed and forwarded on a regular basis for review by the team
at the university.
The data submitted to the university is based on the
217 responses. The animals that qualified for the study are comprised
of, at present, 89 affected animals and 103 producers. Seventy-three
of these animals had grand mal seizures of unexplained nature. Three
entries experienced mild generalized seizures. Two of these three animals
were related to each other. Sixteen animals entered had explainable
causes for their seizures. Some of these causes included liver shunt,
encephalitis, hyperthermia, metasticised cancers, drug reactions and
reactions to pesticides. The owners of 21 Irish Wolfhounds that are
known to be affected with seizures have not yet entered the study. There
are some 15 hounds said, by rumor or innuendo, to have experienced seizures
but it has not been possible to confirm information on these animals
and they are, therefore, not included in the study at present. Hopefully,
these hounds will be added later.
Goals of the Study
The extensive detailed "wish list" that was originally
submitted to the University of Pennsylvania has been refined to focus
on four basic areas.
1. Identifying Irish Wolfhounds affected with seizures
and categorization of these seizures.
2. Addressing problems involved in maintenance of a
hound experiencing recurring epileptic seizures.
3. Collecting and processing of detailed pedigree information
to assist the geneticist and breeders.
4. Collecting blood samples from the affected animals
entered in the study and their immediate relatives for future DNA testing.
Limitations of the Study
The primary limitation of the study is the reluctance
of Irish Wolfhound owners/breeders to participate. The Irish Wolfhounds
entered in the study by no means represent all individuals of the breed
which are affected with seizures. Several owners and breeders have chosen
not to enter their animals in the study for personal reasons. Only if
and when these IWs are formally entered will they be added to the data
for the study even though they are known to be affected with seizures.
The failure to collect complete data has eliminated
some entries from the study. Many of these animals are long since dead
and documentation of the particulars involved is incomplete.
The short lifespan of the Irish Wolfhound as a breed
has created some difficulties in the blood collection phase of the study
as many of the affected hounds are already dead, as are their parents.
Eligibility For Entry Into The Study
Any Irish Wolfhound, of any bloodline, living or dead,
of any age or sex, from any country that has experienced a seizure or
seizures for any reason may be submitted. It is important to remember
that to determine if a pattern of inheritance exists it is necessary
to know also which animals are not affected with seizures, especially
those with close degrees of relatedness (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents,
etc) to the hounds with seizures. Remember, too, that use of gene pools
in other countries has become increasingly easier and more frequent.
It could well be that your affected animal is related to affected ones
in different countries.
This study is to explore all types of seizures, not
just the suspected inheritable form. Information is also needed about
hounds who have had seizures with specific causes, such as drug reactions,
disease or environmental influences.
To obtain a preliminary questionnaire please contact:
P.O. Box 928.
Fayetteville, GA 30214
Fax (770) 460-9819
Email - email@example.com
© Anne Janis 1998