New Hope for Children With Epilepsy Thanks to Miniature Dachshunds

A collaboration between miniature wirehaired dachshunds and scientists has advanced research into a rare and deadly form of epilepsy in children and dogs.

This particular form of epilepsy is called Lafora disease. It’s a rare type of epilepsy but it is severe. Every year, around 50 children are diagnosed with this disease and it’s a pretty bad diagnosis to be given. It’s a progressive disease with no current known cure. Seizures increase, and the patient is likely to go on to suffer from dementia and lose their ability to walk.

So where do the dachshunds come into it?

Miniature wirehaired dachshunds are actually prone to this rare condition, and 27 of them were a part of this study. So it makes sense to study the progression of the disease in these dogs, in the hope of discovering something new that may lead to a cure for Lafora disease.

Related: What is Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?

What did they discover?

By following the progression of the disease in dachshunds, the early signs of the disease were able to be identified. Signs such as aggression, panic attacks, muscle contractions and focal seizures were some of the signs that were spotted in the dogs. This means that Lafora disease can now be diagnosed even earlier in children. This innovative research really has pushed forward the work towards an effective treatment of this nasty disease.

Related: Two-Legged Dachshund Gets 3D Printed Wheelchair [Video]

It’s also great new for dachshunds

When human medical research teams up with veterinary research, there are double the benefits. Advancements can be made into helping the young people with the disease, but of course all this research could be highly beneficial for animal medicine too, and in this case, it truly has been.

During these studies, a canine genetic mutation responsible for Lafora disease was identified. This has led to an awareness campaign and testing for Lafora disease in breeding animals. In just five years there has been an amazing effect. Previously, the risk of a dachshund puppy being born with Lafora disease was 55%. These days this has been reduced to less than 5%!

This is awesome news. Less puppies will have to suffer from this horrible disease, and so there’s less heartbreak for dog owners.

Emily Hutchinson
Emily Hutchinson

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