Dr. Ned Patterson Updates -
Dr. Karen Munana Updates -
Dr. Hannes Lohi Updates -
Dr. Dawn Merton Boothe Updates -
Research News for Dr. Karen Munana
A study “Effect of Chronic Administration of Phenobarbital, or Bromide, on Pharmacokinetics of Levetiracetam in Dogs with Epilepsy” supported by a grant from Toby’s Foundation for Dr. Karen Munana has been published in The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.
View the Study
Toby’s Foundation to give $10,000 to support Epilepsy Research Initiative.
Toby's Foundation has been instrumental in raising canine epilepsy awareness by bringing much needed attention to this disease, educating the public about the disease, helping breeders and pet owners and sponsoring research grants to find the genes responsible for canine epilepsy and for more effective treatments for dogs suffering from this disease. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting dogs. In keeping with our commitment to stopping this disease and improving the quality of life for dogs suffering from epilepsy. Toby's Foundation will give $10,000 to
support the Canine Health Foundation’s Epilepsy Research Initiative. Please continue to help us by
making a donation to Toby’s Foundation.
Research News for Dr. Ned Patterson
Dr. Ned E. Patterson of the University of Minnesota has been given a one year extension for CHF Grant 01615: Identification of Idiopathic Epilepsy Genes in Australian Shepherds. The grant is now extended to December 31, 2014.
Dr. Patterson’s mid-year 2 report states “Once we identify a confirmed mutation we will then develop a DNA based genetic test.” Dr. Patterson has obtained new cases and new controls and plans to “ analyze these new DNA samples with complete standard genetic analysis with the latest SNP chips. In addition we continue to analyze the 3 identified areas for more markers and possible mutations.”
Researchers have made progress'let's keep the momentum going!
The researchers are continuing in-depth analysis to find the genetic mutations contributing to epilepsy in Australian Shepherds in three chromosome areas that have been identified.
We need your help! New blood samples from affected dogs are needed. Please send in a blood sample from your dog with idiopathic/primary epilepsy for Dr. Ned Patterson's Aussie Epilepsy research at the University of Minnesota. Please see the information below to submit a blood sample from your dog.
Please make a donation today to Toby's Foundation to help us in the fight against canine epilepsy. Your donations are needed and are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Please see the information below to make a donation online or by mail. Thank you!
Research News for Dr. Ned Patterson
From Dr. Ned Patterson's End ' Year 1 progress report for CHF grant #01615: "Identification of Idiopathic Epilepsy Genes in Australian Shepherds" that Toby's Foundation co-sponsors.
'We are continuing in depth analysis, and working on finding the most likely genes in each area of three chromosomes that may be related to contributing to epilepsy, and we plan to find additional markers near the genes. Currently we are in the middle of sequencing two candidate genes from these three identified areas. In addition, we plan to utilize next generation sequencing to sequence portions of these 3 chromosomal areas in the next 6-9 months, if needed, in our search for genetic mutations contributing to epilepsy in Australian Shepherds'.
We need your help! New blood samples from affected dogs are needed. Please send in a blood sample from your dog with idiopathic/primary epilepsy for Dr. Ned Patterson's Aussie epilepsy research at the University of Minnesota. New samples from dogs that are 10+ years old that have never had a seizure are also needed to serve as controls.
To submit a blood sample from your dog please go to our website and click on the link for the University of Minnesota for all the information, instructions and forms that you will need to submit a blood sample. Your information is kept confidential.
Research News for Dr. Ned Patterson
Three chromosome areas have been identified that may be related to contributing to epilepsy in the Australian Shepherd breed. Please visit the Research page on our website to read the latest research news. The researchers are working to find the gene (s) causing or contributing to epilepsy in the Australian Shepherd so a screening test can be developed.
If you haven't already please send in a blood sample on your dog for Dr. Ned Patterson's Aussie epilepsy research study at the University of Minnesota to help us in the fight against canine epilepsy. Please see the information below. Blood samples from affected dogs are particularly needed. If you have any questions please visit our website and/or email us.
Three Chromosome Areas have been identified that may be related to contributing to epilepsy in the Australian Shepherd Breed
As you may recall, Dr. Ned Patterson and his team at the University of Minnesota "in 2010--2011 performed a Genome Wide Association Scan (GWAS) with genetic markers for Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE) in 19 affected and 21 unaffected Australian shepherd (AS) dogs, and found a chromosomal region with a statistically significant association indicating that there is very likely to be a nearby genetic mutation related to epilepsy in Aussies."
Below is the latest research news from Dr. Patterson's 1st progress report for his Canine Health Foundation (CHF) grant "Identification of Idiopathic Epilepsy Genes in Australian Shepherds" that began January 1, 2012 and ends December 31, 2013. We are co-sponsoring this grant with $25,000 thanks to your generosity, support and help in the fight against canine epilepsy.
"Genetic marker data from 88 Australian Shepherds (44 cases and 44controls) total has now been analyzed with standard genetic association statistical analysis. This includes 25 new cases and 23 new controls during this grant period. So far there are two different chromosomes that continue to potentially contain an associated epilepsy gene or genes. We have identified and a new third potential area in the last 6 months.
We are continuing with additional in depth analysis, and working on finding the most likely genes in each area of each these 3 chromosomes that may be related to contributing to epilepsy, and we plan to find additional markers near candidate genes and/or sequence one or more candidate genes in the next 6-9 months. In addition we plan to utilize next generation DNA sequencing to sequence large portions of some of these 3 chromosomal areas in the next 6-9 months, if needed, in our search for genetic mutations contributing to epilepsy in Australian Shepherds."
Single Dose Extended Release Anticonvulsant Shows Promise
Dr. Dawn Merton Boothe at Auburn University has completed her work evaluating extended release Keppra, and the results look promising!
From Morris Animal Foundation: "Thank you and everyone involved with Toby's Foundation for your generosity and support of Morris Animal Foundation's commitment to creating a better and healthier tomorrow for animals. Because of the kindness of friends like you, the Foundation has been able to fund tremendous health breakthroughs for all animals, including dogs."
"Toby's Foundation is a generous study co-sponsor of Dr. Boothe's study Pharmacokinetics of Single Oral Dose Levetiracetam Extended Release Tablets in Healthy Adult Dogs(D10CA-060)."
"Pharmacokinetics of Single Oral Dose Levetiracetam Extended Release Tablets in Healthy Adult Dogs Dawn Merton Boothe, DVM, PhD D10CA-060"
"Results: Single Dose Extended Release Anticonvulsant Shows Promise Epilepsy is a serious, late-onset seizure disorder that affects a large number of breeds and usually requires lifelong treatment. Dogs often develop a tolerance to therapy, so increasingly higher doses of anticonvulsants are needed. Previous studies showed that levetiracetam (commercially known as Keppra®), a human antiepileptic drug, is well tolerated by dogs, even at concentrations that exceed the maximum therapeutic range for humans. The drug also shows promise in controlling seizures. However, the half-life of levetiracetam is short in dogs. Researchers, funded by Morris Animal Foundation, studied the effectiveness in dogs of a new extended-release Keppra product that was recently approved for human-use. They found that the extended-release version levetiracetam is a safe, convenient anticonvulsant drug that can be given to dogs in a single oral dose with a longer half-life. These data suggest that the new product would be a better treatment option and would provide better long-term management of seizures in dogs with epilepsy."
Toby's Foundation's grant for Dr. Karen Munana at NCSU for the project "The Pharmacokinetics of Levetiracetam in Epileptic Dogs When Used Concurrently with Other Antiepileptics" has concluded.
"This study was undertaken to determine whether the metabolism of the anti-seizure drug levetiracetam (LEV) varies depending on whether it is given in combination with phenobarbital and/or potassium bromide to dogs with epilepsy. Dogs previously diagnosed with epilepsy that were being treated with LEV in addition to phenobarbital, potassium bromide or both were studied. Blood samples were collected at 5 time points within a 6-hour period for measurement of LEV levels. The study demonstrated that there is considerable variability in blood levels of LEV among dogs that are receiving LEV as a treatment for epilepsy. The group of dogs being administered LEV and bromide in combination tended to have the highest blood LEV levels, followed by the group receiving LEV and phenobarbital in combination, while the group receiving LEV, phenobarbital and bromide in combination tended to have the lowest blood LEV levels. This suggests that the administration of phenobarbital, with or without bromide, might affect the metabolism of LEV when the drugs are used together to treat epilepsy in dogs. Based on the study results, it is recommended that LEV blood levels be measured in dogs that are receiving LEV in combination with other drugs, particularly if adequate seizure control is not achieved. Additional studies are required to determine a recommended target LEV range in dogs that is associated with seizure control."
This study can advance more effective treatments for dogs suffering from canine epilepsy. There is more detailed information that will become available after the study is published.
The CHF grant 'Identification of Idiopathic
Epilepsy Genes in Australian Shepherds' for
Dr. Ned E. Patterson, DVM PhD,
University of Minnesota, should begin by January 1, 2012. The amount of
this grant is $106,289.
Information about Dr. Patterson's
new CHF grant to continue his canine epilepsy
research on the Australian Shepherd:
'In 2010--2011 we performed a Genome Wide
Association Scan (GWAS) with genetic markers for Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE)
found a chromosomal region with a statistically significant association. This
indicates that there is very likely to be a nearby genetic mutation related to
epilepsy in Aussies. Another chromosomal region is close to achieving
significant association. In this ongoing study, we plan to sequence the small
chromosomal area in the area of significance to identify the gene that is
causing or contributing to IE in Aussies, as well as perform an additional GWAS'The
additional GWAS is needed to see if there is more than one gene contributing to
the development of IE in AS. Once we identify a confirmed mutation we will then
develop a DNA based genetic test. An IE genetic test would greatly assist
breeding programs to identify affected puppies before they are sold by breeders
and aid veterinarians in diagnosis and possibly treatment of affected dogs. It
could also lead to the eventual elimination of this disease from the AS breed
through selective breeding. In addition, once we identify one or more IE gene(s)
in AS we will test to see if these mutation(s) affect other dog
breeds with a high incidence of IE.'
Toby's Foundation will cosponsor this grant:
Please help us
support this research by making a
Year End donation for 2011 to Toby's Foundation.
All gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
have been very helpful in enabling us to sponsor canine epilepsy
research. We have, to date, directly sponsored two grants and co-sponsored three
other grants due to your generosity and matching gifts. If you have an employer
with a matching gifts program please let us know and please make a donation to
The Canine Health Foundation Board of
Directors has approved Dr. Patterson's project for "Identification of idiopathic
Epilepsy Genes in Australian Shepherds" to continue his epilepsy research.
This new CHF study is exciting news. As we reported earlier Dr. Patterson and
his team got a significant hit on one chromosome in the Australian Shepherd. We
appreciate the Canine Health Foundation's commitment to funding research to help
improve the lives of all dogs and for funding Dr. Patterson's epilepsy study for
Australian Shepherds. Toby's Foundation will support this study for Aussie
epilepsy research by becoming a sponsor to help fund it.
Toby's Foundation is co-sponsoring a Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) study for
Dr. Dawn Merton Boothe at Auburn University.
'This study suggests that extended release levetiracetam (commercially known
as Keppra) would be a better treatment option for dogs with epilepsy''. Please
D10CA-060: Pharmacokinetics of Single Oral Dose
Levetiracetam Extended Release Tablets in Healthy Adult Dogs, Dawn Merton Boothe,
'PROGRESS UPDATE: Epilepsy is a serious,
late-onset seizure disorder that affects a large number of dog breeds. Dogs
often require lifelong treatment and frequently develop a tolerance to therapy,
so increasingly higher doses of anticonvulsants are needed. Previous studies
showed that levetiracetam (commercially known as Keppra), a human antiepileptic
drug, is well tolerated by dogs, even at concentrations that exceed the maximum
therapeutic range for humans. The drug also shows promise in controlling
seizures. However, the half-life of levetiracetam is short in dogs. To address
this issue, researchers at Auburn University are studying a new extended-release
Keppra product, approved for humans, that may allow for twice- or once-daily
dosing in dogs. To date, researchers have completed all data collection from
client-owned dogs and are in the process of conducting statistical analysis.
Preliminary analysis suggests that the new extended-release Keppra product
results in drug concentrations that stay above the minimum recommended
therapeutic dose for 18 hours (compared to only 6 hours following intravenous
administration). This study suggests that extended-release levetiracetam would
be a better treatment option for dogs with epilepsy than regular-release
levetiracetam, and it should be used in any further clinical trials studying the
efficacy of levetiracetam for long-term
management of seizures in dogs with epilepsy.'
Carolina State University has a survey they would like filled out by owners of
pets with epilepsy on 'The Impact of Epilepsy in Companion Animal Patients'
Please see below.
affect more than 5 percent of the companion animal population. We are contacting
you today to see if you might be willing to share with us some information
regarding your experiences with a pet with epilepsy so that we, as the
veterinary profession, can develop a greater understanding of your needs living
with a pet with epilepsy. Information obtained from this survey will help us to:
understanding of the disease impacts, help us to provide more information to
potential grantors to study the disease as it relates to impacts on the owner,
All of the personal information provided will
remain confidential. We appreciate your consideration of this request. The
survey can be accessed at the followiing URL:
If you have any questions whatsoever regarding
this survey, please contact Julie Nettifee Osborne, RVT, BS, VTS (Neurology)
Nettifee Osborne, RVT, BS
Carolina State University
of Clinical Sciences
Toby's Foundation (TF) is proudly sponsoring a grant entitled "Identification
of Epilepsy-Causing Mutations in Australian Shepherds" for Dr. Hannes Lohi and
his research group at the University of Helsinki, Finland for one year for
$10,000, Toby's Foundation, TF Grant Number 5-2011.
In collaboration with Dr. Ned Patterson and his team from the University of
Minnesota who recently mapped the first epilepsy (IE) locus in the Australian
Shepherd (AS), Dr. Hannes Lohi will utilize the latest next - generation
sequencing approaches to identify the gene(s) causing or contributing to epilepsy
in the AS. The latest next-generation sequencing recently became available and
is already being used in Finland. Dr Lohi will sequence genes in the area of the
Chromosome that Dr. Ned Patterson and his team recently got the significant hit
on. Dr. Lohi says that "identification of the epilepsy-causing mutations would
enable us to develop genetic tests for AS for breeding purposes. It would also
improve our understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease, and provide a
novel candidate gene for other IE breeds and as well human IEs."
We are very excited about our grant which will help Aussie epilepsy research
continue to move forward using the latest technology while Dr. Patterson applies
for his next CHF grant. We stand ready with your help to co-sponsor that grant.
Our 7th Anniversary is fast approaching and our anniversary theme is "Let's Keep
the Ball Rolling" for Aussie epilepsy research and that is precisely what we are
doing by sponsoring a TF grant for Dr. Lohi. Please see our
Progress is being made and outstanding research is being done. We appreciate the
commitment and dedication of Drs. Patterson and Lohi and their research groups
to canine epilepsy research and to the Australian Shepherd. Please continue to
help us support the research to find the causative genes and develop a screening
test by making a donation today.
Your help is needed. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent
allowed by law.
If you haven't already, please donate a
blood sample today to Dr. Ned Patterson's Aussie epilepsy research at the
University of Minnesota on your affected dog and your dog 10 + years old that
have never had a seizure.
Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) Grant
We are pleased to announce that we are co-sponsoring for
$3,000 a Morris Animal Foundation (MAF) grant, "Evaluating the Safety and
Efficacy of a Drug to Control Epilepsy in Dogs" for Dr. Dawn Merton Boothe at
Auburn University for one year. This study will determine the efficacy of
levetiracetam (commercially known as Keppra) as a safe, convenient
anticonvulsant drug that can be given to dogs in a single oral dose, allowing
its use as a sole anticonvulsant drug for canine epilepsy patients.
Because of the generosity of donors and some corporate
matching gifts we are able to help sponsor research for more effective
treatments for dogs suffering from canine epilepsy while we continue to support
research to find causative genes for canine epilepsy and develop a genetic test.
February 17, 2011
Researchers Get First
Significant Hit On The Australian Shepherd
Dr. Edward (Ned) Patterson DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM (SAIM)
University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine has announced 'some good
initial news. In the last month we analyzed all of the data for the Aussies on
the 170,000 marker chip and we did get a statistically significant hit on one
chromosome. We are looking at what genes are in the area, and may sequence one
or two. This is the only breed that we have yet gotten a significant hit for!
This is fairly likely to be real but we will need additional dogs and analysis
Pamela Douglas, President of Toby's Foundation says, 'this is really good news
for our Aussies and certainly the most promising news we have received to date
for our beloved Australian Shepherd. We are so pleased to learn that Aussies
have their first statistically significant hit and are the only breed so far
that the researchers have gotten such a hit on. Our efforts are paying off as we
work to support the research. Let me emphasize that there is still much to be
done. We need your help to continue to support the research by donating blood
samples on your dogs and raising funds so we can see this through to finding the
causative genes and developing a genetic test for Aussies!'
Please donate a blood sample
today to Dr. Ned Patterson's Aussie epilepsy study at the University of
Minnesota on your affected dog and your dog 10 + years old that have never had a
seizure. Also, please consider making a donation for
"Today, February 17th, is Toby's birthday! He would have been 9 years old.
How sweet it is that we get to announce some good news on his birthday! Thank
you for your continued support. "
A few more dogs with epilepsy are needed for
a new study. Can you help? For information on this new study and contact
information to see if your dog can help by participating please see below. All
blood levels will be provided to the owners at no charge.
Dogs would not necessarily have to go to
NCSU-CVM, as long as the referring DVM is willing to help obtain samples.
NEW!! Canine Keppra
Pharmacokinetic Study III: Recruiting Open, July 2010
Recruitment is open for
dogs with epilepsy that are being treated with Keppra (levetiracetam) and
Phenobarbital (group I) Keppra and Potassium Bromide (group II) , or Keppra,
Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide (group III) for a Pharmacokinetic study.
This study is being conducted at North Carolina State Unversity-College of
Veterinary Medicine, under the direction of Dr. Karen Munana, DVM, DACVIM
If your dog has been
diagnosed with epilepsy, and is receiving the drugs listed above in any of the 3
groups listed, we are interested in sampling your pet to determine how Keppra
interacts with the other anticonvulsants through sequential blood sampling in a
one-day study. All blood levels will be provided to the owners at no-charge. If
you are interested in more information regarding this project, or to see if your
pet qualifies, please contact Julie Osborne,
919-513-6812. We would like to thank Toby's Foundation for their assistance
in the funding of this important project.
Julie Nettifee Osborne,
North Carolina State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Clinical Sciences
4700 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC 27606
Update from Dr.
Dr. Patterson and his
team have just completed whole genome SNP analysis on additional Aussie samples
and will have the data fully analyzed in the next few months.
Dr. Patterson reports that 'If we get strong association for Aussies in the
whole genome analysis with the 170,000 SNP array we would then work on fine
mapping and developing a linkage test in this new CHF grant application in the
Spring of 2011'. If we do not yet find significant association, we would then
work on continued collection of affected dogs and more whole genome analysis
with the 170,000 array in this new grant application.'
Epilepsy Research Study
The Aussie Epilepsy Research study at the University of Minnesota
has been extended to March 2011. Dr. Ned Patterson is running
additional Aussies samples using more powerful SNP Chips. Blood
samples from affected dogs are still needed. If you have a dog that
has been diagnosed with idiopathic (primary) epilepsy please send in
a blood sample from your dog. Blood samples from dogs 10+ years old
that have never had a seizure are also needed to serve as controls.
For information, instructions and forms to submit a blood sample
and/or information to make a donation to support the research,
please go to
Foundation Awards its First direct Grant to Dr
Karen Munana at North Carolina State University
and Dedicates it in Memory of Sheila Dolan
President of Toby's Foundation says 'we can now sponsor
grants under $10,000 for canine epilepsy research. This
is an important step for us in the fight against canine
epilepsy. Our mission is to stop canine epilepsy by
supporting research to find the gene(s) responsible and
develop a screening test and to support research for
more effective treatments for dogs affected by this
Dr. Munana's grant is for one year and will investigate
'The Pharmacokinetics of Levetiracetam in Epileptic Dogs
When Used Concurrently With other Antiepileptics'. The
award is for $5,276.00. For larger grants we can
continue to co-sponsor studies such as the one we
currently have with the Canine Health Foundation (CHF)
for Dr. Ned Patterson's Aussie epilepsy study at UMN,
Grant #748 'SNP Association Mapping for Canine
Munana presented two studies at the American College of
Veterinarians in Internal Medicine (ACVIM) in June 2010
in Anaheim, CA . Please click on the link below to go to
our Research page and read summaries from Dr. Munana on
these two studies regarding more effective treatments
for dogs affected by canine epilepsy. It is estimated
that as many as 25% of the dogs affected with the
disease have refractory seizures meaning they do not
respond well to traditional treatments and their
seizures are not well controlled.
Pam Douglas met with Dr. Karen Munana at the ACVIM
meeting in Anaheim , CA to discuss with her about our
newly awarded grant for her research and her two
preceding studies. Pam Douglas also met with Dr. Ned
Patterson of UMN at the ACVIM meeting to discuss Aussie
canine epilepsy research and a new grant in 2011 to keep
Aussie epilepsy research moving forward.
Dr. Patterson reports that during
the past year 18 additional affected Aussies and 20 additional
controls have been collected at University of Minnesota. They are continuing
to try to collect more Aussie DNA samples to be sent to their lab in
Minnesota for any
needed future analysis and to verify the diagnosis whenever
possible.The most important efforts will be to collect more samples of affected
Aussies.They are analyzing the best 24
affected and 24 unaffected Aussies on the new more powerful SNP
arrays during the next few months. Despite the complexity in Aussies
they are committed to following through on the search for markers
and genes in Aussies as long
and new DNA samples are
Research Updates from Dr. Karen Munana
Dr. Karen Munana presented her finding on the two studies
EVALUATION OF LEVETIRACETAM AS ADJUNCTIVE TREATMENT FOR CANINE EPILEPSY and
ASSOCIATION BETWEEN THE ABCB-1 (MDR-1) GENE AND SEIZURE CONTROL IN CANINE
EPILEPSY at the American College meeting in Anaheim, CA on June 12, 2010.
Below are the summaries from her findings.
EVALUATION OF LEVETIRACETAM AS ADJUNCTIVE TREATMENT FOR CANINE EPILEPSY
Principal Investigator: Dr. Karen R. Mu'ana, North Carolina State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Funding: Morris Animal Foundation
purpose of this blinded, placebo controlled clinical trial was to evaluate the
safety and effectiveness of levetiracetam when used as add-on therapy in dogs
with poorly controlled idiopathic epilepsy. Findings from the study suggest
that levetiracetam is safe in epileptic dogs. There was no difference in
incidence of side effects between levetiracetam and placebo treatment, and no
changes in laboratory parameters were identified throughout the course of the
study. The majority of dogs experienced a decrease in seizure frequency during
levetiracetam treatment. However, the weekly seizure frequency relative to
baseline decreased during both levetiracetam and placebo administration, such
that a significant difference in effectiveness of levetiracetam over placebo was
not observed. Levetiracetam serum levels were highly variable and did not
correlate with treatment response. Further evaluation of levetiracetam as
therapy for canine epilepsy is warranted.
ASSOCIATION BETWEEN THE ABCB-1 (MDR-1) GENE AND SEIZURE CONTROL IN CANINE
Investigator: Dr. Karen R. Mu'ana, North Carolina State University College of
Funding: Collie Health Foundation
refractory seizures are a significant problem in both human and canine
epilepsy. Alterations in the ABCB-1 (also known as the multidrug resistance or
MDR-1) gene have been proposed to play a role in drug-resistant epilepsy. The
ABCB-1 mutation results in loss of function of p-glycoprotein, a protein
responsible for pumping compounds out of the brain. The aim of this study was
to determine whether differences in the ABCB-1 gene are associated with seizure
control in canine epilepsy. Collies, a breed known to have a high incidence of
mutation of the ABCB-1 gene, were studied. Epileptic dogs with the mutation
were significantly more likely to have good seizure control and to be treated
with fewer antiepileptic medications than epileptic dogs that were carriers of
the mutation or that had the normal genotype. These findings suggest that
p-glycoprotein may influence seizure severity in epileptic dogs. Further study
is needed to determine whether this is a manifestation of the initial seizure
disorder or reflects a response to treatment.
further information, please contact
Toby's Foundation attended the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Epilepsy
|Pamela Douglas, President of Toby's Foundation
represented canine epilepsy at the AES conference in Boston, MA in
December 2009 shortly after Toby's death due to this disease. The AES
annual meeting attracted some 4.000 participants from around the globe.
The Society promotes research and education for professionals dedicated
to the prevention, treatment and cure of epilepsy. Even though there
were only a few of us present for canine epilepsy, this was a very
important meeting to attend for anyone interested in epilepsy'as Dr.
Patterson said to me 'Same disease different species'.
Pamela Douglas met with Dr. Ned Patterson of UMIN
at the AES meeting. Dr. Patterson is the principal investigator on the
Canine Health Foundation grant that Toby's Foundation co-sponsors for
the Australian Shepherd. Pam Douglas and Dr. Patterson discussed
epilepsy research in general and Aussie research in particular. More
Aussie samples will be analyzed in the coming months using a more
powerful SNP array that recently became available.
|The conference also provided the
opportunity to meet with world renowned researcher and geneticist Dr.
Hannes Lohi from Finland who is also working on the Aussie along with
other breeds and is collaborating with Dr. Patterson. This was our first
meeting with Dr. Lohi and it was a great opportunity to speak with him
in person. Dr. Lohi discussed the research he is doing on the Aussie and
15 other breeds.
Drs. Lohi and Patterson were at
the meeting to present their study, 'Genetic Analyses in Different
Breeds Identifies a Novel Mutation and Several New Loci in Canine Focal
Idiopathic Epilepsies' by Drs. Lohi and Patterson et al. It had been
accepted by AES for exhibit in the poster session. With respect to Dr.
Lohi's presentation on more than 15 breeds at the AES meeting Dr.
Patterson stated in a recent report that 'it is clear there are a
limited number of breeds where one gene may cause epilepsy, but in most
breeds the genetic predisposition is influenced by more than one gene
which is very likely to be the case for Aussies.'
Recruiting Dogs for
New Anticonvulsant Research
Julie Nettifee Osborne from North Carolina State University tells us
that' a new anticonvulsant has been developed by a major veterinary
recruiting dogs that are not on any anticonvulsants at this time. Feel
free to post the following link on your website,
www.helpfordogswithseizures.com The study
is nationwide and
selection criteria and study information are listed on this link.
As for the Keppra
study and the MDR study, they have both been completed, and we are in
the process of writing up the results for presentation at the ACVIM
forum in June. According to Dr. Munana, we should be able to share the
results with them within the next few months, and would appreciate them
posting the information on their website.
that are underway include a clinical study of Keppra Pharmacokinetics
when given in combination with Phenobarbital. We actually still need a
few dogs to participate that are on Phenobarbital at steady state
levels, and Keppra. They do not have to come to NCSU-CVM, we can
potentially arrange for sampling to be done and shipped to us from a
referring DVM or Neurologist'...
We have received Dr. Ned Patterson's current progress
report on the research. Some exciting highlights are:
1. The two year grant that we provide financial support for and was due to end
on March 30, 2010 will be extended an additional 6 months.
2. The researchers will analyze more Aussie
samples using the new Illumina 150,000 ' 200,000 SNP array. This new SNP array
has just become available and has much more power than the previous SNP arrays.
3. Dr. Patterson is committed to continuing the search
for markers and genes in Australian Shepherds as long as funds are available.
It is very important that we be ready to help provide the researchers with the
funds necessary to enable them to continue this vital research to find the genes
responsible for canine epilepsy and develop a screening test. We have assured
Dr. Patterson that we are committed to continuing to raise funds and help
collect blood samples for this important research and that we plan to increase
our previous giving to support the research and do everything we can to assist
him. We would like to at least double what we previously gave to support the
Dr. Patterson continues to work with Dr. Gary Johnson at the University of MO
and Dr. Hannes Lohi in Helsinki, Finland. Dr. Patterson did have opportunity to
meet with Prof. Lohi with an emphasis on the data in Aussies, ESS (and Vizslas).
Their cooperative written agreement gives our Aussies and other breeds the best
opportunity for a breakthrough and gives us the expertise and resources of each
of these researchers.
Thank you for your help! We can't do it without you!
Dr. Patterson at UMN, Dr. Johnson at UMO, and Dr. Lohi
in Finland continue their efforts to find the genes responsible for canine
Dr. Patterson reports that additional Australian Shepherd cases and controls
have been sent out for genotyping on the SNP arrays. 'This new data will be
combined with the previous data and the analysis will then be revised. Drs.
Patterson and Lohi will coordinate a concerted effort to analyze more Aussies in
the next 6 to 9 months. Dr. Johnson at UMO is also in the midst of sequencing
some interesting genes in a few of the possible areas of interest for the
Dr. Patterson has also submitted additional ESS samples to his collaborators at
the Mayo Clinic Shared Genotyping Resource. 'Our hope is that one or more areas
with an epilepsy gene of influence will now become more apparent.' Dr. Patterson
recently had 'a chance to talk in detail in person with Dr. Hannes Lohi about
all the Epilepsy projects with an emphasis on ESS, Aussies (and Vizslas).'
'It has become increasingly apparent that IE is likely to be polygenic in most
breeds. To date, to our knowledge, no IE gene has yet been identified in any
breed. Our, now formal, agreement with the U of MO and Finland allows us to
compare possible chromosomal areas across breeds - ESS and Aussie's (also
Vizlsas and other breeds) in case there is a shared gene across breeds in which
putting the data together might be more efficient in identifying the specific
There is now a formal written agreement for the sharing
of Australian Shepherd and English Springer Spaniel DNA samples and data between
Dr. Gary Johnson at University of MO, Dr. Hannes Lohi in Finland and Dr. Ned
Patterson at the University of Minnesota . Dr. Patterson has done an outstanding
job for us in working to coordinate this effort.
What this news means to us is that there are officially three researchers and
institutions sharing data about our beloved Aussie and looking at it
independently to insure that nothing is missed or overlooked. It is not too long
ago that we did not even have one researcher with a grant to look at the Aussie
and now we have three! Dr. Patterson writes that 'all three institutions are
separately analyzing all SNP data results in order to not miss any possible true
areas containing an epilepsy gene(s)'. In addition the formal agreement will
allow the researchers 'to compare chromosomal areas across breeds ' Aussie and
ESS (also Vizlas and other breeds) in case there is a shared gene across breeds
in which putting the data together might be more efficient in identifying the
Dr. Patterson reports that there are 3 chromosomal areas of mild association
from the initial data for the Australian Shepherd but since the association is
only mild 50 additional Australian Shepherd samples will be run using the SNP
chip. It is hoped that this will confirm or exclude these three areas and find
other areas of possible epilepsy gene(s). There is also one area of interest for
the English Springer Spaniel that has been observed but this association is only
mild so additional ESS samples, cases and controls, will need to be analyzed.
Toby's Foundation is dedicated to helping to stop one disease ' Canine Epilepsy.
This is a disease whose time has come' to be eliminated! We will be here until
The Australian Shepherd gets a screening test and every other breed that needs
one does too.
As we celebrate the 4th anniversary of Toby's
Foundation, the timing and tools to find a gene marker for canine epilepsy have
never been better! We are in a very good position with two outstanding
researchers, Dr. Ned Patterson at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Hannes
Lohi at the University of Helsinki, doing research on canine epilepsy in the
Australian Shepherd to find the gene(s) responsible and develop a screening
Dr. Patterson and Dr. Lohi recently had the opportunity to meet for the first
time in France in May. Dr. Patterson is coordinating with both Dr. Johnson and
Dr. Lohi. In a progress report from Dr. Patterson, he said SNP Chip analysis has
been completed on 30 affected and 30 unaffected Australian Shepherds by Dr.
Hannes Lohi in Finland in collaboration with Dr. Gary Johnson at UMO-Columbia.
Dr. Patterson at UMN is collaborating on statistical analysis of this data with
them and is prepared to perform SNP chip genotypes and analysis on 20-30
additional affected and 20-30 additional unaffected Aussies in the next 6-9
months if significant association is not found and additional power is need for
this breed. SNP markers are run by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN who
collaborate with Dr. Patterson.
AKC Canine Health Foundation Announced Funding
for Epilepsy Study for the Australian Shepherd and the English Springer Spaniel
The AKC Canine Health Foundation announced "the United
States Australian Shepherd Association, United States Australian Shepherd
Foundation, Australian Shepherd Health and Genetics Institute, Toby's Foundation
and the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association Foundation all Partner
to Contribute over $50,000 in Support."
Click here to read the
full press release.
Blood Sample Submission Updates
We have added the
Instructions information, the Dog Questionnaire and the Consent form for
Patterson at the University of Minnesota . Dr.
Patterson would like more samples from 'affected dogs, and their
unaffected relatives (2 generations any direction), and also some older (6
years or older) unaffected and unrelated dogs.' If you have already sent
Missouri , Dr.
Patterson does have access to these samples. If you want to send a
second sample to Dr.
Minnesota you can do so.
Among the things we learned at the Tufts conference focusing on canine
epilepsy and bears repeating here are the more researchers looking at the
problem the better and that ideally samples should be sent to all those who
are working on canine epilepsy for the same breed. Please see our October
2007 research updates below in which we quote Dr.
Patterson on this. If this is not possible you should at least send
to one active study and CHIC. We have been recommending CHIC for all of 2007
(it was only set up in 2006). While CHIC is not per se a research study it
is a very important repository to store samples for present and future use
by researchers. By submitting samples to CHIC you insure that samples are
there when needed for the future health of your dogs and your breed. Any
researcher can apply to CHIC to use the samples and the samples can be used
for any disease.
It is because we all did what was necessary to collect samples and raise
funds that we were poised and ready and could in fact attract other
researchers to take on the Australian Shepherd. Researchers need samples and
funds for their work and the Aussie community was ready!
WORK, PERSISTENCE and DEDICATION is PAYING OFF'WHAT A GIFT TO ALL OF US AT THIS
CHRISTMAS and HOLIDAY SEASON
TOBY'S FOUNDATION, INC. is contributing ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) to
help fund a very important and equally promising Australian Shepherd Research
Project to develop a screening genetic marker test for canine epilepsy in the
Australian Shepherd breed. The grant is co-sponsored by ASHGI, USASA, USASF and
the Canine Health Foundation (CHF) who will match each dollar that our
organizations contribute to the CHF grant for Dr. Ned Patterson at the
University of Minnesota. The grant is for SNP Association Mapping for Canine
Epilepsy. 'Dr. Ned Patterson
(Principal Investigator) is an expert in
the area of canine genetics and statistical analysis of pedigrees for heritable
traits, and a clinician at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical
Center. He will be responsible for the critical clinical diagnosis.'
Dr. Pamela C. Douglas,
President of Toby's Foundation said, 'This is something we have been vigorously
working on since first making the contact with Dr. Patterson at the Tufts
conference in September 2007. We learned there that the more researchers working
on the problem the better. Dr. Patterson told me that he had just been approved
for a SNP Association mapping grant for the English Springer spaniel and perhaps
could add Aussies to it if the Canine Health Foundation (CHF) agreed and the
wonderful news now is they have agreed! Fortunately, we were poised and ready
because we had all done our work in collecting samples and raising funds. This
is truly a united effort by the entire Australian Shepherd community. I am so
pleased and grateful for the support that we have received from everyone. I want
to mention here the Aussie breeders and owners in Finland who with only about
1500 Aussies in their country were able to collect approximately 300 samples for
Dr. Lohi even before he received the 64 samples from UMO. This is truly a
dedicated breed that we are proud to be a part of.'
Dr. Patterson is an
outstanding researcher who, as part of the consortium with UMO, has access to
our Aussie samples. With SNPs now available to be used as genetic markers for
mapping and two outstanding researchers, Dr. Patterson in Minnesota and Dr.
Hannes Lohi in Finland working on the Australian Shepherd the time has never
been better for this research. This is a two year grant. At this time we believe
that more samples from affected dogs will be needed. We will let you know about
this at a later time especially where and how to send them in.
'Of course it is always
sobering," Pamela Douglas said, "to remember why we do this' to think about all
the dogs that have been hurt and have succumbed to this disease and still will
for some years to come even after a screening test is developed but at least the
day will come when no more dogs and the people who love them will have to go
TOBY'S FOUNDATION is
dedicated exclusively to stopping canine epilepsy!
Blood Sample Submission Updates
Patterson of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine said at
the Tufts Canine and Feline Breeding and Genetics conference 'To help these
studies progress we encourage individuals to submit DNA of purebred dogs
affected with epilepsy and their relatives to the various studies. In the case
where more than one group is studying the same breed I recommend individuals
submit samples to all groups performing the studies'. Dr. Patterson said
in notes from the Tufts Conference, "there are a number of ongoing projects
trying to determine the gene or genes that cause IE (Idiopathic Epilepsy) in
various dog breeds at the University of Minnesota, the University of Missouri -
Columbia, the University of California - Davis, the University of Toronto, the
Animal Health Trust in England, A University in Finland, and at a few other
institutions." Click here to see Toby's
Foundation's recommendations for submitting your samples. The more
researchers looking at the problem the better. Researchers can't look at a breed
without samples. They would have to rely on the one study that has the samples
to share them with others. Toby's Foundation will be putting out a list of
research institutions that want samples for epilepsy research. We urge you to
send samples from your dogs directly to 2 or 3 studies not just one.
been asked about CHIC. It is a repository not a study. CHIC has only been
available for storage since 2006. It is a valuable resource that can ensure that
samples are there for the future of your breed for research into many diseases
including canine epilepsy. It certainly merits sending samples there.
We are in
an exciting time now where several research institutions and studies either are
or will be looking soon at canine epilepsy. We should support all the research
that we can that is looking at the problem of canine epilepsy. This is a complex
problem. The researchers were asked for their best estimate of how close we are
to any breed getting the breakthrough. They said about 3-5 years unless we get
lucky. Luck can happen and it recently did happen for the Aussie. Just ask Dr.
Cathryn Mellersh who said at the Tufts conference that they got lucky'Mutation
in HSF4 is associated with hereditary cataract in the Australian Shepherd.
Pamela Douglas, J.D., President of
Toby's Foundation, Inc. attended the biennial 2007 Tufts' Canine and
Feline Breeding and Genetics Conference with a Special Focus on Canine
Epilepsy in Sturbridge, MA on September 13th and 14th.
her report for the most current information on the status of canine epilepsy
North Carolina State University has sent us the following information
regarding their epilepsy research.
Click here to read the full press
attached some information that you may include on your website
or in newsletters, but in short, we are recruiting for the
Collies, Shelties and Australian Shepherds for the MDR-1 study (click
here for specifics). As long as pet owners are able to
provide a copy of a recent anticonvulsant level that is in
therapeutic range, we will send them brushes for MDR testing
that will be performed at no cost to the owner. Results of the
testing will be provided to each owner.
with Refractory Epilepsy (At least 4 seizures/month) are being
recruited for an extension of the Keppra Drug study. Dogs for
this study will have to travel to NCSU-CVM or the University of
Tennessee approximately 7-8 times over a 44-week period.
information regarding the above 2 studies, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Blood samples from epileptic dogs are still being requested for
a genetic study on canine epilepsy. For more information on
this study contact email@example.com
for all you do to help out pets and their owners!
Julie Nettifee Osborne, RVT, BS
President of Toby's Foundation attends akc/CHF
Pamela Douglas, President of Toby's
Foundation and CA Sharp, President of ASHGI, attended the sixth annual AKC/Canine
Health Foundation Gala by the Bay held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Long
Beach on December 1, 2006. This event raises funds to find cures for canince
Left to Right: CA Sharp, Erika Werne,
Canine Research & Education, and
Toby's Foundation Completes Pledge for Research
Toby's Foundation is pleased to announce completion of its $5,000.00 pledge.
Thank you to everyone who helped us reach this goal. We will, of course, not
stop here. We will continue to raise funds for the research to help stop canine
epilepsy. The funds have been placed in a Donor Advised Fund for Aussie Epilepsy
Research at the Canine Health Foundation and can be matched by them.
April, 2006 - For
Immediate Release from Pam Douglas, President Toby's Foundation
As we approach the second
anniversary of Toby's Foundation, I have some very exciting news to share with
you about the latest developments in the Aussie epilepsy research. We have gone
from less than 100 blood samples just three years ago to over 1000
Aussie samples in the database as of April 2006 as reported at the USASA
Nationals in MO! We have more samples in than
any other breed! We are a committed group of Aussie breeders, fanciers and pet
owners and the researchers have taken notice! The researchers have identified
two Aussie family groups they can begin to work with. If we
support the research now by filling in
the missing links in family groups, raising the necessary funds for the
Aussie research, submitting blood samples and if it turns out to be a simple recessive gene
(which is how it
now appears than the researchers), we may have a screening test in as little as 12-24 months. Otherwise, it
will take longer. We have never been so close! As C.A. Sharp who attended
the USASA Nationals said "We can see the light at the end of the tunnel!" We are
In addition, Toby's Foundation has joined forces
with the United States Australian Shepherd Foundation (USASF) and the Australian
Shepherd Health and Genetics Institute (ASHGI) to raise $70,00.00 for Aussie
epilepsy research. Toby's Foundation pledged $5,000.00 to this
joint effort. The funds will go to the Canine Health Foundation (CHF) and be
placed in a donor advised fund (DAF) designated for Aussie epilepsy research.
UMO is applying to CHF for grants and Erika Werne, Director of Canine Research and Education at CHF has told us that she
will need the support of the Aussie community to raise some of the necessary
funds to qualify for matching funds. Our $5,000.00 pledge will then become
$10,000.00 as they match it dollar for dollar. Our joint ad with ASHGI and
USASF will be out in the May/June 2006 issue of Aussie Times and the AS Journal.
All funds received as such will be sent to
a Donor Advised Fund (DAF) at the Canine Health Foundation (CHF). Please help us
raise the necessary funds for this vital research. While we have accomplished a
lot there is still a lot to be done. With your support we shall be able to
continue our work to defeat canine epilepsy. We have no time to waste. We must
not lose our present momentum! We must stay on track!
Please click here to see the action
items necessary to support our researchers with samples and more information.
October, 2005 -
Pamela Douglas attended the ASCA Nationals.
We attended a seminar by Liz Hansen
during nationals that gave an epilepsy research update.
The good news'there are over 700
Aussies sampled as of
October 2005! The bad news'there are a lot of
'holes' in families.
92 of the samples
are from affected dogs. Toby is one of the 92 affected
dogs, but because of confidentiality, we don't know the
identity of the others.
We are asking the owners of the 92 affected dogs to
join us in making sure that all of the dogs (both
affected and unaffected siblings, parents, grandparents,
and offspring) related to your dog submit a
blood sample to the University of Missouri. It is very
important that we have complete family information from
all affected dogs and their relatives.
Please do everything you can to get the samples
submitted from all of your dog's relatives.