The International Cane Corso Federation Club has decided to take action and move forward with advancing the health and future of the Cane Corso by working with the University of Missouri to initiate a breed specific epilepsy research study.
University of Missouri Canine Epilepsy Project
This study will require everyone to work together in hopes of eliminating this devastating disease from our beloved Cane Corso. The goal is to identify the gene(s) responsible for genetic/inheritable epilepsy (sometimes referred to as idiopathic epilepsy). Through identification the hope is to be able to evaluate Corsos for their propensity to produce epilepsy in their offspring. This is a significant undertaking that will take time, resources, and financial support.
What can you do to help?
- If you have a Cane Corso who has seizures which have been diagnosed as epilepsy, you can submit a blood sample from your dog to the University of Missouri. The University of Missouri does not charge for sample submission, but does request that you fill out some forms with information about your dog, his/her pedigree, and specifics about your dog’s seizures. Sample submission will be kept under a strict confidentiality agreement. The University of Missouri will not release any information about dogs who have had samples submitted to anyone other than the owner of the dog, and in some cases (when permitted) the breeder.
- If you know anyone who has a Cane Corso who has seizures, encourage them to submit a blood sample from their dog to the University of Missouri and fill out the appropriate paperwork. Assure them that it will be confidential.
- If you are a breeder and have produced epilepsy, the University of Missouri has placed emphasis on the value of sample submission from family groups. Remember, sample submissions are kept confidential. They are specifically looking for:
- Blood sample from an affected dog (dog with seizures) who displays the classic symptoms as seen in the Cane Corso. (Grand Mal or Tonic Clonic seizures which start around 12-24 months which are mildly responsive or not responsive to anticonvulsant therapies.)
- Blood sample from the affected dog’s dam.
- Blood sample from the affected dog’s sire.
- Blood sample from a littermate to the affected dog, which also has seizures.
- Blood sample from a littermate to the affected dog, which does not have seizures.
Click here for sample submission information
- Donate funds to support this research! While the University of Missouri does have grants for epilepsy research in dogs, these grants do not guarantee any Cane Corso specific research. The cost to map the genome of a single dog is $2,500, and in order for us to achieve success, we expect multiple Corsos will need to be mapped.
- Donations can be made to the ICCF Club (see button below) and forwarded to the University of Missouri.
- Donations can be made directly to the University of Missouri using this form (also attached below) and are tax deductible. We have already filled in the appropriate information to assure that donations sent in go directly to the Cane Corso Epilepsy Research project.
How does it work?
Once enough funds have been raised to begin the genetic mapping, the University of Missouri will begin their work. They will start by mapping the genome of one affected Cane Corso. Using their extensive database of information they already have about epilepsy in other breeds, they will then compare that Corso’s genome to the genomes of Corsos with other known and identified neurological diseases in the Cane Corso, such as Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis, to rule out those disorders as the causation for the seizures. They will then compare the areas known to influence epilepsy in that Corso’s genetic map to all of the other Cane Corso samples, which have been submitted, to evaluate trends and commonalities. This is why it is so important that you submit samples of your affected dogs.
Once they have come up with a list of genes that are considered suspicious, they will then begin mapping the genome of a known relative to the original dog and evaluate the two together. The information drawn from this can point them in multiple directions which may require that they start over, or that they continue in the same direction to prove a theory.
This can, and will, take a long time. This explanation is an oversimplification to a very complicated process. What we would like to achieve is identification of the gene or genes responsible, identification of the mode of inheritance, and a more simplified test to evaluate dogs for their risk of reproducing this disease.
If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to contact Stephanie Rudderow.
Download Donation Form File
University of Missouri School of Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine Neurodegenerative Diseases Research
The Health and Genetics Committee firmly believes any research geared toward learning about crippling diseases is definitely worth your time and effort to contribute.
There has been much confusion about the Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinoses (or NCL) study, which we would like to clarify: This study is not about idiopathic epilepsy in the Cane Corso. It is confusing because both have an affiliation with the University of Missouri, and the NCL study mentions seizures as a symptom, but the two studies have nothing to do with each other.
For more detailed information on NCL and the correlations with seizures please see this informative article.
A Final Note...
In regards to epilepsy in the Cane Corso, the International Cane Corso Federation Club feels the Corso specific research with the Canine Epilepsy Network at the University of Missouri has the greatest value, however we owe it to the breed and to our pets to support research. The University of Missouri happens to be the University where the NCL study is being performed AND it is the University where we have initiated a Cane Corso specific Epilepsy research study, and the two overlap! If you have a dog with seizures, it is imperative that you send in a blood sample from your dog to the University of Missouri. Following the link on this page will take you to the sample submission portion where they expect you to fill out detailed information regarding your dog’s seizures and history. As part of the epilepsy research project, the University of Missouri will cross reference your dog’s DNA with the identified Cane Corso specific Lysosome mutation causing NCL. This means, by submitting a blood sample to the University of your dog, who has seizures, you are actually supporting BOTH research efforts!
Sample submission is free outside of the cost from your veterinarian to draw blood and ship it. Also, sample submission for Cane Corso Epilepsy research is CONFIDENTIAL. There is not public report of dogs being used and they will not give information of the dogs currently in their study.
If you do not have a dog with seizures, gait instability, or vision changes, don’t flood the NCL research with unnecessary sample submissions, as this will delay the success of the research. Instead, donate! Funds are required in order for the Cane Corso Epilepsy Research and NCL research to move forward. Donations are tax deductable, too. Be sure to use the form linked above, as it indicates that your donation is to go to Cane Corso Epilepsy. Again, all blood samples will be cross referenced with the NCL research to eliminate NCL as a possible, although seemingly unlikely at this point, cause of the seizures. If you have any questions about either of these research projects, please contact us.