Canine Lafora Information and Support
Lafora Disease is an inherited form of epilepsy which can occur spontaneously in any breed of dog, but it particularly affects the miniature wire-haired dachshund, bassett hound and beagle. Typically signs first appear in animals at any time over 5 years age and both sexes can be affected, but anecdotally may affect younger dogs (please let us know if you think this is the case).
Myoclonus (jerking) is a feature of the disease and characteristically this can be induced by flashing lights, sudden sounds and movement (especially that close to the dog’s head). Generalised or complex partial seizures may be seen in some dogs. The disease progresses slowly over many years and gradually other neurological deficits such as ataxia, blindness and dementia occur. Dogs may have a near normal life expectancy, though as quality of life diminishes, the owner may be forced to take the ultimate tragic decision.
The Laforadogs Support Group aims to be a positive force for those owners who need answers themselves and are keen that other dogs (and their owners) do not face the same fate. Whilst our focus is on the UK mini wire population because this is where the biggest problem has been identified to date, we hope that the information on this website will help you, wherever you are in the world and what ever type of dog you own.
Our About Lafora pages contain information on the background to the condition, important information on how to get your dog tested, and what is currently being done to try to reduce the number of affected dogs in the future. If you have an affected dog, find information on what you can do to help cope in the Lafora Management section , based on other owners’ personal experience.
Find out more about our Laforadogs group, read moving tributes by owners about their dogs in Blogs on Dogs, see our Gallery pages or check out the News page for regular updates on Lafora and other Dachshund related health issues. If you are a breeder or would like to know more about breeders supporting lafora testing, go to our new Breeders section.
If you’d like more information or to tell us about your own dog, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To print a copy of the Dachshund Breed Council’s Lafora Dachs-Fact sheet, open it here: Dach-Facts Lafora V3.
UK WHDC Lafora Testing Programme
For the last three years, a number of breeders and private owners have submitted dogs for testing via the WHDC Lafora Testing Programme. It has been a long and difficult road with many setbacks along the way. On April 17th 2013, we finally heard the exciting news we’ve been waiting for for months. Click here to read more. Anyone who would like to get involved in the next round of testing or needs additional specific information should contact one of the Lafora Team: Sue Holt or Nora Price, or drop me a line at email@example.com.
The Dachshund Breed Council’s FAQ document , released in October 2012 also includes a pictorial guide to the genetics of Lafora Disease to help breeders make the most responsible decision, with the available information, and to avoid producing further Lafora Affected puppies. Remember, up to 1 in 10 Mini Wire puppies are currently at risk of Lafora Disease. That proportion can be reduced by making use of the available information on current dogs’ Lafora status.
This is particularly important if you are considering breeding from your dog. Click here for the latest news, here for how to get involved, or here for the latest test results (note, this area is being updated constantly).
Lafora Progression Survey
We are working with Dr Clare Rusbridge, Veterinary Neurologist, to collect data on affected dogs for clinical research into the diagnosis, onset, progression and impact of the disease. If you’d like to get involved, or know of other dogs with similar symptoms, please go to the Progression Survey page to find out more or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.