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 but may also affect younger dogs.
Myoclonus (jerking) is a feature of Lafora, characteristically induced by flashing lights, sudden sounds and movement (especially 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 other neurological deficits such as ataxia, blindness and dementia may 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 others elsewhere, what ever type of dog you own.
Kennel Club Approved DNA Test
In March 2014, the Kennel Club approved the DNA Lafora test developed in Canada. Copies of tests will now be sent direct to the Kennel Club, where results will be added to the dog’s registration details, triggering publication of results in the next Breed Supplement, any new registration certificate, on certificates of any future progeny, and on the Kennel Club Health Test Results website. Press Release Kennel Club Assured Breeding Scheme members: Lafora is currently classified as a ‘recommended’ DNA test. To avoid producing more lafora affected puppies, ALL UK breeders have a responsibility to know the status of their dogs before breeding, including the status of Stud Dogs. Only puppies from clear/clear are definitely OK to use as breeding stock without testing as they are Hereditary Clear. Dogs from the other ‘safe’ combinations should either be screened before breeding or bred only to a known Hereditary Clear dogs. Any dogs from ’unsafe’ combinations should always be tested before breeding. The Dachshund Breed Council’s FAQ document (Oct 2012) includes a pictorial guide to the genetics of Lafora Disease to help breeders make the most responsible breeding decisions to avoid producing further Lafora Affected puppies. If you are a breeder you might want to start with our new Lafora Information for Breeders section. Our About Lafora pages explain how to get your dog tested as well as more detail about the condition and the genetics behind it. 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. 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. Thinking of buying a puppy? Go to Advice for Puppy Buyers. Many vets are not aware of Lafora, so take along a copy of the latest Dachshund Breed Council’s fact sheet (coming soon) if you think this condition might fit your dog’s symptoms. If you’d like more information or to tell us about your own dog, contact us at email@example.com.
Next Testing Opportunity:
The Kennel Club Approved Lafora DNA test is available from Dr Berge Minassian at the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada, with support from the Wirehaired Dachshund Club (WHDC). The test costs approximately £225 including courier and vet fees but a subsidy is available for a limited period if tested via the WHDC regular bulk testing sessions in the UK, minimising vet and courier fees and simplifying the testing process for owners. The total subsidised price is £150 inclusive. A further subsidy is available for those wishing to upgrade their test result from “unaffected” to “Carrier” or “Clear” status. Please visit www.whdc.co.uk for the latest news or contact a member of the testing team to confirm the date of the next testing session: firstname.lastname@example.org To contact Dr Minassian send an email to email@example.com. Owners must organise their own test, courier paperwork and ament etc. Dr Minassian shares all results with the WHDC as well as the Kennel Club
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.