A Plea for Penny
Diana Richardson has written to Lesley Patton, Chair of the Wirehair Dachshund Club re Lafora. Her letter is reproduced here in full:
Penny and Lafora:
I wish to offer my strongest support for the Lafora Carrier/Clear Testing Program. My reasons being I have had first hand experience of the disease. My MWHD Penny was diagnosed with Lafora in 2004.
Getting the initial diagnosis was a complete up hill struggle. When the symptoms first started my vet said it was epilepsy and medicated accordingly, I was not happy with the diagnosis I felt that there was something else underlying and after a great deal of persistence on my part I got a referral to Susan Fitzmaurice at Wey Referrals, the outcome Penny was suffering from Lafora Disease.
That diagnosis completely changed all of our lives.
Lafora is a terrible disease to live with, Grand Mals, Petit Mals, Terror Attacks, Jerking Jaw Snapping, Ataxia to name but a few.
Having to trawl the Internet for information on the disease because at the time there was no help or advice from any groups, I had to inform my own vet about Lafora because they did not have a clue and later had to brief subsequent vets because they also had never heard of the disease.
Things are now changing with information available within the Dachshund Forum and Lafora Support Group, however this is still not enough. In my experience most vets are still unaware of the disease and therefore misdiagnosis will happen and has happened and because of the late onset of the disease (between the ages of 5 to 8 many breeders will be blissfully unaware if they have a problem within their breeding lines.
If you put misdiagnosis and late onset together I believe you will have more MWHD suffering from Lafora disease than first anticipated. I have since lost both of my dogs. They were my companions for 12 years and to live with this disease for the last 5 years of Penny’s life was soul destroying. I love the mini wire haired breed but I refuse to look at getting another MWHD until Lafora testing becomes a requirement.
This disease needs to be taken seriously and I do hope with all sincerity that the Lafora Carrier/Clear Testing Program goes ahead sooner rather than later.