Characterization of a dopamine transporter polymorphism and behavior in Belgian Malinois

EXCERPT from study: Owners have reported seizures and unpredictable behavioral changes including dogs’ eyes “glazing over,” dogs’ lack of response to environmental stimuli, and loss of behavioral inhibition including owner-directed biting behavior. Dogs with severe behavioral changes may be euthanized as they can represent a danger to humans and other dogs. In the dog, the dopamine transporter gene (DAT) contains a 38-base pair variable number tandem repeat (DAT-VNTR); alleles have either one or two copies of the 38-base pair sequence. The objective of this study was to assess frequency of DAT-VNTR alleles, and characterize the association between DAT-VNTR alleles and behavior in MAL and other breeds.


After Chancellor’s death nine months ago (1/24/2015), it was hard to come back to this blog although it is so important to continue it as dogs suffer from seizures these days and very little is known about the why.  When to or even if you should start meds is based on speculation most often and predicting seizures is still an ongoing research, although a specific DNA strand (article in posts below) has been discovered in Belgian Tervurens.  Here are two articles – a good pro article by Dr. Jean Dodds and a counter blog (just because that is the reporter or questioning part of me – cover both sides) from the SkepVet who really doesn’t name themself in their blog or about section.  Both are good reading – and it is hoped that dollars will be advocated to truly do scientific experimentation on seizures.  If there is one thing about scienctific studies, it is that those who complete them know they can be proven wrong also as new studies appear.  Form your own opinions from two very good and thought-provoking information.

Dr. Jean Dodds, Review of Seizures/Epilepsy in Animals Coauthored with Diana R. Laverdure
Dedicated to the memory of our dear friend and trailblazer, Joanne Carson, PhD, Founder of Canine Epilepsy Guardian Angels

SkepVet blog

I will post once again, because I believe there is very little actually scientific research, study, education in veterinarian practices on seizures, all the types of seizures, to medicate or not and on and on.  Everyday for the six and a half years Chancellor had seizures I researched, I studied, I talked about it, I observed it – and the four and a half years prior as the symptoms started to emerge, the genetics became apparent and so much more.  Living it in real life and seeing it in client dogs is much different than the laboratory – but that is needed as well – where do the scientists start in this complicated world called seizures in dogs. Well, that is what this blog is about – and not being afraid to present the pros and cons.


RIP Chancellor 4/03/2004 to 1/24/2015. Peace, protection and healing are his now. He filled my life with joy despite his seizures and I am happy he no longer has to experience them. I will continue the work he started here – just shy of his 11th birthday – he passed away after a 2 minute seizure, a brief calm period in my arms and without pain. He passed away in his own home, surrounded by his things and people who loved him. To be grieving is an understatement, Chancellor was my partner, my friend, my confidante, my heart and soul dog. His short life taught so much – and that piece will carry on leaving Chancellor’s legacy bright.


The outpouring of love for him has been overwhelming and I am sure he is enjoying his wings!

This might be Chancellor’s final chapter here on earth, but the research on canine seizures should not end. There are many types and I think more attention is being paid to this malady in veterinarian conferences and education. These dogs can live full lives, do life-changing work, and manage seizures with medication, which is getting better all the time. It doesn’t make them any less of a companion.

Chancellor love water, waves, ocean

Chancellor love water, waves, ocean

Goodbye my dear Chancellor. Walk with me now, seizure free.

My beautiful Chancellor

My beautiful Chancellor

Since Chancellor’s neuter at 10 years old in April 2014 our seizure activity increased from 3 to 5 times a year back to every 14 to 21 days (as in the beginning 5 years ago). This seizure was 34 days from the last one and so a good reprieve – with tweaking I am hoping to give Chancellor longer reprieves between seizures.

From the neuter we had a short period of urinary incontinence where he had to wear a belly band – but that is gone now. We also were decreasing his kBr from 3.25 to 2.75 as levels were high. Last level was 3.2 (so still high) – should be between 1.0 and 3.0, so will further reduce dosage – first to 2.5, then 2.25, and hoping for 2 MLs.

So we’ve had some changes to our fastidious plan – neuter, dosage changes, hormonal interruption – all had an effect. Still I am hopeful for extensions – as Chancellor gets older the seizures take a bigger toll. He is not as steady on his feet either anymore and arthritis is setting in – still we are beach walking which is his most favorite thing to do and hope to do 80 miles around our island. He wears a life jacket, of course, and a long line for safety. He has a great quality of life!

very confusing web page just keep hitting various links to get the full scoop
The alternative for medical cannabis – hemp product for seizure control

Blood Brain Barrier in Idiopathic Epilepsy in Dogs

Acid extrusion via blood brain barrier causes brain alkolosis and seizures after neonatal asphyxia
A growing body of literature indicates an association between antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and bone disease, including histologic, radiographic, and biochemical evidence. The AEDs most commonly reported to cause decreased bone mineral density and disorders of bone metabolism are inducers of the cytochrome P450 enzyme system (phenobarbital, phenytoin, carbamazepine, primidone).