Clemson Canine Genetics

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Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that affects collies and many other dog breeds and has been a primary focus of canine genetics research. Idiopathic epilepsy is the classification of epilepsy in which no structural or metabolic causes have been detected, so it is suspected to be genetic in origin.

The goal of our study is to understand the genetic basis of idiopathic epilepsy in collies. We are collecting samples from both epileptic and healthy collies. Because of the close genetic relationship between collies and Shetland sheepdogs, we are also collecting samples from epileptic Shelties.

We are seeking blood samples from dogs that meet the following criteria:

Epileptic collies/Shelties:

  • Have been diagnosed with epilepsy by a veterinarian
  • Diagnostic examinations have yielded unremarkable results

Healthy collies:

  • Are at least 8 years of age
  • Have not experienced any seizures
  • Have no known relatives affected with epilepsy

If you would like more information or are interested in participating, please contact Elizabeth Greif at

Shihab N, Bowen J, Volk HA (2011). Behavioral changes in dogs associated with the development of idiopathic epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 21(2):160-167.

Meland T and Carrera-Justiz S (2018). A Review: Emergency Management of Dogs With Suspected Epileptic Seizures. Top Companion Anim Med. 33(1):17-20.

This work is supported by the Collie Health Foundation