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J Vet Intern Med. 2007 May-Jun;21(3):464-71.

Benign familial juvenile epilepsy in Lagotto Romagnolo dogs.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland.



Idiopathic childhood epilepsies with benign outcomes are well recognized in human medicine, but are not reported in veterinary literature. We recognized such a neurologic syndrome in Lagotto Romagnolo dogs.


Twenty-five Lagotto Romagnolo puppies from 9 different litters examined because of simple or complex focal seizures and 3 adult Lagotto Romagnolo dogs exhibiting similar clinical signs were used.


Clinical and diagnostic evaluations of affected dogs were conducted, including electromyography, electroencephalography, and other testing.


Seizures in puppies began at 5 to 9 weeks of age and usually resolved spontaneously by 8 to 13 weeks. Those with the most severe seizures also had signs of neurologic disease between these seizures, including generalized ataxia and hypermetria. There were no abnormalities in routine laboratory screenings of blood, urine, and cerebrospinal fluid. Electromyography, brainstem auditory-evoked potentials, and magnetic resonance imaging revealed no specific and consistent abnormalities. Fourteen of 16 (87.5%) affected puppies and 2 of 3 (67%) adult dogs revealed epileptiform activity in the electroencephalogram. Histopathologic examination in 1 puppy and 1 adult dog revealed lesions of Purkinje cell inclusions and vacuolation of their axons restricted to the cerebellum. Pedigree analysis suggests an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.


This disorder, with simple or complex focal seizures and cerebellar lesions, represents a newly recognized epileptic syndrome in dogs.

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