While not wanting to be accused of rumour spreading, it has been brought to our attention that an ex TDR breeder has bred from a dog that later died of epilepsy.   This ex breeder is continuing to advertise the daughter of the epileptic dog (a carrier of the disease) as a breeding dog and has produced a litter of puppies, one of which has been delivered to a Tamaskan breeder in America and is being advertised as a foundation stud dog despite warnings about these progeny being potential carriers of the disease. 

Blustag Star Dust at Alba was the female (now deceased) who was a carrier of this disease, her daughter Alba Sumarlidl and son, Alba Brun at Takari.

*NB    No dog produced by Blustag Star Dust at Alba or her parents are being used by the Tamaskan Dog Register to prevent the spread of this painful and ultimately fatal disease.

If any of these dogs are in your pedigree then I would suggest that these dogs be spayed or castrated and NOT used for breeding.

Epilepsy has affected five registered Tamaskan. We believe we have traced the epilepsy back to two lines, Keisha and Cougar. We believe these are the two dogs responsible for passing on the epilepsy.

Cougar is found in two of the three affected dogs and we have now found out he has passed epilepsy onto other (non Tamaskan) dogs.   In light of this all of Cougars progeny has now been removed from the Tamaskan breeding program.  Cougar produced two dogs that were used in the Tamaskan breed, Blustag Care Bear at Alba (who is still being used for breeding by Alba kennels, who is no longer registered with the TDR) and TdCh Blustag Star Burst who has now been removed from breeding. Unfortunately there is no DNA test to show which dogs are carrying this disease and the TDR can only make an educated guess after studying pedigrees

There are three types of epilepsy in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary.

Reactive epileptic seizures are caused by metabolic issues, such as low blood sugar or kidney or liver failure.

Epilepsy caused by problems such as a brain tumor, stroke, or other trauma is known as secondary, or symptomatic, epilepsy.

In primary, or idiopathic, epilepsy, there is no known cause. This type of epilepsy is diagnosed by eliminating other possible causes for the seizures. Dogs with primary epilepsy experience their first seizure between the ages of one and three. However, the age of diagnosis is only one factor in diagnosing canine epilepsy


Recurrent unprovoked seizures. Dogs can become dangerous and aggresive during these seizures.

Generalized Seizure: Tonic-clonic (may be Grand Mal or Mild): In the grand mal seizure, the tonic phase occurs as the animal falls, loses consciousness, and extends its limbs rigidly. Respiration also stops (apnea). This phase usually lasts 10-30 seconds before the clonic phase begins. Clonic movements include paddling of the limbs and/or chewing. Other signs that appear during the tonic or clonic phase are dilation of the pupils, salivation, urination, and defecation. The mild seizure involves little or no paddling or extension of limbs, and usually no loss of consciousness. Generalized seizures are usually associated with primary epilepsy.

Petit Mal Seizure (aka Absence Seizure): Depending on the authority quoted, petit mals are described as either very rare or usually unrecognized in animals. Signs are brief (seconds) duration of unconsciousness, loss of muscle tone, blank stare, and possibly upward rotation of eyes. According to one authority (Kay), the term petit mal is misused by veterinarians and should only be accorded to cases manifesting very specific clinical signs and EEG abnormalities.

Partial Seizures: Movements are restricted to one area of the body, such as muscle jerking, movement of one limb, turning the head or bending the trunk to one side, or facial twitches. A partial seizure can progress to (and be mistaken for) a generalized tonic-clonic seizure, but the difference can be established by noting whether or not a seizure starts with one specific area of the body. Partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy.

Complex Partial Seizures (aka Psychomotor or Behavioral): Seizures: are associated with bizarre or complex behaviors that are repeated during each seizure. People with complex partial seizures experience distortions of thought, perception or emotion (usually fear), sometimes with unusual visual, olfactory, auditory and gustatory sensations. If dogs experience the same things, it may explain the lip-smacking, chewing, fly biting, aggression, vocalization, hysterical running, cowering or hiding in otherwise normal animals. Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distress, salivation, blindness, unusual thirst or appetite, and flank biting are other signs. There is an obvious lack of awareness though usually not lack of consciousness. Abnormal behaviors may last minutes or hours and can be followed by a generalized seizure. Complex partial seizures are usually associated with secondary epilepsy.

Cluster Seizures: Multiple seizures within a short period of time with only brief periods of consciousness in between. May be confused with status epilepticus.

Status Epilepticus: Status can occur as one continuous seizure lasting 30 minutes or more, or a series of multiple seizures in a short time with no periods of normal consciousness. It can be difficult to tell status epilepticus from frequent cluster seizures; but both are considered life-threatening emergencies. Most status patients usually suffer from generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Though status epilepticus can occur with either primary or secondary epilepsy, it may also suddenly arise in dogs with no previous history of seizures (traumatic brain injury, toxins, or disease).


Medical treatment is generally advised for animals who have one or more seizures per month. Successful drug therapy depends upon the owner's dedication to delivering the drug exactly as prescribed, with absolutely NO changes in the dose or type of medication without veterinary consultation. Haphazard drug administration or abrupt changes in medication is worse than no treatment at all.

Phenobarbitol is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs. Frey reports that while dogs rapidly develop tolerance to the sedative and hypnotic effects of phenobarbitol, at high concentrations tolerance may be lost and persistent depressive side effects may appear. Dogs may eat or drink more than their usual amounts. Liver function can be impaired. When use of the drug is terminated, signs of physical dependence (tremors, uncoordination, restlessness, seizures) may develop. There is danger of triggering status epilepticus during withdrawal. To avoid this, dosages should be gradually reduced in small steps over a prolonged period.

Primidone's side effects include sedation when treatment is initiated, and eating or drinking more than usual. High concentrations of liver enzymes have been reported with prolonged treatment at high dosages.

Diazepam (Valium) is used for treatment of status epilepticus. Phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazine, and valproic acid are not currently recommended for use.

Potassium bromide (KBr) is gaining new recognition for use in refractory (difficult to control) canine epilepsy, though used to treat human epileptics as early as 1857. It is the anticonvulsant of choice for dogs with liver disease. Sodium bromide is preferred for dogs with kidney problems. Combining potassium bromide or sodium bromide and phenobarbitol may be useful for patients who do not respond well to phenobarbital or primidone alone.


These range from acupuncture to vitamin therapy. Traditional acupuncture therapy for epileptic dogs involves the placement of needles in up to 10 areas of the body. Needles can be left in place from 20 minutes to over a month.

Holistic veterinarian Roger DeHaan, DVM states that some forms of epilepsy respond to supplementation of vitamin B6, magnesium, and manganese. Drs. Wendell Belfield and Martin Zucker stated that "It has long been known that a deficiency of vitamin B6 or any interference with its function can cause seizures in any mammalian species, including man and dog".


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