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Table 3 Depicting breed-specific epilepsy prevalence estimates

From: International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force’s current understanding of idiopathic epilepsy of genetic or suspected genetic origin in purebred dogs

Breed Prevalence Country Number of dogs Study information/Epilepsy definition Reference
Belgian Tervueren 17 % USA Complete records of 997 dogs containing 170 epileptic dogs. Data collection late 1980s. Dogs were included as epilepsy cases when they experienced at least one seizure. Only dogs, which were at least five years of age at the time of the survey were included in the analysis to avoid censoring those individuals, which may have had their first seizure later in life. Famula et al. 1997 [38]
Belgian Shepherd (Tervueren and Groenendael) 9.5 % Denmark 1.248 registered dogs in the Danish Kennel Club, representative sample with interview of 516 dog owners identifying 49 epileptic dogs. Data collection 1995–2004. Dogs that had experienced two or more seizures were defined as epilepsy cases. Berendt et al. 2008 [23]
Belgian Shepherd (Tervueren and Groenendael) 33 % Denmark 199 family members (152 Groenendael and 47 Tervueren) containing 66 epileptic dogs (53 Groenendael & 13 Tervueren). Data collection 1988–2005. Dogs that had experienced two or more seizures were defined as epilepsy cases. Berendt et al. 2009 [41]
One large family
Border Terrier 13,1 % Germany Records of 365 dogs containing 47 epileptic individuals. Data collection from 1986–2000. Not provided Kloene et al. 2008 [56]
Irish Wolfhound 18.3 % USA 796 Irish Wolfhounds from 115 litters with 146 identified epilepsy cases. Dogs that had experienced  more than 2 seizures. Average inbreeding coefficient (calculated throughout 10 generations) for all the dogs entered into the study was 0.156. Casal et al. 2006 [24]
Labrador Retriever 3.1 % Denmark 29.602 Danish Labrador retrievers registered in the Danish Kennel Club in a 10-year period. From the reference population a representative sample of 550 dogs were selected for by random sampling stratified by year of birth. After questionnaire interviews of all 550 dog-owners and clinical investigation of epilepsy suspected dogs, 17 dogs were finally identified with idiopathic epilepsy. Data collection 1989–1999. Dogs that had experienced two or more recurrent seizures. Berendt et al. 2002 [26]
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV) 8.9 % Denmark 876 PBGV dogs registered in the Danish Kennel Club (56 dogs were exported), 471 owner interviews identified 42 epileptic individuals. Data collection 1999–2008. Dogs that had experienced at least 2 seizures with a minimum interval of 24 h. Gulløv et al. 2011 [25]
Finnish Spitz Dog 5.4 % Finland The epilepsy prevalence was calculated for the dogs that were living when their owners answered a questionnaire (111 epilepsy cases/2.069 total dogs). The questionnaire was sent to all owners of 1- to 10-year-old dogs during the period from June 2003 to July 2004. Dogs that had experienced at least 2 seizure episodes without interictal neurologic abnormalities. Viitmaa et al. 2013 [82]
Italian Spinone 5.3 % UK The owners of all UK Kennel Club registered Italian Spinoni born between 2000 and 2011 (n = 3331) were invited to participate in the study. Of these, 1192 returned the phase I questionnaire and 63 dogs (5.3 %) were identified with idiopathic epilepsy. Of the remaining dogs 0.6 % were identified with structural epilepsy, 0.6 % were identified with reactive epileptic seizures and 1.5 % had unclassified epilepsy. Recurrent seizures (≥2 seizures occurring >24 h apart) with an onset between 6 months and 6 years of age in dogs with normal interictal physical and neurologic examinations and results of a CBC and biochemistry profile within the normal reference range. DeRisio et al. 2015 [93]