Help Research On Spike’s Disease

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My dear Border Terrier friends, owners and lovers, firstly and foremostly, let me wish you a belated Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2019!!!

I don’t know whether you have made any resolution yet, and whether your New Year Resolutions involve your Borders. As far as I am concerned, and following a very nice virtual encounter I had over the Christmas period, my resolution is to talk more about CECS, to raise more awareness on this website as well as on social media, and to encourage you all to help research on this terrible disease.


My Virtual Encounter

Yes, I was not much productive in terms of writing on this website over the Christmas period. I had a to take a step back from publishing here over Christmas, for nothing else but purely as I was busy with … well yes, I was busy with Christmas. I never cope very well with Christmas after all, as I find it too hectic a time of the year. And to be honest, I think this year Indy found the three weeks to hectic too!

But something interesting happened to me in these last few days. I was approached on Facebook Messenger by a lovely gentleman by the name of Gale Lance.

Gale and Jan Lance are owners of Border Terriers, but one of their Borders, Kes, is a CECS sufferer. And that is what prompted them to put together a Facebook page, as a means to gather as much information on CECS, as well as to offer support to owners of affected dogs.

Click on the picture here below to access the Facebook page Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome.


Do Vets Help?

What Lance told me on CECS is really enlightening and I want to share it with you.

From the small scale research I had done on CECS prior to writing my articles, but mostly from the comments I received from concerned owners of suffering Borders, I had a funny feeling that vets are not really aware. Nor worried as such.

I felt that most vets either mistake the symptoms for epilepsy – understandably to an extent – and start treating dogs with the relative drugs. And when the drugs do not succeed, they refer to Neurology.

But the most disconcerting thing is that, when vets are asked about CECS by owners that may have read about it, my understanding is that vets have no knowledge whatsoever of the condition.

This, in my mind is a worry.

Don’t get me wrong, a lot of vets know their stuff and do their homework when put before the symptoms, and they do a prompt referral. But it still appears that the majority of vet surgeries are unaware or not knowledgeable enough.

Unfortunately, through his much vaster experience, Lance only confirmed my feelings. And he told me how we Border Terrier owners can help in our little.


How Can Border Terriers Owners Help Research on CECS

Lance has now joined forces with a researcher called Michelle Barnett and with Animal Health Trust, in putting together a database of DNA collected from as many Borders as possible. This is something that Border Terrier Welfare are also supporting.

The DNA is welcomed from any age and sex sample, from affected subjects as well as from healthy subjects.

This is a post that Lance wrote on his FB page on New Year Day. I would like you to read it, as tells us how we can help.

So, as you can see, there is a double effort being put in defeating this disease.

On one hand, neurologists are studying the causes of the disease in order to eradicate it. On the other hand, however, the purpose of the database and of the collection of DNA is so as to prevent an affected branch from breeding, hence to remove the risk of the disease being transmitted to future generations.

I am not an expert on breed management, but I find this short of fascinating. And it is such a small ask of us!


Have You Got Your DNA Kit Yet?

Yes, today I have formally requested for a DNA kit for Indy. They are delivered free of charge, and all we have to do is pay the postage to return the kit. I know the kit is going to be painless to use on my Indy.

On Lance’s FB page you are going to find all the relevant instructions to request for a kit, but here’s a summary for you:

Again, you can find the exact same instructions by Lance on his Facebook page – click on the above picture to be redirected.

The way I see it is this.

I have watched videos of Borders affected by Spike’s Disease. It is not a pretty sight. And the fact that we have been lucky with our Indy does not mean that we shouldn’t care for other affected dogs.

Without wanting to dramatise, but it could be that our next Border may be affected, and if this were the case, we would want veterinary science to be able to do something to help our dog as much as science has been able to support us when our Indy was found to have cancer.

It is thanks to progress in veterinary science that our Indy is still with us, still enjoying his retiree life and, mostly, pain free.

If we can help research on CECS in any way, without causing any harm to our Indy, we will. I am sure you will want to contribute too.

I shall be posting more about this, once we receive the kit.  In the meantime, you are welcome to leave your comment below, if you have already taken part in this research, or if your dog has been found to be a carrier.  Has the carrying gene affected your dog in any way, is your dog suffering from CECS, how do you feel about this collection of DNA samples?  Share your thoughts with us.  Let’s talk about CECS!

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