The AKC Canine Health Foundation Commits $268,000 to Combat Epilepsy and Hypothyroidism in Dogs

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The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) announces the funding of grants for canine epilepsy and hypothyroidism.

By helping our dogs we potentially unlock better treatments for ourselves.-Dr. Shila Nordone

The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) today announces the funding of two grants for canine epilepsy and one grant for canine hypothyroidism. These grants, totaling over $268,000 in funding will ultimately equip veterinarians with more effective treatments and researchers with a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that cause these diseases.

“With input from breed clubs, dog owners and experts in veterinary medicine, canine epilepsy and hypothyroidism were identified as major health initiatives that required further study,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, CHF’s Chief Scientific Officer. “One Health is an important criterion for the research funding we award. These health concerns not only impact our dogs, but they impact many dog owners as well.” The National Institute of Health estimates that epilepsy affects 2 million people in the United States and that hypothyroidism affects nearly 4.6% of people in the United States. “By helping our dogs we potentially unlock better treatments for ourselves as well,” said Nordone.

Approximately 30% of all dogs diagnosed with epilepsy are not able to achieve relief from seizures with the current drug therapies available, and current treatment options also carry possible negative side-effects. Dr. Sam Nicholas Long, PhD, University of Melbourne was awarded a grant for $116,000 and Dr. Ned Patterson, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota was awarded a grant for $104,781. These researchers aim to better classify the disease, understand the underlying mechanisms that predispose dogs to epilepsy, and introduce new drugs into the canine epilepsy treatment pipeline.

While hypothyroidism is well understood in humans, it is difficult to accurately diagnose in dogs and remains one of the greatest challenges in veterinary medicine. Dr. Jan A. Mol, PhD of the University of Utrecht was awarded a grant for $48,195 to investigate three methods that may provide a more accurate diagnosis for hypothyroidism than the tests currently available for practitioners. Better diagnostic tools give hope for earlier diagnosis and possibly early intervention to prevent progression of thyroid tissue damage.

In addition to the canine health funding announced today, CHF has funded more than $600,000 in research grants during 2014. This diverse grant portfolio aims to provide better treatments and more accurate diagnoses for our dogs.

Funding for CHF grants comes from a variety of sources, including corporations, dog clubs and individuals who are committed to canine health research. Dog lovers are encouraged to make a donation to support canine health research by visiting http://support.caninehealthfoundation.org/caninehealth.

CHF is a non-profit organization dedicated to funding research to prevent, treat and cure canine disease. Visit CHF online at http://www.akcchf.org for more information about the Foundation. Like CHF on Facebook, follow CHF on Twitter @CanineHealthFnd,or connect with CHF on LinkedIn.

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About CHF
The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping dogs live longer, healthier lives by funding research that helps prevent, treat and cure canine disease. Established in 1995, CHF’s mission is to advance the health of all dogs and their owners by funding sound scientific research and supporting the dissemination of canine health information. Through the generous support of the American Kennel Club, Nestlé Purina PetCare, Pfizer Animal Health, dog clubs and dog owners worldwide, CHF has dedicated more than $40 million to canine health research projects and education programs. Visit CHF online at http://www.akcchf.org for more information.

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Sharla Seidel
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