Health Sub-Committee Update, March 2006:

The grant application for funding a pilot project to investigate a particular marker gene known to cause epilepsy in humans, and of which Norwich Terriers formed a part, was successful and work on that project is now underway. Research is being carried out at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, Suffolk, under the direction of Dr. Cathryn Mellersh ( who is a geneticist, not a vet. ) in collaboration with Kate Chandler, a vet., who is a clinical expert in Canine Epilepsy at the Royal Veterinary College.

The Norwich Terrier database now contains 140 samples of DNA, with 11 of those from Norwich suffering from canine epilepsy, ‘cramps' ‘turns' or what appear to be similar conditions. Ages of those dogs range from young puppies through to adults.

The importance of keeping information updated:

When the Secretary of the Health Sub-Committee met with Dr. Mellersh recently the importance of keeping information updated was stressed, particularly if there are any changes in health conditions in any way. One problem in studying epilepsy is the late onset of the disease. A young dog may be bloodtested and be clear at the time of testing, but should that animal later develop any signs of disease it is very important that details are updated with the AHT as they will be on the lookout for dogs with the problem as this is where they may find ancestor links in their study of the pedigrees of affected dogs.

So far, they have received only one update. They are most anxious to get as many samples from affected Norwich as possible in order to make progress in this research.

Please remember all the health information submitted goes straight to the Animal Health Trust and remains strictly confidential to the researchers there. No-one connected with the Club has access to the confidential information.

Much research into many canine health problems goes on at the AHT and it is not feasible for them to send out thousands of annual reminders, therefore the Club has agreed to request updates on their behalf. This is simply to remind you. We understand that a dog subsequently developing a disease drives all thoughts of everything else out of mind, but it is vitally important that the AHT knows about it. The more information they have the more accurate will be the diagnoses which will help our breed.

The database needs more Norwich suffering from epilepsy and allied conditions, and to that end the AHT is willing to accept blood samples from overseas Norwich, particularly so if the dogs are epilepsy sufferers themselves, or close relatives of such dogs.

Any overseas owners who would like to participate in this research please contact the Club for details of the necessary paperwork, the Import Licence number which must appear clearly marked on the outside of the package, and the Statement ( for non-EU countries) which must also appear on the outside of the package.

Many, many thanks to those of you who have sent blood samples from your Norwich. Your participation is much appreciated.


Eileen Needham,
Secretary, NTC Health Sub-Committee.