Lafora symptoms appear at any time from age 4 upwards, but typically around 6-7 and are progressive over time. First noticeable signs include one or more of:
- Generalised seizures
- Complex partial seizures (dog appears absent or loses the ability to move temporarily)
- Myoclonus (jerking back as if startled – some owners/vets initially misdiagnose as behaviourally linked)
- Ataxia (unsteadiness)
- Odd gait (stiff -legged, hopping, bouncy)
- Vision impairment (difficulty in focusing)
- Sleep disturbance/unsettled behaviour at night (to be confirmed)
- Incontinence – faecal and urinary
- Aggression – to dogs and/or humans
- Panic attacks – high pitched screaming as if in terror of unknown enemy, hugely fearful, does not recognise owner
The UK Wirehaired Dachshund Club (WHDC) has the only organised Canine Lafora Testing Programme in the world. This shows 10% Miniature Wire Dachshunds are ‘affected’ (will show symptoms), and 35% are ‘carriers’ (may pass gene on when bred).
Read about testing here
Depending on the severity of symptoms dogs may die prematurely or live to a ‘normal’ old age. Currently we are working in conjunction with a team of leading veterinary neurologists to establish a clearer picture of typical symptoms, age of onset and progression of the condition. If you have an affected dog and would like to help, please join our Progression Survey .