The first breeder site issues I want to cover are probably due to misinformation or lack of knowledge about epilepsy and COI. All site excerpts are italicized and in “ “ (although some spelling and grammar errors may have been corrected by me as well as important points made bold).
“Today there is no litter where both parents would be epilepsy-connection free! “ This is sadly true.
“You just need to check pedigrees carefully and wider than only till 4th generation.” You need to go back 5 generations, not 4, but maybe this is a misunderstanding or typo. It is very hard, if not impossible, to check a pedigree if you don’t know all the epilepsy affected Mudis and their parents and grandparents.
“This list* can help you.” Um no it can’t because this list doesn’t exist anymore, but that is actually a good thing as not all the Mudis we need to be concerned with were on that list, which can lead to false hope that your Mudi or litter is not closely connected to an epileptic, when in actuality it is.
“More "critical" dogs are in the pedigree of the parents, lower COI of the litter has to be.” This is not correct, and what do they mean by “critical”? The COI and epi risk are not connected in ANY way. I have seen high epi risk with low COI and low epi risk with high COI, these two factors are not related. You cannot estimate the epi risk (or any other health issue risk) based on the COI.
“We´ll choose an appropriate male with low COI…” This is regarding a male for their next litter. A low COI male is not important. What is important is the COI of the litter the male will make with your female. You want to make a litter that has a low COI. You can put together a low COI male and a low COI female and get a litter with a very high COI. It is not about the COI of the parents, it is about the COI of the litter.
“We count COI (Coefficient Of Inbreeding) for every combination of parents we plan. Our "limit" is about 8% for 10 generations - the lower the better.” You need to use every generation you have in your database for the correct COI calculation, not just 10. Currently, most Mudis have on average 26-28 generations behind them. Many official websites (such as the FKK) use less than 10 gens and as they do not have the database to back up the COI’s, this means the COI’s they give for even 5-10 gens is incorrect for most every pedigree I have looked at on their site. You need to be aware of things like this, all COI’s are not created equally.
COI calculation is not a game and incorrect COI’s and incorrect COI information is harmful.
When considering the next litter you want to produce, you must balance many things. In order to get a low epi risk, you might have to compromise on a higher than you would prefer COI.
On to the next two Mudi breeder websites, these are the pair that have quite similar and very lengthy, epilepsy statements.
“In our dogs' lineal relatives and among their descendants there is no suspected epilepsy”
“IN OUR DOG'S LINEAL RELATIVES THERE IS NO SUSPECTED EPILEPSY”
Is it purely coincidence they say almost the exact same thing and use a rather rare term - lineal? Are they the only two breeders that give a similar disclaimer? No. If there is a conspiracy, as suggested by one of these breeders, it’s the smokescreen being deployed by these incorrect statements.
There is almost no Mudi alive today (which has a mostly complete pedigree) that does not have some connections to an epileptic in the first 5 generations. And you must go back 5 generations.
These two websites both claim (again coincidentally?) that:
“In the Mudi breed (as it is in people) there is a risk of 1 to 3%. What does this mean? It means that in a population (where there is no inbreeding) there is a small possibility that 1 Mudi will develop Epilepsy in every 100 puppies born. This is a very low risk and should not be looked at with fear or over thinking. Even though there are no Mudis with Epilepsy in our breeding dogs, a famous and popular stud dog with no history of Epilepsy in the bloodline may in 100 puppies (bred to many different females) produce 1 to 3 puppies with a Seizure disorder. That is still a very low risk, especially when considering that not all seizures are Epilepsy.”
"All in all, we have a much bigger chance to have dementia at the age of 60 than to have a mudi with epilepsy (statistically)."
Where are they getting these statistics? They list no source for any of their claims. Wherever they conjured up this data, it is wrong on so many levels.
-Humans and dogs are not comparable as humans pick their own mates, purebred dogs mates are chosen for them.
-Purebred dog breeds ARE inbred, people are not. You cannot compare apples to oranges.
-The % rate they give (1-3%) is not accurate for either humans, dogs in general, or the Mudi breed. In order to compare statistics on the same level, their 1-3 per 100 = 10-30 per 1000.
The WHO states that epilepsy occurs in humans “between 4 and 10 per 1000 people. However, some studies in low- and middle-income countries suggest that the proportion is much higher, between 7 and 14 per 1000 people.” (2) The Epilepsy Foundation states that: “The estimate currently thought to be most accurate is 2.2 million people or 7.1 for every 1,000 people in the USA.” (3)
This means that the affected human population is between 4 and 14% (per 1000) in the whole world and about 7.1% (per 1000) in the USA, which is obviously far less than the 10-30% (per 1000) these Mudi website authors give.
Using these breeders occurrence rate, based on the estimated 3800 Mudis alive today, that would be 38-114 epileptic Mudis born since 2006. Remember that these breeders consider this “very low risk” and “normal”.
According to the article my last Mudi Directions post was about (For Whom the Bell Tolls), .6% of the general canine population is affected with epilepsy (1). In the Mudi, my statistics indicate epilepsy affects about .34 -.54% (13-22 epileptics) of the current population of 3800 estimated living Mudis.
If you are the owner of one of those 1-3 expected epileptic puppies, it is a terrible tragedy and there is nothing normal about it. I had a seriously epileptic Aussie so I speak from experience. To devalue producing a puppy with a serious illness as “normal” is incredibly insensitive and ignorant of their responsibility and the suffering of the dog and its family. Yes it can happen that any Mudi will produce a serious health issue, but the moment it does, you should immediately stop breeding the dog and their immediate family that produced the ill puppy at the very least, and that is not what happens when you consider it “normal”. Regardless of whose statistics you want to believe, even one seizing Mudi is too many, especially if that Mudi is yours and it could have been prevented had Mudi breeders taken responsibility decades ago, as epilepsy was first seen in the Mudi breed in the mid 1980’s.
Please watch this video and tell me this is anything even close to “normal”, and yes that is a Mudi having a grand mal seizure from idiopathic epilepsy (which is considered by vets to be genetic epilepsy, see my previous post). If this video does not deeply affect you, then nothing will. How could anyone explain this as “normal” and “very low risk” which is acceptable in the breeding of Mudis. Epilepsy is not an acceptable outcome of breeding for any animal and anyone that chooses to downplay it as such has no business breeding animals.
We need to convert their claim that a male with 50-100 pups that produces 1-3 pups with epilepsy is “low risk” and considered “normal” to percentages to properly compare their data to reality.
50 pups produced with 1 being epileptic = 2%
50 with 3 epileptics = 6%
100 pups produced with 1 epileptic = 1%
100 pups with 3 epileptics = 3%
This can be rounded off to an occurrence between 1% and 6%, that does not agree with their claim that it is around 1-3%. They rounded it downward by half. If they can’t do simple math or check that the data they poached is correct before using it on a public website, is this someone you want to get a puppy or breed advice from?
I checked on the number of pups the sires of the epileptics had and as expected, the numbers are not anywhere near to what they suggest (1-3 epileptics born to males that have 50-100 pups).
No Mudi males in my database have had 100 puppies, 90 is the most pups any Mudi male has sired that I am aware of.
34 Mudi males sired 39 epileptic pups, most had only 1 known epileptic puppy, three males had 2 and one has produced 3 known epileptics.
The male that produced 3 known epileptics has only sired 22 puppies, that is 13.6%, which is significantly higher than their claim of 1-3%.
These 34 males had 798 pups between them, of which 39 are epileptics. That is a 4.9% occurrence rate, which is also higher than their 1-3%. The males sired between 1-65 pups, with the average being 24, not anywhere close to the 50-100 they write about.
Any way you look at it, these figures are not “normal” or “low risk” or indicative of not-genetic epilepsy, especially as most epi producer males are very closely related to each other, which clearly indicates genetic epilepsy as the cause.
I also made a list of 15 Mudi males that have between 40-90 pups that have not produced any known epileptics. So if their claim is correct, that sires with 50-100 pups have between 1-3% of seizing pups which is considered “normal”, then why don’t these 15 males have at least one known epileptic? There are several reasons, all of which can be easily employed to lessen the incidence of epilepsy in future litters. These males were either not closely related to the other males, or they had low risk mates (the females they were bred with were not closely related to the epi producer males), or only one of their parents was closely related.
There’s no need to beat this section any further, as it is clear their claims are totally without evidence to back them up. One of these breeders has a database, but as I have seen the incorrect COI’s they give on their website and also the incorrect dogs on one of their pedigrees provided, their data cannot be trusted even if they had any to use for research like this.
Let’s move on to their other claims.
“In our dogs' lineal relatives and among their descendants there is no suspected epilepsy.” Unfortunately, their dogs are close relatives to the some of the 34 Mudi males that produced epileptic puppies. They are also related to some of the females that have also created epileptic pups. Genetic epilepsy comes from both parents, pointing fingers at only the sire or only the dam is not correct. Genetic epilepsy is not a dominant gene, it is recessive which means both parents must each contribute some of the genes that cause it.
“Seizures can be caused by many things: complications during labour at birth. Premature newborns with hypoxia which can lead to neurological problems and seizures. True Eplilepsy can actually be aquired by an extremely high fever as is in the case of contracting Distemper, causing brain injury.
Any dog can have a seizure brought on by hypoglicemia, ataxia, reaction to medications (such as Ivermectin), ingestion of toxic plants or poisons, severe pain, shock from a trauma, head or brain injury, tumours, vascular abnormalities, liver shunts, kidney problems, metobolic or digestive disorders, hemagiocarcomas and cancers. These do not mean the dog has epilepsy, it only means the dog had a seizure reaction to an underlying condition.”
It is true not all seizures are due to genetic epilepsy, but the majority of seizures in both dogs and humans are due to idiopathic epilepsy which is considered to be genetic (read my last post). Seizures from other causes typically stop once the cause has been found and treated. Seizures from birth trauma are present from birth. Seizures from poisoning or accident can be determined by blood and urine tests and visible injuries. Any bodily injury that would cause seizures would not go unnoticed.
If a puppy is so oxygen compromised at birth, seizures are not the only symptoms that puppy will have, if it even survives. Seizures before the age of 6 months are usually not from genetic epilepsy and any puppy that had birth trauma would typically have seizures starting shortly after birth.
One seizure does not make genetic epilepsy, but a pattern of seizures without any health issues prior to the first seizure, or in between the seizures and for which there are no other explanations, is in most cases genetic epilepsy. If the Mudi is not ailing before, shortly after the seizure or before the next seizure occurs, then you are almost surely facing genetic epilepsy. But only your vet can determine this for sure and any dog that has a seizure must be taken to the vet immediately, because seizures are NOT “normal”.
Once again, these breeders are making much more of this than is relevant. Dogs with seizures from idiopathic/genetic epilepsy are typically healthy before, shortly after and in between seizures. When the dog is seizing from most any other cause, it is otherwise unwell before, after and in between seizures. It’s that simple.
If the genetic epilepsy deniers would put as much effort into breeding less epi risk litters as they do the misinformation on their websites, the Mudi breed would be dealing with far less seizing Mudis.
If they cannot be honest about epilepsy in the Mudi, what can they be honest about in other areas? If they cannot provide factual data to back up their claims, can you trust any of their data? If the care to post factual data is not taken at even basic levels….it is highly unlikely to be there for more important issues.
If these breeders want to pass the blame everywhere but on themselves for the important issues that occur in the breed, you can be sure they will put the blame for anything that goes wrong with a puppy onto the owners.
As for your chance to be demented being higher than having an epileptic Mudi….not quite, they are making great strides in lowering the incidence of dementia by getting people to lower their risk factors with campaigns to alter your life choices. Now that’s great news that can also be applied to epilepsy risk in the Mudi! Lower the epi risk in the litters produced and a few years from now, even these breeders might finally be right about something.
(1) Negative effects of epilepsy and antiepileptic drugs on the trainability of dogs with naturally occurring idiopathic epilepsy (Rowena M.A. Packer, Paul McGreevy, Amy Pergande, Holger Volk; Applied Animal Behaviour Science Volume 200, March 2018)
(3) https://www.epilepsy.com/learn/about-epilepsy-basics/epilepsy-statistics* link is for http://www.mudi-epilepsy-project.estranky.cz/ which is no longer available