Juvenile Epilepsy

Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy (BFJE)

Benign Familial Juvenile Epilepsy (BFJE) was first recognized and reported in the Lagotto Romagnolo as early as 2002. The disease is described as inherited benign juvenile epilepsy.

BFJE is a neurological disorder found in the Lagotto Romagnolo breed. It has an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. Testing is available and widely utilized by responsible breeders to ensure that healthy puppies are produced.

Affected dogs suffer from epileptic seizures (body tremors, uncoordinated movement and stiffness) in the age period from 5 to 9 weeks old up until they are four months old, after this time the seizures resolve. Some carriers may also have epileptic signs through adulthood.

Genetic testing identifies which dogs carry the gene, are clear of the gene, or are affected by the gene. Research at the University of Helsinki identified the causative gene in 2007, showing an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance.

Genetic testing for LSD is available and all breeding stock should be tested prior to breeding. Testing for canine genetic diseases
is available from a variety of labs worldwide.

Here is a list of recognized labs from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals

Many countries have submitted samples and now, thousands of Lagotto have been tested for the BFJE gene.  The data shows the following results of that testing:  3% affected; 46% carriers; 51% normal.

All dogs used for breeding should be tested for BFJE and the ‘clear by parentage’ reference not be considered proof of testing.