Epilepsy and seizures are the bane of many Vizslas existence. Some dogs are more susceptible to the condition than others, and great amounts of research and money has gone into finding the source of it and discovering cures for it. The Vizsla is an incredibly energetic pointer and retriever due to its historical experience but epilepsy is an incredibly common feature of the breed likely because of that same history.
The ancient tribal people called the Magyars used the Vizsla for hunting purposes. Thus, when they were forced to flee from a certain region because of enemies, they ended up in a very isolated and mountainous area. Researchers have discovered that because dogs have been so heavily inbred, certain diseases are developed and furthered within various breeds. Therefore, scientists believe the geographic and breed isolation particular to the Vizsla's past helped to cultivate a genetic cause of epilepsy.
The Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine was awarded a grant to study epilepsy in the Vizsla and to try and isolate the gene that cases it . Studies have been done on what makes a Vizsla carrier versus one that is not. Experimental drugs have been administered to Vizslas over the years to correct the condition, such as one given nasally rather than with a needle. It was determined to have a quicker effect on the suffering Vizsla in the moment of a seizure.
Research has been able to show that most of the time epilepsy is apparent in a breed of dog from the age of usually one to five years of age. For the seizures to rear their ugly heads later than that is becoming more and more prevalent. Anti seizure medicine is available but the only mitigate the symptoms of epilepsy for just so long. Ultimately, the seizure can become so severe that euthanization is unfortunately the only viable option. Research fortunately suggests that a genetic test for a dog's propensity to seizure could be used to make better breeding decisions. Scientists have been working to isolate the gene that is the cause of epilepsy in the Vizsla in order to better medications and perhaps cure the condition, but it will take lots of time and money.
Until the genetic test for epilepsy is available for public use, Vizsla owners should educate themselves of the fact that the Vizsla is especially susceptible to inherit the epileptic gene. Vizsla owners should also be trained in how to handle a situation when and if a seizure attacks their pet Vizsla. A tip to remember when on hunting trips with your Vizsla pet is to always have water and a honey packet. This will help in case of a seizure that comes on as the result of low blood sugar seizure. In any case, once a Vizsla comes down with a seizure attack, he should be taken to the vet immediately.