Today, February 9, is the first ever International Epilepsy Day. This world day for epilepsy is a major step in improving epilepsy awareness in every region of the world, and highlights the urgent need for increased research into epilepsy.
Created by this is a major event celebrated across the globe in 138 countries. With both IBE and ILAE in official working relations with the World Health Organization, and with IBE in Special Consultative Status in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, this International Epilepsy Day is the most prestigious epilepsy event in the world.
Epilepsy is one of the nearly 400 catastrophic diseases that affect both humans and dogs. And the disease is nearly identical in both. Research currently underway is bridging what is known about seizures in dogs and in humans providing insight into how the disease develops, manifests itself, how it can be controlled, and what may trigger it. Treatment protocols and drugs are so effective that many are used interchangeably between species.
In the past year scientists have isolated what many feel might be an "epilepsy gene" in dogs that may predispose development of the disease. Human researchers are using this knowledge as a road map on where to look in the human genome for a similar factor in people. But there needs to be more focus and looking outside the box for answers. We have only begun to explore areas that will unlock the secrets of the mind and seizures.
There are 70 million people that have epilepsy. Many people with epilepsy are socially isolated because of discrimination and we all need to be aware of this. Epilepsy is one of the most common neurologic diseases in dogs, but no one knows for sure just how common it is. Some studies estimate up to 4% of all dogs are affected. In some breeds, the incidence may be higher and some families may have up to 14% epileptics. Epilepsy occurs less frequently in cats and other pets, presumably because they do not have a hereditary form of the disease. Epi-dogs are often feared and rejected by once loving guardians.
It is more than just the physical effects of this disease that harm both people and pets...emotional damage and the need for nonjudgmental support are critical. That is why a major goal of this special day is to raise awareness and understanding. We can't beat this disease if we turn away or hide in shame.
|The Mighty Quinn, |
founding member of he White Dog Army,
Leader of The White Dog Army Rainbow Bridge Brigade