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 BFJE is available and it is recommended that all breeding stock be tested prior to breeding. Testing is available from Optigen in USA, Mydogdna, Laboklin in Germany or Genoscoper in Finland.
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.