The GSMD Club of the Rockies produced and sold posters with the wording
Grosser Schwiezer Sennehund, in place of 'Club of the Rockies'.. to raise money for Epilepsy research.
We raised a few hundred dollars.

Ideopathic Epilepsy

 By: Brigitte Rhinehart

Ideopathic Epilepsy is the term used by most experts to describe

the condition of frequent seizures with no identifiable cause.

Seizures occur when nerve cells in the brain become hyperexited and send 
rapid-fire messages to the body.
If nerve cells in an isolated part of the brain are defective, only part of a dog's body 
is affected resulting in a partial  seizure. Partial seizures are exhibited by localized body movements, such as  head bobbing or imaginary fly-biting.

If circuits throughout the entire brain misfire, the dog has a generalized seizure.
Tonic-clonic seizures involve teeth gnashing, frantic thrashing of the limbs, excessive drooling and loss of bodily  functions resulting in uncontrolled urination and defecation.
Treatment of IE depends on the severity of the case and may involve daily administration of  anticonvulsant drugs such as phenobarbital, primidone, potassium chloride and others. Unfortunately, all anticonvulsants have some undesired side effects. Some affect liver functions, others can make the dog drowsy or hyperactive or may cause vomiting and constipation.

IE is present in all Swissy lines. It typically surfaces between the ages of 1 to 3 years but it can become evident as early as 12 months and as late as 5 years.Unfortunately, no method to identify carriers of epilepsy exists to date. It is only after a dog or a bitch has  produced offspring with IE that we can assume that this particular sire or dam is probably a carrier of epilepsy. However, the mode of inherintance of IE is so complex that at the moment no one management method will assure complete control of the disease. 

Prudent Swissy breeders will not continue to breed a dog or a bitch that has produced 2 or more offspring with IE, and of course no serious breeder will ever consider breeding an affected animal. Many Swissy breeders and owners participate in the all breed DNA research project to locate the genetic marker for IE conducted currently at the University of Missouri/Columbia.

We all  hope that this research eventually will produce a reliable method to identify carriers of IE and thus help the breeder to better control or even erradicate this heartbreaking, unpredictable and often lethal disease.