Genetics Canada

Idiopathic Epilepsy

Make Management Easy

Idiopathic Epilepsy (IE), a lethal disorder linked to a fatal genetic condition, has primarily been documented in isolated lines of Hereford cattle. Calves affected with IE experience seizures which can occur from birth up to several months of age. The abnormality has a simple recessive mode of inheritance, whereby only animals with two copies of the defective allele exhibit symptoms. Carrier animals and those that are free of the abnormal allele are indistinguishable, except through DNA testing or a time-consuming and expensive progeny test.

Zoetis Genetics is now offering a diagnostic test for IE. The gene mutation was identified and a diagnostic test was developed by Dr. Jon Beever at the University of Illinois. Zoetis Genetics has licensed the test and our results have been officially validated by Dr. Beever.

Since Zoetis Genetics test results for IE are not part of the testing program coordinated by the American Hereford Association, breeders can utilize our test to screen animals without the added requirement of parentage verification—although that is also recommended.

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  • Testing of suspect animals is essential to avoid the negative impact of IE and to slow propagation of the defective recessive gene.

    Samples for testing may be submitted in one of the following forms:

    • Hair follicles. When sending hair samples, please make sure at least 25 follicles (bulb intact) are included to ensure an adequate volume of DNA to complete the test.
    • Blood collector cards
    • Semen samples