By David Spangenburg & Dr. Plechner

Originally posted Aug. 21, 2011 on

Idiopathic Epilepsy, like a tree, has many roots and these roots usually remain hidden, deep within your pet’s unique physiology. As with essential tremors in humans, often, the true cause of idiopathic epilepsy may never be determined. Even if the cause remains concealed, the type of epilepsy can be determined by the degree of severity in which it manifests itself.

If the seizure is mild, (minor tremor or shaking of the head) it is referred to as a “Petite Mal”. If the signs are more rigorous (patient is rendered helpless by uncontrollable muscle spasms), it is considered to be a full out, tonic, clonic, “Grand Mal”. Even though the duration of the seizure usually lasts for a but few minutes it can go on for several hours, although this is, thankfully, very rare.

Just what is a seizure? Imagine, if you will, an electrical storm in the brain. We all know that neurons (normal brain cells) use chemical signals and electrical impulses to communicate with each other. These “lightening flash” communications can either, activate the next neuron (excitatory), or can turn the next neuron off (inhibitory). The “messages” that travel along the neural highway contain the “directions” that a brain sends out to every nerve, muscle, joint, etc throughout the body to keep it functioning and thriving. When the excitation or inhibition of these individual neurons in the brain is disrupted it can generate a seizure. The area of the brain, where the seizure activity occurs, will decide the effect it has on the body.

Even though, detecting a seizure before it happens is not always easy, a certain “aura” can alert an owner of an imminent “brain storm”. Just as there are some dogs that can sense when their epileptic owner is going to have a seizure, some owners can also detect when their dog is going to have an epileptic episode. In many cases a certain set of symptoms or activities (a prodrome) can precede a seizure. This “aura” is a recognizable change in the pet's usual behavior that warns the owner of an approaching seizure. Often an epileptic dog will sense something is coming and seek out its owner, in the hopes that nestling by their side might cause the signs of the seizure to diminish. Some epileptic humans “hear” a certain musical strain prior to a seizure episode that forewarns them to prepare for the upcoming event.

Causes for seizures include head trauma, brain tumors, and even low blood sugar whether due to insulin shock, genetic hypoglycemia or just a general inability of the liver to store and release glycogen in a timely manner. My clinical research studies have uncovered another possible cause. I t involves a syndrome, which is activated by elevated adrenal estrogen, which creates an inflammation of all the endothelial cells that line the arteries of the body. When this elevated adrenal estrogen level combines with an increased level of ovarian estrogen, the concentration of total estrogen causes inflammation of the cerebral arteries, possibly leading to a migraine headache and/or an epileptic seizure episode.

Even though this is a recognized syndrome in females who are estrogen prominent, my clinical research has shown that in female animals, who have had their ovaries removed, and in males, who obviously have no ovaries, this elevated adrenal estrogen can still occur, becoming the major cause of epileptic seizures and other catastrophic diseases in the aforementioned animals

What is the primary reason for this harmful condition of adrenal estrogen dominance to occur? It is simply the continued use of unsound breeding practices such as structured breeding as opposed to functional breeding. which has allowed gene pools to stagnate and weaken. Any time a breeder tries to “create” a new color or “breed”, or affect a more unique head or body shape or “fashion” a different gait, it is most often accomplished through line breeding. While it is possible to "fix" a desired trait through line breeding it is also more likely to “taint’ the line by introducing defects by reducing the genetic diversity through line breeding.

Many breeders fool themselves into thinking they are doing an out cross because they are mating to a sire or a dame of the same breed “but” from a different country. The truth is, that the world of breeding has become smaller and smaller and it’s, more than likely, that “line” was crossed many times before. There’s a good possibility the breeders in that country, have created the same inbreeding problems that you are trying to avoid. Their supposedly clever “select over-breeding” has caused an endocrine immune imbalance that not only may allow epilepsy to occur, but has also created a defect that may also allow allergy, autoimmunity and possibly even cancer and other catastrophic diseases to occur within the affected litter.

I know you are asking yourself, just what it is this endocrine immune imbalance ? It is Atypical Cortisol Estrogen Imbalance Syndrome (ACEIS) or as the public refers to it as Plechner’s Syndrome, a genetic imbalance that is causing the cortisol hormone, that is naturally produced by the middle layer adrenal cortex, to not be sufficient, bound (not recognized by the pituitary gland) or possibly just defective. This causes, false negative feedback to the pituitary, causing the pituitary to keep releasing its hormone ACTH, to encourage the middle layer adrenal cortex to produce more cortisol, which it can’t. So the inner layer adrenal cortex responds by producing excess total estrogen and a male hormone called androgen.

(NOTE: This is why many female dogs will lift their leg like a male to urinate, and will hump other animals, including their owners. Also with this condition, female cats may spray the wall, marking their territory.)

The production of the excess estrogen, does three things…

First, it will bind the thyroid hormone and make normal thyroid hormone production not available for use in the body. In people, the mechanism that allows for this, is the production of a reverse T3 hormone.

Second, the excess estrogen will cause the B lymphocyte to reduce its production of antibody, and when the antibody in the mucous membranes of the gut is below 58 units, mal-absorption (non-absorption) will occur, including, irritable bowel syndrome food allergies, vaccine reactions and stinging insect sensitivity.

Thirdly, the excess estrogen, deregulates both the B and T lymphocytes, which causes them to lose recognition of self tissue, which will lead to autoimmunity.

It has already been recognized, that if normal cells are exposed to elevated amounts of estrogen, increased cellular growth occurs, and is probably the cause of cancer in people and animals.

If you prefer to breed, rather than rescue. I have created a simple blood test, which will not only help you decide which Sire and Dame should (or shouldn’t) be breed , but will also let you know if any of your pets have Plechner’s Syndrome and allow you to heal the actual cause rather than to just relieve the effects. Hopefully one day, this simple blood test will be a part of the standard birthing procedure, to insure the health and wellness of every puppy, kitten or human child.