Here is the AHT's current advice for breeding from dogs who are related to confirmed idiopathic epileptics.

The over-enthusiastic removal of too many dogs from our gene pool could reduce the diversity of the breed and bring other inherited diseases to the fore. Relations of confirmed idiopathic epileptics (siblings, offspring, parents) that are used for breeding, should be mated to a dog that has no common ancestors within 3 generations. Click on Read More for the full AHT article.

From Dr Cathryn Mellersh, AHT

The Animal Health Trust is unable to provide specific breeding advice regarding idiopathic epilepsy in the Italian Spinone so please do not contact them directly.  This is because we don’t know the number of genes involved or their mode of inheritance, both of which it is necessary to know before fool-proof advice can be given.

We are working hard to understand both of these but at the moment we don’t have all the answers.  We have issued some general guidelines regarding reducing the risk of producing affected dogs, but they are intended to be guidelines only.  It is important to be mindful of genetic diversity of any breed.  Epilepsy is unfortunately fairly prevalent in the Italian Spinone but the over-enthusiastic removal of too many dogs from the gene pool could reduce the diversity of the breed and bring other inherited diseases to the fore.

the AHT have provided the following general breeding advice, although it is very difficult to provide robust advice for such a complex trait.  Please bear in mind that following these guidelines is no guarantee of producing a litter that will be free of epilepsy. 
 

Our gene pool is very small and we should not be excluding dogs or lines from being bred without good reason.

 
If a dog or bitch has produced a single confirmed epileptic , then the dog/bitch’s reproductive life doesn’t necessarily have to be terminated.  But it is prudent 
 
i) not to repeat the same mating that has produced an epileptic,
 
ii)  not to breed the dog/bitch with a mate that has any common ancestors within at least 3 generations and
 
iii)  if he/she produces an epileptic in a 2nd litter not to breed from him/her again.
 
For dogs/bitches that have not produced a confirmed epileptic themselves but are related to an epileptic within one or two generations then the same advice applies:
 
i) do not breed the dog/bitch with a mate that has any common ancestors within at least 3 generations and
 
ii)  if he/she produces an epileptic in a 2nd litter not to breed from him/her again.
 
A dog or bitch that has suffered from seizures should not be used for breeding.
 
Please do not ask the AHT for breeding advice, for reasons of confidentiality they cannot give out this sort of advice.
 
When studying pedigrees,  please look at affected and unaffected pedigrees.  Don’t just focus on affected pedigrees.
 
The more we can share information openly, the better.  Please complete a consent form and we can add your dog's details to our health database. You can download one either in PDF or WORD formats, and email the Health Co-ordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or post to to Elaine Kirkham, 217 May Lane, Kings Heath, Birmingham, B14 4AW