Current Research for Aussies

Shortcut list:

 Border Collie Collapse (aka EIC) – Cancer –  – Epilepsy

AN IMPORTANT REMINDER:  While cheek swabs do not require cooling, if you or your vet’s office plan to ship blood or tissue samples it is vital that they be sent by overnight service with cold packs.  In hot weather extra packs may be necessary. 

 ASHGI  provides financial support to select research projects. If you would like to contribute to ASHGI’s Research Support Fund, please donate now!

Click Here to make a donation

There are no studies recruiting blood or tissue samples for cancer at this time.  We suggest that owners of Aussies with cancer in the US or Canada submit blood samples to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals CHIC DNA Repository.  (They take cheek swab samples but these provide only limited DNA and we do not recommend them for this purpose.)

For European owners of dogs with hemangiosarcoma or lymphoma, please consider submitting samples to the Animal Health Trust (see below).

There are often ongoing clinical studies.  These frequently require geographic proximity to the study location.  You can search for active studies seeking participants on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website.


PROJECT: Animal Health Trust Australian Shepherd Cancer Sample Repository
Goal: To archive blood, tissue, and cheek swab samples from European dogs with hemangiosarcoma or lymphoma and their relatives for future research.
Conducted by Michael Starkey PhD, Animal Health Trust, United Kingdom
Samples needed Sample types:
Tumor tissue (preferred for affected dogs)
Blood in EDTA tubes collected during a health check or treatment
Cheek swab
NOTE:  AHT can provide swab kits.  If your dog is to have a biopsy or surgery AHT can provide a preservative for a tissue sample in advance of the biopsy/surgery.
Other requirements Dog’s registration information and pedigree

If dogs in the pedigree have had or had offspring with either hemangiosarcoma or lymphoma, please note this on the pedigree

Dog owner name and contact information
Tumor or other pathology reports on affected dogs, if possible

+44 1638 751000 ext. 1214

ASHGI is underwriting this effort.


Project: Canine Epilepsy
Goal: To identify genes responsible for causing epilepsy in various breeds of dog, including the Australian Shepherd, and develop a DNA screening test.
Conducted by: Dr.Ned E. Patterson Canine Epilepsy Network
University of Minnesota
Samples needed: Purebred Australian Shepherds:

  • Dogs affected with epilepsy
  • Normal dogs 8 years of age or older

Whole blood in EDTA tubes. Sample submission forms and seizure survey: University of Minnesota Main Page

Contact Katie Minor
Neuromuscular Genetics LabUniversity of Minnesota
C339 Veterinary Teaching Hospitals
1352 Boyd Ave.
St. Paul MN 55108

ASHGI has partnered with the AKC Canine Health Foundation to support this research.

If you are in Europe there is an Aussie epilepsy study there.  Please contact Hannes Lohi at the University of Helsinki. He is collaborating with Dr. Patterson on this study.



Project: The Microbiota-Gut-Brain axis in canine epilepsy-Determining the role of Lactobacilli
Goal: To evaluate the role of certain intestinal bacteria in the management of epilepsy in dogs.
Conducted by: Karen Munana DVM, North Carolina State University
Participation Requirements
  • Dogs diagnosed with epilepsy who are not currently receiving anti-seizure medication which live in the same household as a non-epileptic dog
  • Owners willing to collect and ship stool samples to NCSU
  • Owners must fill out a brief questionnaire related to the dog’s environment, diet and health.

For additional Information:

Contact Julie Nettisfree
North Carolina State University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Department of Clinical Sciences & Comparative Medicine Institute
1052 William Moore Drive
Lab B236
Raleigh, NC 27607

ASHGI has partnered with the AKC Canine Health Foundation and Toby’s Foundation to support this research.

Border Collie

Goal: To identify genes responsible for causing BCC in Australian Shepherds and Border Collies and develop a DNA screening test.
Conducted by: James Mickelson PhD
University of Minnesota
Samples needed from purebred Australian Shepherds and Border Collies that have exhibited an episode of collapse during exercise, stockdog trial dogs preferred.
Sample type: blood preferred
Other requirements: completed BCC Study Participation Form
Contact: Katie Minor
Neuromuscular Genetics Lab
University of Minnesota
C339 Veterinary Teaching Hospitals
1352 Boyd Ave.
St. Paul MN 55108
612-624-5322Study Website

ASHGI has partnered with the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Australian Shepherd Club of America to support this research.